Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What It's Like To Write About Dead Bodies

On a typical Saturday afternoon I'm plotting how to use windshield wiper fluid to kill someone.

Say that three times fast before the fear of the cops hunting you down crosses your mind.

Or how exactly a knife to the gut will create blood spatter patterns on a wood floor (thanks, Dexter) and how long it will take the victim to bleed out. Fictionally killing someone on a regular basis is both fun and creepy. Mostly creepy because murder isn't supposed to be this much fun. But Google is my friend and there are limitless ways to drag the life out of a human body. The poison list alone is astounding.

Normally and ideally, as a genre cozy writer, I want the death to be quick and played out off "screen" aka page--but that doesn't mean my killer doesn't want to relish in it. Even if my readers only see the end result, the death can be as gruesome as the murderer wants so long as we tamp down the ick factor.

A death all depends on motive and opportunity. It's all an elaborate game of Clue, but for grownups. Is my murder intentional or a crime of passion which could be spur of the moment? What's available as a weapon? Weapons can be limitless, even the human body can be used as a weapon depending if the killer knows of a victim's certain fatal allergies. Does the killer want the victim to suffer or does the victim need to be disposed of quickly so that the killer can level off the guilt from their shoulders and continue to live life?

These are the questions I have to ask myself before I think up the perfect murder. And there's normally more than just one that I get to plan for every book.

Sure, a knife or a gun will do the trick in a pinch, but my killer's tend to like to get a little more creative. Or maybe they just know that I enjoy the research.

At first writing and researching how to kill someone felt weird, illicit, and dangerous. Constantly looking over my shoulder and wanting to scream "It's just fiction, I swear"! Now it's kind of like a little game.

That's probably weird, right? Because the bodies sure aren't anymore.

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