Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing From Your Dark Side

We’re told to write what we know, right?  Well, if you write mysteries that could present a problem.  I mean, how many of us are serial killers, axe murderers, and the like?  Certainly not many I hope.

But, just because you’ve not lived your life on the wrong side of the law, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to tap your own thoughts for ways to manipulate the villains in your stories.  All you have to do is tap that dark side that exists in each of us.

    Consider this; have you ever been driving along and some idiot cuts in front of you on the freeway, causing you to have to stand on your brakes to keep from rear-ending him?  What did you feel like at that moment?  I’ll bet dollars to donuts you had visions of the fool in the car in front of you suspended upside down over a roaring fire.  Have you ever had someone cut in front of you when you’re waiting in line at the drug store?  Ever want to ram a hot poker in their – well, doesn’t matter where you put it – you think of doing grave body harm to them.

These are the dark thoughts we all have from time to time, and if you use them wisely, they can make for some really, and I mean really, scary villains.  It’s a good idea to keep a notebook or journal with you wherever you travel, and when these little incidents occur, record your feelings.  Write down that macabre fantasy that flitted through your mind when the lady who was so busy texting as she drove almost ran you down in the intersection, when you clearly had the walk light.  Record your emotions at the time; did your pulse rate rise?  Your heart race?  What words and images came to mind?  You just might surprise yourself by learning that you know more than you think.