1. pessim321
    Offline

    pessim321 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan

    Motives for mass-murder

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by pessim321, Jul 20, 2013.

    Been away from this forum for a while because I was getting ready for college and all that.

    I'm currently in the middle of a suspense genre short story involving a serial killer (cliche, I know). The problem is, it's one thing to write the murder scenes; it's another to link all the victims together. She suffers from psychotic episodes, but rather than random killings, I like the idea that there is an underlying connection through all the murders, kind of like in Hannibal Rising. There's no particular direction I want to head in, just want to throw some ideas around and see if something comes up. Possible motives I have came up with include loan sharks, jury members of her court hearing, and being somehow related to her psychoticism.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,602
    Likes Received:
    5,875
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I think you need to connect the motive to the character and without knowing much about the story or the character, I don't think I can help.

    If not random, then it has to tie into the story in some way.
     
  3. odolmen
    Offline

    odolmen Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    9
    The thing with mass-murdering, especially psychotic killers, is that the reason why they chose to kill one person over another can be very different from the reason why they start to kill at all.
    i.e. Some dude can go on a rampage against brunettes who ride bicycles because he identifies them with some other bicycling brunette who humiliated him a long time ago and he's only started killing now because he's off his meds and he burned his morning pancakes and felt bad about it. Not that this would make a good story at all, ever.

    I see one major problem with the money and legal problems you listed: the trail to the original killer is way too obvious to stand a chance against any investigator who's not completely booby-brained.
    Unless the identity of the killer is not the big mystery of the story, rather her wereabouts or past or whatnot, I don't see how that could work.
    But then again, I can be short-sighted at times and love to be proven wrong.
     
  4. matwoolf
    Offline

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,297
    Likes Received:
    2,222
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    The psycopot murders authors of historical fiction. Penelope MayWeather knows it won't be long till she too becomes a victim. A classic cat and mouse noir tick tock.
     
  5. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Usually in the middle of it is quite a personal murder. Someone who wronged the killer, or his family. Martin Bryant, a mass shooter from Tasmania, first went out and killed the old neighbours. It turns out his father harboured a grudge, blamed his former neighbour for his poor fortune and lack of success in life. Later on, when Martin snapped, he first murdered the ex-neighbour before going to a public place and killing many other people, who were strangers to him. But he also held a grudge against people in general because they always snubbed him. Bryant had what was described as "mental age of 9", a learning disability, low IQ, possibly autistic traits and psychopathic traits. But someone suffering a psychotic break (I doubt "psychoticism" is a real word) might misinterpret, fixate and ultimately hurt someone for personal reasons which aren't entirely logical.
     
  6. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Sacramento
    I think the connection between your seemingly on-the-face-of-it random murders is the glue that will bind your whole book. It is vital you get this right and only you can do it.

    Apart from looking at Cycling brunettes (which could make a good story by the way) you can look at stuff like fairy tales, 7 deadly sins, books in the bible - all done before I know but you get my drift.

    We have to know what your guy is like, why he's a psycho. Is he on a revenge mission for the murder of his wife? The framing of his father? (Revenge) All the people who purposely put him in prison because he got too close to the truth?

    I would have thought you'd have had this connection before ever taking the lid of your pen.
     
  7. pessim321
    Offline

    pessim321 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    True, I should've thought of this as I came up with the entire idea. I think I had thought up a motive before I started, but idea was from a while ago, and I tend to forget things that I haven't written down.

    Actually, seeing all your ideas, I think I have something I can work with now, so thank you all. :)

    My killer has a younger sister whom she is extremely protective about. I'm thinking of setting the motive to be stopping anyone from having contact with her.
     
  8. u.v.ray
    Offline

    u.v.ray Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    U.K
    Well, It seems like you're talking about a serial killer -- as opposed to mass-murder.

    But if you really are talking about mass murder and this character plans to poison a city's water system or something, then the intricacies are actually less complicated. As Adolf Hitler said: "I shall not shed a tear for them because they do not deserve any better."

    Of course, if you are talking about a serial killer, then the machinations are far more psychologically convoluted -- something you have to discover and build into the character.

    You do that by continuing to write them. Just keep writing them until their personality is complete.
     
  9. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Serial killers are very specific because they are sexually motivated. If your perp is a female, she'd be a borderline prostitute or a paedophile or working together with a male serial killer who'd be leading. Mass murder is a single event, usually a result of someone snapping and killing a lot of people at once and for that, motives are never sexual in nature, so it's easier to make it work with different characters, causes and motives.

    Of course, you can have multiple assassin killings, if she's knocking people off for revenge or to protect someone.
     
  10. u.v.ray
    Offline

    u.v.ray Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    U.K

    Serial killers are often sexually motivated. But it is not definite.

    If a serial killer is female, why would would she be working with a male, who'd be "leading" her? And why would a female serial killer have to be a prostitute? Aileen Wuornos was a prostitute -- but that doesn't mean it has to be the case. And she had no male partner she was working with either.
     
  11. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Having closely studied all the known cases, and having interviewed several serial killers in custody, I can tell you that serial killers are always sexually motivated. However, the prepetrators are usually psychopaths who are manipulative and they often have deep shame connected to the sexual element (most of them were badly abused and neglected as kids) so a lot of them strive to hide it, especially when they are interviewed by psychiatrists.

    Female/male serial killer combo is not unusual, you can find a lot of information on several well-known cases, the couples who kill have a very specific psychopathology in which the male is usually sadistic and narcissistic and a female borderline but very rarely, the female can be the cruel, sadistic one, where she manipulates the man to do the killing for her.

    The reason why prostitute, is because of the sexual element but also because of borderline personality. It's an easy way for a woman to get her victim, and serial killers are opportunists.

    Serial killings distinguish themselves by a signature, which is personal and unnecessery for the kill. There are cases of social security check fraud and similar, but if they don't have a signature, the status of those people as 'serials" is tehnically correct but essentially they don't belong in this group because they usually aren't sexually motivated.
    With serial killers, you look for sexual motivation because that's where the psychopathology lies.
     
  12. u.v.ray
    Offline

    u.v.ray Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    U.K
    >> Having closely studied all the known cases, and having interviewed several serial killers in custody, I can tell you that serial killers are always sexually motivated. <<

    Well, you're wrong, I am afraid.

    Frequently. Not Always.

    And yes, the male/female pairing is not uncommon. But not always.

    Herbert Mullin was classified as a serial killer. He killed 13 people after voices told him that murder was necessary to prevent California from suffering an earthquake.

    Marcel Petiot killed 63 Jews. He was pathologically driven and was classified as a serial killer.

    I find it hard to believe you have studied all the known cases. I would posit that would be nigh on impossible for anyone.

    But anyway, there you have it -- two cases here alone of pathologically driven serial killers that were not sexually motivated.
     
  13. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    [MENTION=54997]u.v.ray[/MENTION]: like I said, if you read my entire comment, a lot of them try very hard to conceal their sexual motivations, and many even feign psychosis, and a lot of them succeeded for many years. This is how they avoid prison. Psychiatrists are aware of that, as is the court system, but if there's no way to prove it, they get what they want (safety, nicer environment).

    I was referring specifically to the psychological profile of a serial killer who carries out signature crimes. This is an overwhelming majority and we can call them 'typical'. I agree that there are extremely rare cases that are atypical (in medicine, nothing is absolute, that is implied) but an overwhelming majority is sexually motivated so the term 'serial killer' is synonymous with a certain type of personality.

    However, this thread is about motives of a mass-murderer, so this off-topic discussion isn't relevant.
     
  14. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Sacramento
    http://listverse.com/2012/12/29/10-american-female-serial-killers/

    Here's a list of America's top 10 female serial killers, well 11 - I case is a couple, and only 1 woman plus the couple admit to being sexually motivated. The rest seem to be nurses or women in care homes poisoning patients for monetary gain.

    I'm curious [MENTION=35110]jazzabel[/MENTION] - in your experience, the women who were sexually motivated to kill, was it a fact of raping men and killing them, was it consensual, prostituting, BDSM gone wild, or was it a case of intercourse never taking place but they got off on it sexually as they went home after the killing, fantasized and 'did their own thing?'

    Take Myra Hindley, although she had an accomplice in Ian Brady, were those child killings sexually motivated? I've never heard of them spoken of as paedophiles.

    And without fear of going off topic, killing children could be the motive for the OP's serial killer, hiding evidence.
     
  15. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I am not aware of any female serial killers who are the same, in personality to the males. The whole torture, strangualtion during rape, even rape itself, is not something that was observed in female psychopathology. Females who kill multiple victims often have messed up emotions (unlike men, whose emotions seem to be absent, lack of empathy, cruelty etc), so they murder children, vulnerable adults, they are also not uncommon as 'angels of mercy' and especially Muchausen by proxy syndrome. But carving, cutting, sprading victims entrails, arranging them in poses etc, that's typically male. Women are also too weak, physically, to subdue most victims, so they opt usually for less violent methods such as poisoning.

    If you imagine, in simple terms, a female with extreme borderline personality disorder - violent rages, sense of abandonment, self-harm. self-destructive behaviours (substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and even prostitution, eating disorders). They were usually sexually abused as children and their emotions have fried. With repeated trauma, certain women can develop in this way, and they can snap and behave in vile ways, loss of impulse control defines them. On the other hand, you have a typical sadistic psychopath male, he was also abused as a child but he is narcissistic, feels entitled, feel superior to everyone, views people as things. He gets sexually aroused by violent images and forms elaborate fantasies that usually involve rape and murder. When these two individuals meet, the female's essential desire for a strong man who can protect her, even kill for her, is realised, and the man has someone who validates and encourages him, indulges his every desire, allows him to push the boundaries. So they start talking, and since the man is dominant, and these women have messed up instincts, eventually they begin to share fantasies, each for a different reason, and it sometimes graduates into a killer couple.

    Myra Hindley and other females in couple killers dynamic, in my experience, tend to be very pathetic individuals, whose personality for one reason or another craves extremely violent, narcissistic men, and when with them, the women morph, take on their perversions etc, and often they'll kill and help in order to keep that man. Without the men they fall apart. Or if they are the driving force (very rare), they'll have extreme passive-aggressive condition and they are usually observers, men do the 'dirty work'. Women don't rape almost at all, and if they do, they do it out of revenge, I'm not aware of any female serial rapists, for example.

    I think the Moore murders are a typical example, the two individuals coming together and triggering off the worst in each other. The question is, if they haven't met, would any children die? Or would a lot less die? These couples are much more than a sum of their parts, it's co-dependence in the extreme and nasty stuff can happen as a result.

    Excellent documentary, about the root causes, have a look
     
  16. odolmen
    Offline

    odolmen Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    9
    Though I am no authority in the matter, I do doubt the omnipresence of sexual motivation when considering serial killers.
    And according to chapter V of that one monograph Google was kind enough to cough up, so do a bunch of FBI dudes:
    http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder/serial-murder-1#five
     
  17. mg357
    Offline

    mg357 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    33
    How about her family maybe she was abused by several family members and the physical and emotional pain of the abuse caused her to snap and she killed the family members who abused her.
     
  18. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    [MENTION=40744]odolmen[/MENTION]: FBI guys aren't the only authority on the matter, and in fact a lot of the psych community disagrees with aspects of their theories. There are textbooks written about why FBI guys approach to profiling is inappropriate and unscientific. I don't agree with those opinions, I like what the FBI does, I'm just illustrating the situation with any of these generalisations. What I learned to recognise is that the FBI have law enforcement perspective, which may differ from the psychological perspective. I was also talking only about signature-type serial killers, not the others. All I can do is state and explain my opinion. It's not based on one article, but it's a sound opinion based on experience and wide-scope reading on the subject.
    I don't want to keep derailing the topic because we are supposed to be discussing mass murder. I hope the OP doesn't mind.
     
  19. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Sacramento
    [MENTION=35110]jazzabel[/MENTION] [MENTION=51371]mg357[/MENTION] [MENTION=40744]odolmen[/MENTION] [MENTION=54997]u.v.ray[/MENTION] I think we're safe here to discuss serial killers, I think the OP actually meant serial killers as mass-murderers would more than likely be single event mass killings. The OP is looking to connect seemingly random murders so serial killings are pretty obvious.
    [MENTION=37558]pessim321[/MENTION] The OP has every right to correct me if I'm wrong :)
     
  20. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    just what i was about to say... need to get your terms straight, first of all...

    mass murder is the killing of many people at one whack... what you've described is a 'serial killer'...
     
  21. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    [MENTION=52161]erebh[/MENTION]: I simply assumed the OP was asking about a mass murder of people (one occasion) who end up having a connection. That would be a very interesting premise, because it'd involve trying to get everyone at the same place at the same time. I didn't realise it was separate murders. I suppose I'm used to these terms being used accurately, so I tried to keep the topic on track. Sorry, my bad :)
     
  22. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Like the guy who got a sneak preview of his late father's will and discovered he was last in line to get a shilling so invited his whole family on the premise of a celebratory dinner and KABOOM!?

    (is that correct to finish the sentence with an exclamation AND a question mark - should they be the other way round? It looks wrong to me)
     
  23. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    [MENTION=52161]erebh[/MENTION]: Perhaps :D I'd opt for question mark and then the exclamation.
     
  24. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,201
    Likes Received:
    1,786
    Location:
    Australia
    I know it's off topic but I can't stay silent. With Australia's 2 worst known serial killers neither was sexually motivated. Ivan Milat loved the thrill of killing and also robbing. He killed men and women alike. He was an avid hunter. Bunting killed for the pleasure of killing, men and women alike, at first it was people that he considered not worthy of living (like mentally handicapped or homosexual), and then later members of his own family because they were easy to lead to isolated locations. He was a power and control freak. That's not a fringe or isolated group. I think if you focus only on sexually motivated serial killers that's all you'll see.

    True. Mass murder is lots of killing in a single incident, while serial killing is small amounts of killing at a time, over time. I'd say Mass murder would be like erebh's idea.
     
  25. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Sacramento
    no off-topic, the OP is looking for motives that link all the murder victims...
     

Share This Page