Sean Mactire’s book, Malicious Intent: A Writer’s Guide to How Murderers, Robbers, Rapists, and Other Criminal Think, contains information helpful for authors trying to create believable antagonists. In the last couple of posts, I covered questions 1- 3 from the FBI’s profile matrix. Today I’ll cover the last three questions.
A. Where did the crime occur? In a private home? An executive’s office? The cold streets of the city? A corn field?
B. Where was the body or victim (if still alive) found? Was the body found at the kill site, or did the killer move the vic?
C. Was the victim abducted from another place, and if so, where did the abduction occur? If your killer targets teen runaways, he’s unlikely to be hunting for them in rural neighborhoods.
Most of these questions will be answered by the setting of your book, but there could be some variations.
A. How was the crime committed? From a distance? With bare hands, face-to-face? From behind?
B. Was the crime method specific, or does the method vary? Does your killer learn with each act he commits, and therefore he changes his methods? Or does he figure he’s got something that works, so he sticks with it?
C. Was there anything unusual about the methods?
A. Does the crime appear to be sexual in nature?
B. Does the crime appear to be profit motivated?
C. Does the crime appear to be spontaneous?
D. Does the crime appear to be planned?
Hopefully, these questions can help you. The more you know about your antagonist, the more realistic you can make him on the pages of your novel.