1. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Planning a murder?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by miss sunhine, Apr 27, 2012.

    Okay, so I've decided to step out of my comfort zone and write a Crime novel. I've read around the Genre but that doesn't really help you plan your own much.
    I'm finding it difficult because of all the little details, so could anyone tell me the best way to plan out a murder so that it's realistic and there's no loop holes or questions left hanging?

    Thanks for answering
    x
     
  2. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    You can get inspiration from others, but I think the basic concept of the novel has to come from you. In a crime novel that means devising the murder. If you can't even get that far on your own, maybe you're just not a crime writer?
     
  3. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    P.s don't you know there's no such thing as a perfect murder? Shelf loads of crime novels have been based on that concept alone...
     
  4. Leia
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    Leia Member

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    I don't know what the British equivalent is, but in the U.S. of A we have channels that pretty much regurgitate half hour to hour length episodes of true crime shows (the only one I can remember the title of is Cold Case Files). They're pretty good if you can look 'em up, and easier to sit through than reading a book (especially if you read it only to find out it's not exactly what you're looking for). They chronicle a murder from the moment they find the body, until the moment the cops nab (or in some cases don't nab) the bad guy.

    I'm not a psychopath (and how I love to start sentences with that) but I like to watch those shows, figure out where the perp screwed up, and fancy myself able to commit the perfect murder (and, yes, I realize I would in fact not be able to...still fun though).
     
  5. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I think you have to know who the killer is, and why he/she is killing the victim. Is there a emotional reason? Or it's just another job for the killer? If so, why the victim should be eliminated? Depending on the answers for those questions, you might find how the crime is going to be executed: poison, gun, apparent suicide... And research is good. A lot of research.
     
  6. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    No, I didn't want you to do the work for me. Just tells me some things I need to think about i.e what was the murder weapon and how was it disposed off, (I've done that) but just advice really on how to go about writing it all down. I've tried to begin with the actually murder the plan what happened before and after.
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Check out books/articles written by crime writers on how they do their research.
     
  8. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Thanks leia I'll try and find something to watch like that, I have already.
    Cassiopeia - You gave me some new things to think about.
    Tar
     
  9. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    There is no perfect murder. Random chance alone will destroy the most detailed plan.

    An example:
    There's an episode of CSI that follows the murderer around instead of the team of investigators. He was once a professional bank robber that went legit after hiding his share of the money (to wait until the statue of limitations on the robberies was over in case the bills were marked or otherwise traceable). A member of his crew had snitced on him, sending the man to jail. Said snitch got clean (Alcoholic Anonymous I think) and called the guy up to apologize. The crook immediately planned revenge. Shot the guy with an untraceable gun in a rented hotel room filled with the DNA of random people. It happened nowhere near where the killer lived. He gets in the car smiling, content that he will get away with it.

    Then a teenage girl on the way to work plows into his car. After apologizing and offering to pay for damages, he panics and snaps her neck so he can flee the scene. Cue investigation and killer worrying that his wife (who knew about his past) will get arrested as an accessory and his kid put in the foster system. The guy turns himself in at the end of the episode and actually asks Grissom (head CSI) where he went wrong.

    Grissom stares at him blankly for a moment: "You killed two people."
     
  10. Whizp
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    Whizp Senior Member

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    There is no perfect murder. Random chance alone will destroy the most detailed plan.

    Think Jack the Ripper, he managed several:eek:
     
  11. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    Not really. Jack got away mostly because of police incompetence/lack of training and preying on the unwanted. That's not the perfect murder (which means the killer is just SO AWESOME AND SMART).
     
  12. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    Right Crime novel, I've done one of these and here's what I kept in mind:

    (1) Plan the story from the killer's point-of-view; write the story from the detective's point-of-view.

    (2) Create the character of your victim, cliché-alert demands that (s)he is not: (a) a rich benefactor who happens to be a son-of-a-bitch (b) the blonde beautiful girl who is secretly a mafia mob boss.

    (3) Work out your vic's life, try to envision their hobbies, their life, their family, their relationships. What makes them tick. Make sure you have a few varied reason as to why someone would want them dead.

    (4) Surround the victim with people. Friends, family, acquaintances, rivals, ex-spouses... whatever. In a crime novel these people will either be (a) red herrings (b) the killer. Never create a character that you're not going to try to make the reader believe did the crime.

    (5) Even though you're not going to use it all in your book, write a brief outline of your murder. Who the killer is, how they did it, what the weapon was, why they did it. Details are vital, work out your times down to the minute for everything.

    (6) Work out where each of your red herrings were when the murder happened. You can have one or two visit the victim around the time of the murder. Naturally everyone has secrets, so each red herring will need to have a reason not to be entirely honest about where they were.

    (7) Once everything is in place, work out the character of your detective and if you like, an assistant. If they are single, perhaps you could develop a romantic sub-plot between detectives and red herring, or even the killer (although people will probs expect that)

    (8) Now you have to create clues that the detective can find or information which can lead them on the right path (or the wrong path for a bit). Most people demand a fair-play mystery element to their crime novels, so if you're not revealing the criminal immediately (a reverse who-dunnit) you'll want to make sure your reader gets the information at the same time as the detective. People like to be able to try to work out who done it.

    (9) Now write the novel. Have a few subplots going for your detective so their not just travelling from point a to b, finding a clue, then onto c. You might want to put them in danger, injure them, or perhaps even kill the detective or the assistant during the novel (depending on your narrative perspective).

    (10) Make sure you research everything. If you're including forensic professionals, research their craft extensively. Make sure your murder weapon is actually capable of killing someone in the way it happened. If you include the police force, make sure you know police procedure down to the letter.
     
  13. Whizp
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    Whizp Senior Member

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    I asumed anyone who gets away with murder for whatever reason has comitted a perfect murder - otherwise what is a perfect murder?

    how do you know that? There must be many that have been so perfect they haven't even been known. Plenty of people just disappear, maybe they've been killed. :)
     
  14. Whizp
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    Whizp Senior Member

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    thecoopertempleclause has given some great advise!
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whoever figures that out usually becomes a best selling crime writer.
    A lot goes into writing a good crime novel - some experience in the field (forensic, medical, scientific, legal or some other related field), life experience, general writing experience, reading lots of good crime novels and most importantly - passion. If you are "just experimenting" you are less likely to write something good then if you had a personal reason and special interest in this subject.
     
  16. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Well, it's nothing for Publishing I just like to experiemwnt with different Genres, I don't like to stick to just one thing. Every book I write teaches me something.
    No perfect murder just the perfect crime!

    Thanks to everyone who helped me out
    x
     
  17. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Finally! Something where I have solid ideas to contribute!

    First, as you begin you have to climb inside my head. (Brush aside the porn and the spider-webs) There are two very important aspects of wanting to end life. Initially, you have to demonstrate to the reader that the killer does not look at himself as the villain. He is an 'avenging angel.' He is out to right a wrong.

    Then, you have to paint the initial scenes as a world where the reader might actually agree that there are some people who need to be killed. Or as my group of skeptic riding buddies might opine, "Now there's a name that would look good on a tombstone."

    Now you've drawn the reader into the web of the plot. Now we must create a method where there is no connection coming back to your 'hero' or at least the idea of 'reasonable doubt' if caught.

    (Personally I would allow some evidence. Make your 'hero' look initially good to the police after they find the body, if ever. As they find after deeper investigation nothing else makes any sense, they will exclude your guy from the list of suspects. Once eliminated, there's less of a chance that they will circle back.)

    Okay, now how to kill him. I'm a knife guy. New gloves. Lots of plastic drop cloth, a few well placed slashes to the femoral artery. Depending on just how wound up the victim gets, he'll be bleed out in two to eight minutes. But hang the guy upside down like beef in a slaughter house and drain him good. Burn the plastic, chop it up. Disassemble the knife, melt it down. Burn all of your clothes and your shoes. BTW, make sure you have the exact pair of new shoes. People will claim that they've seen you in them, but the soles won't match errant footprints. Last of all, get a haircut.

    The body you can break-down at your leisure. Keeping it cool or dousing it in quick lime should give you ample time. Dump the pieces over a large area where predation is occurring. The ribs of a human look like whitetail deer. I know, we find them in our yard. Before subdividing, this entire area was used for deer hunting.

    The biggest linchpins to a successful prosecution is the tri-pod of motive, method and opportunity. Not having a viable body adds to the difficulty. Besides, a good villain doesn't look guilty, and why should he? He did the world a service.
     
  18. EineKleine
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    I've written one murder mystery script, and this is the process I had;

    I developed my main character. A detective addicted to cocaine. I developed his issues, his back story, who he was etc.
    Then I developed my murderer. That was the fun part. My killer was unique, and his murders were unique, and as such, the murder wrote itself. I imagined myself from the perspective of this deranged individual, having fully realized his motives in my own mind, and keeping them in mind. Then I thought from the other's perspective, and if this aspect of the murder was confusing, or if it was believable. I asked myself, if this was happening to me, or if I was reading this fresh, would I see through it?

    You really need to put away your creative cap for a mystery and put on your logic glasses. Think logically of what you are telling your reader, and what the killer is thinking and doing. What would he/she plan. How he/she executes the killings. How the people react when they find the body/ies. You really just need to get in the killers mind, so that the murders feel geniune. That is my only advice.
     
  19. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Who do you plan to kill? What is their schedule or routine? What do you have access to, that you can kill someone with? What is your connection to the victim? Will you be an immediate suspect? What will be your alibi? Do you want them to suffer or just gone? Do you want the insurance or can it be suicide? What are the opportunities for them to have an accident?

    Ask, then answer the standard questions.
     
  20. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    The perfect murder is one where every possible piece of evidence leading back to the killer is accounted for by said killer. The perfect murder can never be solved because of its execution, not incompetence or inexperience on the investigators side. Jack the Ripper was not some master of disguise with detailed plans who could never have been stopped. He was a deranged knife-nut who lived at a time when forensic science was still young and police were underfunded. And he killed women involved in the sex trade. Most likely because he had syphilis, which often led to dementia, and blamed them for it. Or you could believe that nonsense about him being a member of (or working for) the royal family.

    People get away with murder all the time, but not because they are geniuses. Evidence gets contaminated or not tagged properly. Search warrants were not obtained or other legal techicalities crop up. Or they kill hookers. Or they have million dollar lawyers and the cops and DA know the case might lead to an acquital, so they wait for more evidence. People can say whatever they like, the beautiful daughter of a politician, if murdered, is going to WAY get more cops and funds investigating it than some random sex worker who was probably born on the other side of the world. This is why many serial killers in real life target hookers. They won't be missed.

    And perhaps it is just me. I don't read or watch such shows because of the villain. I really don't care what pathetic reason some killer has for being the garbage he is. It's the hero of the show and how he gets his man that draws me in. One murderer is really no better than another, regardless of what their ego needs to think.
     
  21. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Thanks everyone and The Tourist you made me laugh
     
  22. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I don't think writers look for the perfect murder, just one that's interesting to figure out how it was done. Murder behind a locked door sort of thing. Often it's not the murder but the way someone tries to hide or cover it up, where you get your clues to the solve the mystery. Before CSI it was detecting who was lying as you questioned the suspects. What story didn't match all the others.
     
  23. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    ...women keep telling me that...

    I guess this plot comes from meeting idiots over the decades and planning a fantasy death. However, I really am a knife guy, and if you plan something similar in your story, I'll show you the best cutlery for the job.

    If you can, google a tanto or a commercial CRKT 'Shinbu.' Make sure your lead goes to see a Japanese togishi. That part writes itself.
     
  24. simplyrachel
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    simplyrachel Member

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    first develop your characters, then what each of their roles are in the murder book. then do the who what when where how with what etc etc.
     
  25. MissRis
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    First, I think this is greatest thing about being a writer, isn't it? Planning murders (*evil laugh*) Nothing more satisfying than planning out the perfect death of a character -- I get an odd enjoyment out of killing my characters (I'm insane, I know). I think Faulkner said, "In writing, you must kill all your darlings." I don't know whether he meant this literally or figuratively, but I found it apropos.

    Anyways, if you want some interesting ideas watch the film "Pathology." [I will add a discretionary note that it is extremely violent, graphic, and sexually explicit (what good movie isn't?).] In summary, the film focuses on pathology interns who spend their spare time planning the perfect (undetectable) murder (and actually killing people). It kind of all goes awry when someone takes it too far, but the murders planned in the film are sheer genius. It may give you some ideas of more unusual ways to kill someone.

    This comment isn't terribly helpful, as I haven't given you any advice persay, but I just had to post.
     

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