If you have read my blog posts before, you know I spend a lot of time making my stories feel real and accurate. It is why I have such a large beta reader team. I don’t want my books to be full of technical errors or too much jargon to be an enjoyable read.
A friend asked me once, why do you have your antagonists kill the way they do? Do you really need that much violence, blood, or sex crimes? The simple answer is, no, I don’t have to do that. But I do it because I don’t want my characters to be shallow cardboard cutouts.
I do it because I don’t want my characters to be shallow cardboard cutouts."
Also, I do it to provide depth to my victims. It would be easy to reach into the victim closet and pull one out to have the killer finish off. But that’s not the reality of these crimes. I want my readers to empathize with the victim. To understand the victim has feelings and is more than just someone in the story to suffer and die.
Another underlying theme I want to bring forward is our main protagonist’s reactions to the horror they see as a result of their jobs. Obviously, murder is horrifying for the victims, but it also is for the public safety professionals that deal with the aftermath.
Returning to the theme of why my characters are so bad, part of the reason is that the people I model them from are even more evil. I have mentioned that I read a lot of true crime. This is part of how I strive for realism. My characters are composites of real killers. I choose not to copy one person completely but to build my own specific character from pieces of others.
Some of these books are very graphic. I work to give my readers a believable story that provides just the right amount of detail. I also understand that no one person is alike, and their tolerance is never the same. My goal is to develop just the right amount of fear but not so much to be gratuitous.
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