Saturday, June 20, 2009

Serial Killers ….Not In My Books, and New Babies



John Ramsey Miller


I almost didn’t make it here this week because my middle son’s wife had a baby yesterday and we have been keeping their two-year old. I haven’t had a moment to do anything but gather the rope and throw the lasso as he roars by. I hate it when people show pictures of newborns because most are either ugly or featurless, and really ...who cares. I just put this picture here because this isn't true in my family. For some odd reason, all of my grandchildren are born looking like movie stars.

My blog this week was going to be about serial killers and this is what I got done on that...

Someone asked me the other day if I had written any novels with serial killers in them and I said not yet, and probably not ever. All of my books have killers in them, but the motivation for my killers is usually based on self-interest. A person who kills over and over again for sexual gratification holds no interest for me and I’m not comfortable writing about them. My killers are usually murdering for revenge, profit, in self-defense, or due to a twisted sense of justice. My killers [those who are main characters] are complex individuals. They are usually intelligent, but almost all have a warped perspective on the world.

I like writing villains. A protagonist usually has to win more or less fairly against an opponent who isn’t into the rules so much. Not adhering to any rules of engagement usually gives my killers an edge against their opposition. Yeah, it really wasn't going anywhere near new ground.

So, tomorrow is Father's Day, and as it turns out between the new baby (see above), my older son's family doing something because he is a father of four, it will be a smaller than normal turnout. It will also be 99˚ (after weeks of rain--think sauna) so I'll be staying close to the air conditioner.

So I ramble back and try to tie something together...

Now I have six grandchildren, three-and-three, and instead of merely messing up the house, they can wreck several acres when they visit together for Sunday dinner.

I've always heard that the worst killer imaginable would be a three hundred pound three-year old, and I believe it. My oldest son doesn't allow his children to use the word "kill", but his children (6 & 4) have "accidented" two baby chickens, legions of frogs, lizards, bugs, etc... Now children will do these things when they are together, never on their own. Thrill killing on the farm. They are good kids, but kids are like adults. As long as they are not accompanied by other adults they don't usually get into mischief. Two or more people and there is a chance for escalation. The clear exception is writers who do all of their mischief when they are alone.

By the way the new baby (born yesterday) is Shay Aurora Miller and she weighed 6 lbs 13 Oz, and I only mention this because I'll call her Sam, because I should caption the picture.




9 comments:

  1. John, congrats on the new addition. What a cool thing it is to have a stranger show up in your family and realize they’ll be your friend for the rest of your life.

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  2. Beautiful baby, John! Congratulations! I love the name Aurora.

    Regarding your topic, serial killers, I wonder if terrorists could be considered serial killers, only motivated by political or religious ideology? I'd never framed it that way, but your discussion about motives made me wonder.

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  3. Congrats, John, she's beautiful.

    As a writer of two serial killer novels, I can say that based on my research it's not always about sexual gratification, but more about absolute control, which can make for great villains. The whole thing about serial killers is that they're completely devoid of a conscience- and depending on the individual, that can manifest itself in very different ways.

    To answer Kathyrn's question, the difference between serial killers and terrorists/mass murderers is that usually the latter consider their ideology a justification for their actions. A serial killer needs no reason at all to kill.

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  4. Michelle is right, it isn't always about sexual gratification. I have not really studied SKs because I don't find them intriguing enough for protagonists in my work. God knows a lot of authors make them super intriguing in their books--Michelle among them.

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  5. Forgot to mention that the prospect of a three-hundred pound three year-old was downright terrifying. I know the havoc they can wreak at a mere thirty pounds, so I shudder to think...

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  6. First, and most important, congratulations on the new grandchild. Pictures of infants are always worth sharing. There is something calming about them, that appeals to our better natures, to our instinct to do what is necessary for that helpless little version of us.

    I've written one story that revolved around a serial killer, but it wasn't "about" him. He was just the best way I could find to tell the story I wanted to tell.

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  7. That is a beautiful baby! Funny, I was just thinking about how newborns were usually all squashed looking when they're born, but that's definitely not the case here...

    Elizabeth

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  8. In our family we go for the scalpel so our babies will be photogenic from hour one.

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  9. Robin Williams calls newborns "little old men dipped in 40 weight", but once you rinse 'em off, well. . .babies. There really is something wonderful about them.

    Although, of course, neither of ours was nearly that good looking newly hatched!

    Well, okay, maybe. . .but I admit no prejudice on our part.

    Regarding serial killers, I'm always gently surprised at how many people pooh-pooh the notion of SKs in mysteries as cliched, and then those self-same people gobble them up. A good author can make SKs interesting no matter what.

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