Today’s post is a repeat because I am scrambling to get ready to fly to L.A. for the Writers’ Digest Conference, but I think this is a truly fun post that is perfect for Halloween and also get get you guys fired up for NaNoWriMo. Writers really are a strange breed and just so y’all know? The normal ship sailed without you a long time ago so relax. Your family or friends might not “get” you but we do.
I love being a writer. It’s a world like no other and it’s interesting how non-writers are simultaneously fascinated and terrified of us. While on the surface, people seem to think that what we do is easy, deep down? There is a part that knows they’re wrong. That being a writer, a good writer, is a very dark place most fear to tread.
In fact, I think somewhere at the BAU, there’s a caveat somewhere. If you think you profiled a serial killer, double check to make sure you didn’t just find an author.
Hint: Check for empty Starbuck’s cups.
Writers, if you are NOT on a government watch list? You’re doing it wrong.
Seriously. I once spent an entire afternoon googling Fort Worth hotels to find the right one with a balcony to toss someone off of. I was like the Goldilocks of murder.
Nope doesn’t face a street.
Not high enough to be fatal.
Don’t want them landing in a pool.
Apparently “normal” people do not do this, which is why being normal is totally boring and for losers.
So before friends and family turn you into the FBI, here is a handy list of ways we writers are often mistaken for serial killers.
Serial Killers Writers Need Alone Time
Generally, dealing with the public is only for a purpose (like making others think we are normal). To truly recharge and immerse in the art of what we do, we need to pull back and simply “get away.” Many writers can be found in basements, dark corners of libraries or lurking behind a desk surrounded with bear traps.
Serial Killers Writers Often Hold Down a “Normal” Job
Many writers are also teachers, engineers (or likely married to an engineer—What is WITH that?), lawyers, doctors, or even librarians. We are friendly, polite and on-time and hold down gainful employment. This is what makes writers SO terrifying. You probably work with one.
You might even be married to one.
Serial Killers Writers Can Look Just like YOU
When our book comes out, neighbors will say, “But she seemed so nice and normal. Really polite. Always thought something was off, but writing? Really? Who can ever know these things.”
Serial Killers Writers Understand Law Enforcement
And probably dated it ….until they married an engineer.
When planning any murder or series of murders, we have to know our enemy. The cops. What are ways we can confuse them? Can we kill in multiple jurisdictions knowing the law agencies will never properly communicate and thus we can kill as many people as our plot requires? Can we run the police down a rabbit hole of distraction?
Can we evade them altogether? Get rid of ALL the evidence?
Serial Killers Writers Use Terms Like T.O.D.
Throw T.O.D. around a writers’ group and no problemo. But using this term at Thanksgiving with the family? Meh. We writers know the best time of year to kill and dump the body and which season a shallow grave is an acceptable option. No writer ever sees just a freezer. Or just a car trunk.
Trust me, we are thinking how many people we can fit in that sucker and if we’ll have to saw apart the body first.
Serial Killers Writers Hear Voices That Tell Them Who to Kill
And often talk to those voices. We might be driving to Costco when the Voice visits and tells us that we really shouldn’t kill that asshat who stood us up for prom. No, the slutty cheerleader he dumped us for is a way better choice. Then, so enraptured with talking to the Voice, we find we missed the last fifty exits and have to hope there’s a Costco in the neighboring state.
Serial Killers Writers Choose Victims Carefully
Generally our victims will include anyone who picked on us in high school or ever broke up with us via Facebook or text message. Victims can also include anyone who ever worked in HR or customer service for AT&T.
Serial Killers Writers Plan Their Kills Methodically
Sure you might get the fantasy or sci-fi author who just exterminates an entire race, but for the rest of us? No, we thought those kills out. We can’t just kill anyone lest we be left with a pacing and plot problem.
Serial Killers Writers Have a Timeline for Their Kills
Sure the body count will rise, but during revisions? We just go back and spend quality time with the souvenirs we took off our victims. We might even take breaks between books because we can’t murder characters without a plan. Helloooo?
Serial Killers Writers are Narcissists
Seriously, we have to be. Who else can write hundreds of thousands of words just knowingthe world will love every bit of what you put down? And PAY MONEY to consume it? Narcissists have a God-complex but unlike serial killers who pretend to be God?
We writers actually ARE.
Serial Killers Writers Take People Apart
We crawl in your head, but don’t get too freaked out. We crawl in everyone’s head. We think like you. We become you.
What???? Don’t judge me. You do this too!
Okay so when ACTORS do this it is OKAY but a writer does this and it’s creepy? We need to know how people think, what makes them tick, what sets them off. What are the right pain points and speaking of pain…
Serial Killers Writers Are Also Sadists
Excellent fiction is the path of greatest resistance which means good writers are all about exacting pain. Doling it out bit by bit. Upping the heat and making that victim and all who love him squirm, then panic, then question the very meaning of their existence. We push our victims until just before that spark of hope in their eyes extinguishes completely.
And then we give them a bone and rescue them so there. We aren’t completely heartless. Sheesh, these people are imaginary. Why so freaked out?
Serial Killers Writers Struggle with Addiction/Compulsion
Drugs and alcohol? Maybe. Books and cute bookmarks we never use because we lost them and so have to use the receipt from purchasing the freaking bookmark as a bookmark? Definitely. Female
serial killers writers can often be spotted wandering around a craft store talking to the yarn. Males? Computer stores.
Angels and Devils
Yeah yeah writers could be mistaken for serial killers but in the end, everything we do is for the ultimate good. We actually have to write in mistakes lest our villain remain free and that is bad fiction.
Speaking of which, have you ever created a villain so good you had to go BACK and write in some oopses? Like, “Wow, this guy’s good. Nope, they’d never catch him. Ah sh#!.”
Okay so some of you by now are either laughing and nodding…or you’re dialing an FBI hotline ready to link them to my blog. Fine, when they haul me away in cuffs, trust me I am taking notes so when I write a similar scene? I know how cuffs FEEL.
So there .
What are your thoughts? Have you ever had strangers overhear you talking about how to kill someone and you had to stop and say, “It’s okay. I’m a writer.” Do you love Discovery ID just a bit more than is probably healthy? Do you freak out friends and family because autopsies make you giddy? Are you more than a little weirded out that we all seemed to marry engineers?
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of OCTOBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
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