When writing dark fiction, it’s important to create the perfect villain. Without one, a hero can’t rise above and give the reader what they need — hard justice. A hero’s strength depends on the power of the villain to get them there. Justice aside, there’s one other thing to consider.
Simply using random individuals as victims certainly quickens part of the writing process. It can give our bad-guy instant badness and we don’t need to know about a victim’s life, learn their name, or visit a funeral. We can spend more time with the villains and heroes in the story. But using a nameless nobody to die at the hands of the best-crafted bad-guy, can ruin a good dark fiction story.
Why not include some intrigue by selecting the perfect victim for our villain? If the so-called randoms don’t turn out to be that random at all, we could give deeper purpose to each kill — discoverable later in the story.
And what about the manner in which they die?
Murder is highly personal — at least, I believe it is. Nothing is more intimate than making one of my character’s life snuff out. It’d be easy to under-value a good murder by failing to honour murder’s intimacy. For instance: A shooting. There’s a crack of a gun, a fall to the knees, and a body hits the ground — all done, nice and quick. If the villain is a sniper, it’s even less intimate, because it’s done from a distance. He doesn’t even have to see the eyes of his victim fade. Where’s the intimacy in a sniper-kill?
My murder is not the kind that comes by way of a gun, or a knife, or poison. I’m talking about something deeply intimate — like the electricity that crackles between two new lovers.
Theirs is all about erotic anticipation, hot kisses, fingers and hands seeking bare flesh. Only eyes, moans, and heavy breathing, is used to guide their way into the bedroom. A murder can be written into this space instead. It can be just as sensual, building towards a steamy homicide, creating a whole new level of creep for the dark narrative.
I’m a writer who yearns to bring intimacy and murder together. I want a reader to want to witness the development of such a relationship and then rise as their union climaxes. And then I want them shocked by what I do next.
Avoid clichés at all costs.
Clichés take us where we expect to go. There’s nothing left to do but to wrap a story up with a justice bow and let the reader off with a feel-good outcome. The only challenge for a writer, is to become creative in hiding the cliché, while writing it. For instance: Bad guy goes to jail, dies, banished forever, turned into stone, becomes a horrible monster, etc. The result is always the same — the evil never stays. It goes away, always. Predictable. Not in my stories.
Should justice be as predictable?
You’d think it’d be black and white. Once the badness is identified, it’s removed by good, old fashioned justice. But justice is subjective. Depending on your age, race, upbringing, beliefs, sex, sexual preference, intellect, wisdom, experience, even weight and height, you’ll have a unique view on what’s just. There’s another human flaw to factor into the justice mix — psychological stability. There are moments when we’re not ourselves and make bad decisions on things like justice. All of these varying elements in the justice process make it somewhat fluidic. This fluidity is something I like to explore in my stories. All I need to do is get my reader to jump in and get wet with me, to find appropriate justice in the sloppy liquid. It’s not conventional but it works for the thriller-styled novels I write.
Self awareness, identity and acceptance is important to everyone, including psychopaths. We all have an inner-something that drives us and makes us do the things we do. Even well-balanced people can get things horribly wrong on matters of love, lust, family, money, and much more. Any of these items can be motivators for us to think and act inappropriately, and then look to cover our tracks when we see things in the light of a new day.
My books include this strange shift in behaviour. They are dark fiction and not meant for children. They’re not for simple souls either. They contain complex, adult issues, and challenge a reader’s moral standing throughout their narratives. They are written for a perfect villain who commits an intimate murder, and then ask readers to accept a different type of justice that makes perfect sense, only at the time of the crime.
–Michael Forman (Author)
“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.