Canadians Make Lousy Serial Killers*

This really is about as clichéd as they come, and Lord knows every writer has a story about a writer who dances the razor’s edge of realism/insanity.

This story is proof that you can have a decent idea, but if the execution is sloppy and the theme doesn’t connect with a story, or the story doesn’t have much more of a conflict than “I think I’m a serial killer, so watch this”, it’s simply not a believable or compelling story.

A few take-aways from this:

  • Never assume your audience is stupid.
  • Never take your audience for granted.
  • As a creative, you offer a suspension of disbelief to your audience. Writing what you know doesn’t mean bashing someone’s head in so you can write a believable scene.

If you think you need to murder someone to be an effective serial killer remember this:

  • It takes more than one murder to make a serial killer.
  • If you need that kind of tangible evidence to write a scene, maybe you’re not as creative as you thought.
  • If your impulse to murder someone is so you can become a serial killer, you’re not a serial killer, just a murderer.

Here now for your afternoon reading pleasure is the tale of budding filmmaker and convicted murderer, Mark Twitchell. He had the perfect set up, the perfect lure, and he may have gotten away with it – except he took his audience for granted. He assumed his prey wouldn’t take precautions (like letting friends know before heading out on blind dates), he assumed the cops were like TV cops – willing to overlook evidence for the sake of plot, and he assumed he was smarter than the professionals.

Was “Dexter” fanatic’s diary a screenplay or murder confession?

(CBS) EDMONTON, Alberta — Lured to a garage on the pretense of a date with an attractive woman named “Sheena” he thought he met online, 33-year-old Gilles Tetreault was now being held hostage by an apparent madman in a scene straight out of a horror film.

[snip]

Embarrassed and confused, Tetreault convinced himself that perhaps it wasn’t as serious as he first thought.

“I really thought it was a mugging at the time,” he said.

But Tetreault didn’t know how wrong he was. Just one week later, Johnny Altinger, another lonely bachelor, would answer a similar dating ad… and disappear.

{More at the CBS.com}

*Yes, I know there are Canadian serial killers, and prolific ones, but not in this case.