The Stress Made Me Do It

You’ve got a female antagonist who’s going on a killing spree. You’ve figured out who her victims are. You’ve figured out how she’ll kill them. You’ve given her a sufficient motivation for what she does. Now lets dig deeper into what makes up her psyche. I’m taking this information from Sean Mactire’s book Malicious Intent: A Writer’s Guide to How Murderers, Robbers, Rapists, and Other Criminal Think


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“Stress and psychological trauma are the only related factors linked to women and crime,” Mactire says. Women who experience stress are more likely to “burn out” and suffer major psychiatric problems, especially if she’s already suffering from personal traumas like physical abuse or alcohol abuse. In a previous post, I covered some of the characteristics of female killers (intelligent, young, etc). Here’s a more complete list of characteristics of a “typical” female killer:

  • insincere
  • amoral
  • extremely impulsive
  • able to dominate other people with manipulative charisma and superficial charm
  • lacks any form of conscience
  • lacks insight
  • unable to learn from mistakes
  • irresponsible
  • unpredictable
  • volatile
  • flagrant disregard for truth
  • above-average intelligence
  • extremely self-destructive
  • prone to take frequent high risks
  • able to mimic “normal” behavior when necessary
  • always blames others for failure
  • no life goals

Keep in mind that these are common traits, and a real person (aka “believable character”) won’t possess all of them. Pick and choose for your antagonist, and apply liberally, but in spurts. 


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