Intimate Murder: Villain and Victim Development

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.

The victim.

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.

Read SEETHINGS now. It’s the first novel in a series, and it’s free on *SMASHWORDS. (*limited time)

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’.

Great Heroes Require Quality Villains. They’re Compulsory.

Dark fiction does heroes a great big favour. Without a certain kind of evil to rise to the occasion, heroes can’t develop into what they are meant to become. Thank God for the darker elements of humanity and the baddest of bad-boys (or girls) to show us and our hero the way into the light.

What about the reverse storyline, y’know, the one where an ordinary hero loses to a fantastic villain, with evil winning the day and taking readers to the dark side?

Too hard to envision?

I could talk about mind-traits blocking the path to enlightenment — how our brains are wired to find the happy-ever-afters in the stories we hear and read. I’d include something about existentialism’s desire to fix problems whenever it sees a breakage in itself, but that’s not my job. Writing is my thing. My work is to tease out intriguing plots from ideas and turning long strings of words into entertainment. Dark fiction is my life. I live and breathe it. My quest is to create a villain who can be loved and hated with equal measure, with the reader accepting evil by the final page.

Are we talking of monsters, witches and the supernatural?

The only monster my writing contains is the one each of us carry around inside us. It dwells beneath an old part of our subconsciousness, and it just happens to be the most dangerous. If the conditions are right, this inner-creature is capable of broaching the upper-consciousness, reaching the surface and making it into this world. If you believe this is possible, then you too can accept the kind of evil I write.

SEETHINGS includes storms. Some are seen, others are felt. When they meet, a murder takes place. Police recognise the timing, but there are few other clues. It’s a mystery, but the greater mystery is why. The answer is deeply unsettling. It’s a crime that could’ve been committed by anyone. Even you.

Read SEETHINGS now.

Five Random Victims
Summer Thunderstorms
Charm Bracelet
Author: M.Forman
Avail: Kindle, Kobo, Kindle, iPad, Android.

Writing That Goes Against Regular Plot Tropes

Fairy tales reward heroic characters with happy endings. Comfortably familiar, good triumphs over evil, love prevails, dirty environments are cleansed, and there’s always a happy-ever-after to finish off with. It’s perfect. In this challenging day-to-day world, all H.E.A stories warm our souls and rescues us from realism. We want to read about the good fight, denounce evil, and find social harmony. It’s a warm way to book-relax. It makes sense to want Utopia. It’s orderly. Calm.

"Heroism is accessible. Happiness is more difficult."
-Albert Camus

Let’s talk about stranger than fiction stories. Escapism can take a gigantic leap into the unbelievable if the right STF narrative comes along. Find the right kind of true life story, and it’ll surpass any happy-ever-after. It won’t always put you into a Utopian world, but an unintended villain can become a reluctant hero. Good AND evil can dwell inside a single character. It’s an awkwardly interesting plot foundation that doesn’t conform to modern tropes. If the story is truly real AND convincing, evil people can live inside good ones. Readers can discover new reading entertainment that doesn’t contain the usual writing clichés.

My Doomed Hero story begins below. The question to ask yourself is: How much of is really real and much of it is fiction?

-Michael

Five Random Victims
Summer Thunderstorms
Charm Bracelet
Author: M.Forman
Avail: Kindle, Kobo, Ipad, Etc.

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’.