13 Reasons Authors are Mistaken for Serial Killers

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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.

#1 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.

#2 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.

#3 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.”

#4 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?

Image via Creepy Freaky House of horror (Facebook)

Image via Creepy Freaky House of horror (Facebook)

#5 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.

#6 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.

#7 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.

#8 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.

Duh.

#9 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?

#10 Serial Killers Writers are Narcissists 

Seriously, we have to be. Who else can write hundreds of thousands of words just knowing the 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.

#11 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. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 7.00.56 AM

Image via Creepy Freaky House of Horror (Facebook)

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…

#12 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?

#13 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.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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  1. #1 by ksvilloso on October 26, 2016 - 11:41 am

    Because engineers make a lot of money which face it, writers don’t…it evens out😉

    • #2 by Cathy F. on October 26, 2016 - 12:32 pm

      And because engineers can get shit done. Which… I can’t. So my engineer takes care of the reality we have to live in, keeping it all running like clockwork, (house, yard, car), and I keep his life interesting. He’d be so bored without me.😉

      • #3 by Cathy F. on October 26, 2016 - 12:34 pm

        Well, I say “I can’t” but I could… with a phone call. But life would get pretty expensive that way.

        My computer just stopped talking to my printer. I anxiously await my engineer’s return home this evening.

      • #4 by ksvilloso on October 26, 2016 - 12:39 pm

        Haha! I actually was in the engineering field myself, but my husband is a tradesman and he fulfills that function just as well😉

  2. #5 by thewriteedge on October 26, 2016 - 11:42 am

    I never dated law enforcement, but I have a close friend who married one. The first time I asked him questions about how to set up a crime, he refused to answer until he had a chance to text my husband and ask if he was okay.😀

    I love what I do!

  3. #6 by Ontyre Passages on October 26, 2016 - 11:51 am

    My protagonist is always trying to save people. And then there’s me. I destroyed an empire; summoned demons, changelings, and werewolf packs; and wiped out the entire elf race. And that was all before I developed my antagonist. I feel bad, but then I realize how liberating being bad is and I feel good. I think they lock people up for this.😀

  4. #7 by Joe Owens on October 26, 2016 - 11:59 am

    My wife married me knowing I was a writer, but she does NOT understand needing time alone. She swears and declares she does not have a jealous bone, but when it comes to spending time I must do it with her. Which means I am writing when I am not with her, i.e. early mornings, during football games and whenever I can find an opening.

  5. #8 by Chris Graham on October 26, 2016 - 12:00 pm

    I can really identify with this. My browsing history would be ringing all sorts of bells if the security forces or police looked too closely at it.

    As a crime novelist, with a ‘high end sex worker’ and a back street brothel ‘client’ as protagonists in my series, I’ve researched stuff right across the spectrum.
    From people trafficking, and smuggling of conflict gold and diamonds, to weapons, explosives, pharmaceuticals, the security services and police themselves, and various government and business buildings, my Google searches have been widespread. (Google maps and streetviews of airfields, ports, and railway stations are particularly useful… and possibly incriminating, but no one’s knocked on my door yet.)

    Strangely, I don’t get any awkward questions when I phone places for information. I’ve phoned police regional headquarters to make sure the particular station I intend to have my prisoners taken to is used for those kinds of criminals. I’ve asked for info about their holding cells… and even phoned up a prison for details regarding inmates access to outside phone lines, and the routines for prison visitors… particularly their lawyers.
    They all couldn’t have been more helpful when you tell them you’re a novelist checking facts.
    I’ve even had phone discussions with a receptionist at Cardiff’s ‘County Hall’… who phoned another colleague inside the building for further details… when I wanted to make sure my plans to ‘murder’ someone in the building’s gents’ toilet was feasible, and I have been given details of the nightly maintenance trains passing through the Channel Tunnel by EuroTunnel’s operations manager.

    So, if an exploding hooker goes off in the Channel Tunnel and a local government officer is murdered while he’s relieving himself during a break from a prison services meeting… I’m the one they’re going to be looking for. At least I’ll know my way around the airport as I’m making my escape.

    • #9 by Cathy F. on October 26, 2016 - 12:30 pm

      The FBI ought to have a flag in their system that pops up on our names saying “Nope. Probably a writer.”

      • #10 by Chris Graham on October 26, 2016 - 1:02 pm

        Yeah, Cathy, though in my case it would be GCHQ… who I’m sure share data to the FBI as well as the CIA.

        My research into where and how to get firearms illicitly (I’m in the UK where we don’t have general gun ownership – handguns are illegal.), and my Googling about shipping lanes and small airfield security around here and North Africa, could be suspicious. Especially combined with considerable research into Islam, even though it was for a book involving honour killing… I had to make my Muslim characters believable, especially the ‘good guys’, so home lives and customs needed checking out carefully (I do enjoy a nice home cooked curry… Thank you Ahmad.)

        • #11 by Cathy F. on October 26, 2016 - 1:05 pm

          Wow.

          You need to set up a gofundme account in case you end up needing someone to set bail…😉

          I kid, I kid. LOL

          • #12 by ~Yvette on October 26, 2016 - 1:37 pm

            Hmmm,may have to back-burner thus one!

  6. #13 by Linda Maye Adams on October 26, 2016 - 12:14 pm

    One of the writers from Criminal Minds was arrested because he Googled a very specific way to kill a person–and his wife was out of town, so the naturally the law thought …

    • #14 by ~Yvette on October 26, 2016 - 1:38 pm

      That’s a book right there!

  7. #15 by foguth on October 26, 2016 - 12:21 pm

    LOL, this is all too true. At the moment, I am carefully choosing a fictional character, based on a very annoying neighbor, so I can have the satisfaction of divine justice…. at least between the pages😉

  8. #16 by ~Yvette on October 26, 2016 - 12:29 pm

    You complete me! So to speak. Haven’t yet written a crime novel, but I must share your article so my family and friends can be less… Concerned. At the very least, my (could easily have been an engineer) husband has a point of reference for my crazy! Thanks for another fun read~Yvette

  9. #17 by jdenatly@gmail.com on October 26, 2016 - 12:31 pm

    My favorite are the phone calls I make to ask people advice on any given topic. I called a mechanic friend to ask the best way to blow up a car engine and make it look like a mechanical failure. Before I got off the phone I threw in a quick, “If you see this on the news later, it wasn’t me.” The first thing my husband (who is actually an engineer) says is always, “Don’t worry. It’s for a book.” It’s not as much fun when they know that🙂

    On the flip side, bringing up the proper way to dismember a body is a great way to get that chatty stranger in the garbage bag aisle to leave you the f@!% alone.

  10. #18 by Peter on October 26, 2016 - 12:36 pm

    Good Grief, saw that title and died laughing, another Kill! yeah, know so much of your list so well, #10 nope not narcissistic, I have a blog just for those STORIES I know NO ONE WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT OR READ. No advertising or anything saying it is there, I just can write and hit publish and know the ether has it. My soapbox is saved again. But even worse, I have 50+ job titles in 7 fields I have collected pay in, totally freaks people out that I can relate way to easily, have stories of doing this or that. Yeah, I’m sure I’m on a few watch lists… artist/photographer/writer way too long… never famous but way TOO MUCH FUN!

  11. #19 by jocelynnbabcock on October 26, 2016 - 12:57 pm

    Yeah, I married an engineer. What could be more be more normal than that. When it shows I Googled how to kidnap someone or how drug trafficking works they’ll see the engineer hubby and say “Oh, another writer.” Seriously though, writers and engineers have a mutual need for periods of solitude only each other can appreciate.

    • #20 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 26, 2016 - 2:17 pm

      Actually THAT is a good point. Hubby leaves me alone and I dig that.

    • #21 by jocelynnbabcock on October 26, 2016 - 2:31 pm

      AND, I had to repost and put on my FB https://wordpress.com/posts/jocelynnbabcock.wordpress.com

    • #22 by Cathy F. on October 26, 2016 - 7:09 pm

      Never thought of it that way, but you’re right. I just thought we were a really strange couple… both of us quite enjoy our time in our own heads, handling our own projects. On the weekends, he does his thing; I do mine. We text each other from different areas of the house (or garage, in his case), coordinating what we’re doing for dinner. LOL

      When we’re done working on things, we eat together, watch a little tv, talk about things, and have a good evening. It works.

      I wonder if this pattern is statistically significant in writer/engineer pairings.🙂

    • #23 by JA Andrews on October 29, 2016 - 4:35 pm

      LOL! I’m a writer AND an engineer. Basically, I should just never be around anyone. Ever.

  12. #24 by jocelynnbabcock on October 26, 2016 - 12:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Jocelynn Babcock and commented:
    Yeah, I married an engineer and have a disturbing Google history

  13. #25 by ellenchauvet on October 26, 2016 - 1:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Erotic Vampire and commented:
    This is such a fun post from Kristen Lamb. I do wonder sometimes…

  14. #26 by Ellen Hawley on October 26, 2016 - 1:28 pm

    When my partner was doing research for a mystery, we were on mailing lists that would’ve turned anyone’s hair gray. But the best bit was the time she asked the clerk in a gun shop about what he’d use to rob a bank.

  15. #27 by seekingsomepeace on October 26, 2016 - 1:32 pm

    For my search history, I’m counting on my Google Drive files for alibis and reasonable doubt… Surely all those novel drafts mean I haven’t actually killed anyone- as far as they know😉

  16. #28 by Elizabeth Rose on October 26, 2016 - 1:32 pm

    Perhaps less about killing off characters as a romance writer, but I was notorious about bookmarks. All over the house, except when I needed one. Sticky notes became my backup. Thank goodness for the Kindle app.

  17. #29 by Deborah Makarios on October 26, 2016 - 4:51 pm

    Writers also tend to break into disturbing laughter for no apparent reason. Like Jane Austen, who would be respectably seated at her sewing and then start laughing to herself and next minute she’s writing something down with That Look on her face.

  18. #30 by Patricia Robertson on October 26, 2016 - 5:32 pm

    Love this. So funny and appropriate with Halloween coming. Sharing it on my facebook page.

  19. #31 by PHS on October 26, 2016 - 5:42 pm

    Reblogged this on Archer's Aim and commented:
    Great post for Halloween breaking down what writers really do.

  20. #32 by Genene on October 26, 2016 - 5:43 pm

    Thank you for a mid-day laugh as I did see myself in a number of these reasons. My mysteries are not gruesomely detailed, so I may not make too many watch lists. I also wanted to thank one of the commenters above who reminded me there are some troublesome neighbors and others who deserve to be featured in one of my books. Bwahaha!

  21. #33 by Nita on October 26, 2016 - 6:36 pm

    Once a guy changed tables at a café to get away from a friend and I. We were discussing a story that involved a couple of widows and were discussing how the husbands died. The guy said something to us and we explained we were writers and discussing a story. I don’t think he bought it, he moved as soon as his food arrived. On another note, now I want to go to the police station and have them cuff me so I’d know how it feels. Why? I don’t even write mysteries or murder stories. Sheesh Kristen.

  22. #34 by angiedokos on October 26, 2016 - 8:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Angie Dokos.

  23. #35 by Dwane Knott on October 26, 2016 - 8:14 pm

    I enjoyed this as much as the first time I read it. Thanks for repost. Have fun at the conference.

  24. #36 by Tracy's Place on October 26, 2016 - 9:42 pm

    Haha! As a teacher married to an engineer, I’d say you’ve pretty much got it on point! Except for, sadly, the making a lot of money part 😩
    We are both city employees

  25. #37 by Botanist on October 26, 2016 - 9:46 pm

    I’m nodding like a demented bobblehead, saying, “Yep … yep … yep …” What’s wrong with me?

    And I’m just in the process of killing off a villain who was so good at covering his tracks I didn’t even realize he was there until I’d finished the first draft! Beat that!

    • #38 by Chris Graham on October 27, 2016 - 1:49 am

      That made me smile, Botanist… It also reminded me of how bad I felt after killing off a ‘good guy’. A young girl who’d been through enough already, then for the sake of my plot, I had her die in a lift (elevator) in a pool of her own blood and urine.

      However, it made me determined that her killer’s end would be filled with fear and a helpless inevitability while her distraught grieving boyfriend looked on. It was delicious.

      It’s funny how we get attached to our creations… loving or despising them as appropriate.

  26. #39 by Charis Black on October 26, 2016 - 10:42 pm

    Great. Loved the ideas here. These are story prompts basically

  27. #40 by Barbie D. Law on October 26, 2016 - 11:02 pm

    You are so fu#*ing funny Kristen. Yours is the only blog…in the world!! 👍

  28. #41 by Daven Anderson on October 26, 2016 - 11:30 pm

    If your research history mainly consists of “aliens, vampires and conspiracies”, you get a free (tinfoil) hat from Google….😈

  29. #42 by Sharon Gerlach on October 27, 2016 - 12:23 am

    Dated law enforcement but married a journeyman plumber – there’s some engineering involved in that. 😉

    My search history looks like it belongs to a madwoman. Wait…

  30. #43 by oddauthoramandamccoy.com on October 27, 2016 - 12:30 am

    I love this post, so funny! And yes, when I first saw the trunk space of my new Smartcar I totally thought, “How that hell would I fit a body in there?”

  31. #44 by Deliaria Davis on October 27, 2016 - 2:23 am

    My husbands an IT guy… I think my google history is normal though… well hold on… there is a lot of porn on it… I write erotic novels and novellas… I retweeted and reblogged. http://deliaria.mreauowpublishing.com/2016/10/27/check-this-blog-out/

  32. #45 by Ron Elliott on October 27, 2016 - 3:07 am

    I think I love you!!! You have put my mind at ease….I thought I was becoming dangerous. You have been peeking into my mind KL!

    ________________________________

  33. #46 by Courtney M. Wendleton on October 27, 2016 - 3:09 am

    Reblogged this on Books and More.

  34. #47 by Michael J Lawrence on October 27, 2016 - 4:33 am

    The question that is always on my mind: “How can she do this without a gun?”

    • #48 by Chris Graham on October 27, 2016 - 8:21 am

      That’s interesting, Michael… As a British writer, writing crime novels set mainly in the English West Country (OK, I accept that Bristol is a big city, but it isn’t London), for me the question is more likely to be: “Where did he/she get a gun?”

      To kill my victims, I’ve ‘used’ knives, explosives, an incendiary device in a light aircraft, an electrical cable, allergic reaction, military hardware, fire, carbon monoxide, a deep gorge in the Italian mountains, drug incompatibility… and of course firearms, both sniper/hunting rifles and the harder to obtain hand guns.

      There are more inventive ways to kill someone than merely shooting them. If shooting is the method of choice, sourcing the weapon, or a reason for the killer to have a firearm, has to become an element of the plot. It’s much too easy to expect them to be armed, and less credible in this country among the kinds of people my stories revolve around. (Even our police are only very rarely armed.)

      • #49 by charcamolson on October 27, 2016 - 2:03 pm

        According to an FBI table on this, the knife is STILL the most common murder weapon in the US, and I remember reading somewhere that the kitchen knife is the variant most commonly used in killings.

        Yes, a gun is loud and scary and seems very easy, but police are taught that within lunging distance (about 10 to 20 feet), a knife is just as, if not MORE, deadly than a handgun. Handguns make holes, a knife destroys and opens up in a straight path.

        So… don’t worry about finding sources for guns. Just give your character access to a kitchen, put them in melee distance of the victim, and let them make the first move.

        • #50 by Chris Graham on October 27, 2016 - 4:21 pm

          Now there’s a novelty, Charcamolson. In eight books, I’ve yet to have someone killed in any sort of mêlée, let alone in a kitchen… that omission needs remedying, maybe in my next book.

          All the killings in my novels have been pre-meditated, and usually planned carefully (by the killer… and of course by myself). Some were clinical, and businesslike; others a little messier, and in somewhat hotter blood (very hot, in the case of a burning car.).

          Strangely, the murder or murders in my books are rarely the main crime… though the next one to be released by my publisher (Retributions) is about a mystifying serial killer. In most of the stories, any killings are incidental, or at least convenient. Some murders aren’t even described as they happen, but are merely referred to in passing. One story – a short prequel to the series – has no murder or violence at all, yet still works well.

          In fiction, violence and murder are like sexual encounters. Sometimes the scenes are more effective when they’re in the reader’s mind.

          • #51 by charcamolson on October 27, 2016 - 7:44 pm

            I get tired of writing fights, I think. “This person shot that person”. I mostly do sci-fi and fantasy with large orders of warfare, but I prefer the character development, decisions, and changes, far more, I think. One scene I’m planning will probably involve setting up everything for an epic fight to happen, and then skipping to a different perspective, because I think not knowing the OUTCOME of that fight, and the consequences, will allow for a much better surprise later.

            • #52 by Chris Graham on October 28, 2016 - 3:57 am

              Agreed, my friend… and sometimes it’s good to set a quiet pastoral scene, or a civilised exchange between two characters, then have it shattered by a single shot.

              Another is the unexpected death (aren’t they all?) – The following scene is from ‘Retributions’ (Hopefully out by crimbo, at least as e-book):

              * * *

              The boy waved to his mates as they stood around outside the corner shop, then he walked off across the green. He paused a few yards further on, where he spotted a discarded Coke can on the ground. Turning to it, he took a kick at the can, sending it sailing through the air towards his friends.

              They responded with a cheer, followed by a string of catcalls and ribald comments about his accuracy and his parentage. He grinned, as he continued on his way, turning down an alleyway that provided a shortcut to the housing estate, where he lived with his parents and elder sister.

              Taking advantage of the shelter from the wind, he stopped to light a cigarette, hoping that he’d have time to smoke it before reaching home as his parents disapproved of the habit. They’d told him that once he was legally old enough to smoke, then it was up to him, though he still wouldn’t be allowed to smoke in the house.

              Young Wayne Henson was looking forward to his sixteenth birthday in just over two month’s time. He could then not only smoke legally, but could leave school officially, rather than just skiving off while keeping one eye open for the local PCSO or the truant patrol.

              He might even be able to get a job of some sort, though that might give his friends another reason to take the mickey. Going home to two parents, who both actually cared, was enough already. At least at sixteen he’d be able to sign on and claim ‘jobseeker’s allowance’.

              As the boy drew on the freshly lit cigarette, he failed to notice a dark figure coming silently up behind him. This may have been partly due to the i-pod headphones that were clamped to his ears under the hood of his sweatshirt. Or indeed to the reduced peripheral vision caused by the hood itself.

              His first inkling that something was very wrong, came when he felt a sharp pain between the ribs below his right shoulder blade.

              He collapsed into a heap, gurgling as his throat filled with blood from where the thin bladed knife had punctured his lung as well as his heart.

              In vain, he tried to cry for help as he felt his bladder let go, soaking his new Adidas jogging pants in urine. But no sound came out from his blood filled vocal chords.

              The last thought to pass through his mind was one of embarrassment that he’d pissed himself, before he died silently in that filthy, litter and dog waste strewn alley.

              All became quiet apart from a gentle hissing sound from a paint spray can in his pocket. His collapse had dislodged its plastic cap and as his body settled, the button on the top had been pressed, releasing fluorescent green acrylic paint which soaked into his hoodie along with the copious quantities of the boy’s own blood.

              * * *

  35. #53 by storytellergirlgrace on October 27, 2016 - 9:04 am

    I mentioned the other day that I had just killed someone for the first time in a while (main characters rarely die in most of my stories), and then I quickly had to explain that I was a writer. Awkward.😛

  36. #55 by charcamolson on October 27, 2016 - 2:09 pm

    I do a little farming, so while I (thankfully) have no experience with killing humans, I have slaughtered pigs, chickens, and geese with guns and knives. Some of this makes it into my treatment of death in writing, the utter brutal suddenness of it where something goes from being beautiful and alive to nothing but a broken, irreparable corpse.

  37. #56 by teuliano on October 27, 2016 - 2:43 pm

    Love this! I’m a physician married to an engineer, so I’ve totally got #2 covered. My blog is for answering writers’ questions about medical issues in their WIP’s, so I’m constantly looking up things that would look pretty dang bad if my google history were ever checked. My dad wants me to put a disclaimer on the site…maybe I should…

    • #57 by Chris Graham on October 31, 2016 - 7:42 am

      Yes, Teuliano, I think most of us… well crime writers certainly… have got at least one tame medic, policeman, engineer, mechanic etc. to cover fields we ourselves aren’t clued up on. Otherwise it’s resort to Google and/or pick the phone and ask a stranger. They’ll usually be pleased to help when you tell them you’re novelist… or at least that’s the way I’ve found it here in the UK.

  38. #58 by morgenbailey on October 27, 2016 - 2:47 pm

    Reblogged this on MorgEn Bailey – Creative Writing Guru and commented:
    As someone who loves creating serial killers, this is a perfect post.

  39. #59 by Ciara Darren on October 27, 2016 - 3:19 pm

    I was certain I was going to end up with the FBI at the door since I had checked out books on biochemical warfare from the local library mere days before 9/11. I was 13 or so and was terrified. And yes, I was researching for a novel. It wasn’t good, but I did finish it. And carefully did not torment the world with it! My google search history however, yep, I’m doomed.

  40. #60 by Pagadan on October 27, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    What’s TOD?

  41. #62 by MaryAnna Rose on October 27, 2016 - 5:05 pm

    I’m always wondering if I should be typing some of my questions into google.
    – How old can a kidnapped child have to be to remember his past?
    – What animals have poison that paralyzes?
    – What does an untended burn look like after two days?

    Ok, I suppose the last one won’t land you on any lists. But there’s a reason I hesitate to lend my computer to friends. I don’t want to give anyone nightmares🙂 ah yes, the life of a writer.

    • #63 by jdenatly@gmail.com on October 27, 2016 - 5:37 pm

      Look up the fat-tailed scorpion for the paralysis question. I’ve researched that too.

      • #64 by MaryAnna Rose on October 27, 2016 - 5:40 pm

        Thanks🙂

  42. #65 by Loura Shares A Story on October 27, 2016 - 5:56 pm

    I laughed so hard reading this! My biggest concern is when I finally start publishing all the really, really dark stuff that’s floating around in bits of notes everywhere, my family will be shocked (shocked, I tell you!) and everyone will hug their children more tightly when they see me coming.

    I also laughed because, for some reason unknown to me before, Marquis de Sade always, always seems to appear in my writing conversations.

  43. #66 by jamieayres on October 27, 2016 - 6:01 pm

    This is perfect! We just read The Tell-Tale Heart in my English class, then studied traits of a psychopathic killer vs. a mentally ill killer & put the narrator on trial. Since I’m an author too, I have to share this with my students. They’ll die! They’ve already labeled me as a psychopath, but “a good one, not the type that murders.” LOL!

  44. #67 by J Lenni Dorner (@JLenniDorner) on October 27, 2016 - 9:34 pm

    Ha! This one cracked me up.

  45. #68 by R.C. Thompson on October 28, 2016 - 9:16 am

    That was fun, but you forgot the love hate thing. I hate bi-polar, it’s awesome! One can say the same about writing. I am bi-polar and writing is harder.

  46. #69 by SleepyDragon1320 on October 28, 2016 - 3:16 pm

    Reblogged this on Sleepy Book Dragon and commented:
    How many of these can you relate to? I think I can relate to almost all of them in some way!

  47. #70 by SleepyDragon1320 on October 28, 2016 - 3:17 pm

    Thank you for the giggles! Really needed them!

  48. #71 by Jacob Airey on October 28, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    I love this article. It describes me to perfection. LoL

  49. #72 by Lucie on October 28, 2016 - 6:02 pm

    Cazzo! I must be a serial killer. Have no idea what T.O.D. means. Maybe I’ll try googling it! ;)p

  50. #73 by Pagadan on October 28, 2016 - 8:55 pm

    Still smiling, and I got a few ideas.

  51. #74 by Fleur on October 31, 2016 - 6:48 am

    I tried to ask my friend how to blow up a nuclear facility he worked at. Needless to say, he would NOT answer my questions. *sniff* it’s just for research man!

  52. #75 by Mic on October 31, 2016 - 10:58 pm

    I’ve had quite a few laughs at the searches done online in a given week while researching and plotting.

  53. #76 by lorraineambers on November 1, 2016 - 3:05 pm

    I laughed hard at this post. I am married to an engineer & I’m the administrator for the business. I always thought it was my brother & sister who were the narcissists. I guess it must run in the family.🙂

  54. #77 by aurorajeanalexander on November 1, 2016 - 4:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
    What do writers and serial killers have in common? Kristen Lamb knows it all! Thanks for another amazing article, Kristen!

  1. Kristen Lamb Gets Me!!  Sharing Kristen’s blog for my wonderful and supportive family and friends.  Can I hear a collective sigh of relief??13 Reasons Authors are Mistaken for Serial Killers | Housewife Hair
  2. Check this blog out
  3. 13 Reasons Authors are Mistaken for Serial Killers | Joy V. Smith
  4. Writing Links in the 3s and 5…10/31/16 – Where Genres Collide
  5. Mind Sieve 11/7/16 – Gloria Oliver

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