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Manon
12-02-2012, 06:22 PM
Hello!

I thought I'd share my knowledge here. I've a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology (so that's focused mostly on mental diseases and such) and I'm currently graduating in global criminology. About the criminology: that has nothing to do whatsoever with forensics, I've knowledge about all sorts of illicit flows, transnational and global crime, and particularly partaining to the theoretical (criminological theories - may sound boring but if you would read a book such as "Criminology Goes To The Movies" you would see how much of crime in stories is actually heavily inspired by criminological theory, whether or not consciously).

So if you've ever any questions... I'd be glad to answer them. :)

L.C. Blackwell
12-03-2012, 12:01 PM
Thanks for letting us know!

Most of this wouldn't be my writing field, but I imagine there are plenty of people here who will be glad to take up your offer. :)

Manon
12-03-2012, 08:17 PM
You're welcome :D

mreilly19
12-03-2012, 09:03 PM
Hi Manon-thanks for the offer and welcome to the board. I'd love ask a couple of questions about a book I'm writing if that's OK with you.

I am amidst a crime novel with a bad guy who is a former cop turned private eye. He gets disillusioned by having had to bust his butt on the streets and still see bad guys getting away due to technicalities/do-gooder judges, etc. He's been shot in the line of duty and received some medal which everyone then forgot about a month later. He's also been spurned by people he's tried to help, and thus develops a negative view of humanity. This disenchantment leads him to the point where he decides to set up a scheme to rip off 2 million bucks from my protagonist. His attitude is the protagonist is a rich kid who doesn't need the money, and he (the bad guy) will take it and go retire someplace cheap. He doesn't intend to kill anyone; he is something of a sympathetic bad guy in that regard.

All this sounds somewhat stereotypical so I'd like to flesh his mindset out a bit more to make it realistic. I'm interested in developing his background further. I have him raised by a single mother - who's actually kind, stable and decent as a change of pace from the twisted overbearing Mom usually depicted in these stories - who tells him growing up that "service to others is the noblest calling in life". This makes him bitter when he reflects on the fact his attempts to service others have resulted in him being shot in the line of duty, cursed at, reviled, etc. As a private eye he's had to dig through dumpsters and take crappy cases which leads him to want to get out of the life - and the country - for good.

Any tips on how I can develop this guy's back story to make his transition from well-meaning rookie cop ---> cynical private eye willing to kidnap someone and compel them to transfer 2 million to an overseas bank account?

Thanks!


Hello!

I thought I'd share my knowledge here. I've a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology (so that's focused mostly on mental diseases and such) and I'm currently graduating in global criminology. About the criminology: that has nothing to do whatsoever with forensics, I've knowledge about all sorts of illicit flows, transnational and global crime, and particularly partaining to the theoretical (criminological theories - may sound boring but if you would read a book such as "Criminology Goes To The Movies" you would see how much of crime in stories is actually heavily inspired by criminological theory, whether or not consciously).

So if you've ever any questions... I'd be glad to answer them. :)

Manon
12-04-2012, 01:31 AM
Interesting! I'm just going to throw some stuff at you here, dunno if this is what you're looking for but I hope I may just inspire you a little.

Let me see - I miss a love person/interest. Does he have a wife/gf//ex/children? Maybe he's gay and he's met a lot of trouble with that in his life especially from other cops?

Also, how did he grow up? Was he poor? Did he always strive for the "American Dream" and is he disappointed by that in reality, too - that is actually based on the criminological strain theory (or the anomie theory) which suggests that people generally turn to crime because they can't meet the standards of western society.
Has he made the choice rationally to commit this crime or did he make this decision emotionally (is he feeling-driven or ratio-driven?)
What was his father like? Perhaps it would be interesting to suggest that his father was a criminal as well and that he abandoned him and his mom, and that that's the reason why he became a cop in the first place to beat bad guys like his dad, but instead it seems like he can't escape the biological aptitude for crime (biological theory of crime)? This could also be linked to the labeling theory - perhaps people in his (childhood) surroundings have always "labeled" him as a possible criminal, and although he's tried to get rid of that label, but instead, unconsciously, he cannot escape the label?
Perhaps he also has some prior knowledge on how to actually commit a crime like that through what he's seen in his work, so he has learned it, perhaps you can also make him interact with other criminals to learn about the "modus operandi" (through "social learning") ?


Also, just something I noted - what you suggest about him saying the kid doesn't need the money anyway so that's why he steals the money really falls into the "rationalization theory", people generally rationalize their crimes like that, so that's really interesting.

Is he okay mentally? It could be interesting to give him some hints of an anti-social personality disorder for instance, or perhaps something like persecutory delusions (so that he's extremely paranoid?), or maybe a schizoid personality disorder or just traits of it?

Look up all the terms you don't know, wikipedia usually offers great, short explanations :D

Hope that is of some help! All the best and good luck, if you have any questions at all don't hesitate to shoot me a pm or just reply here ^^

mreilly19
12-04-2012, 08:05 AM
This is gold, thanks. I'd kept the detective's back story minimal so I could figure out the character myself, so hadn't factored in a love interest or father figure yet. I would say based on how I "know" him (in that interesting sense in which we build characters that are real to us) that he had a wife once but they drifted apart, further alienating him. She didn't appreciate his dedication to law enforcement, thereby driving one more nail into the coffin of his mindset of "what good is it, trying to help others?"

As for a father figure I can completely see his Dad being a criminal (or at least a failure) and for him to reject that life early on, then find himself drawn back to it or forced to admit he's the same way. He did grow up fairly poor and also subscribed to the mantra that hard work was all that was needed to become successful, and this warps in his mind to "hard work ripping off a rich kid = well earned rewards" which is why he basically sets the scene over several weeks.

As for prior knowledge, you hit the nail on the head - in trying to execute this crime he attempts to frame the girlfriend of the protagonist for it using his knowledge of how wire transfers work. She was accused of a wire transfer fraud which he investigated as a PI, so he tries to use the details he uncovered to deploy the same tactic to incriminate her. She's outsmarted him in the past and so he wants to "best" her in a sort of competition. He is a bit mentally unstable and has made poor choices, not thinking some of them through (which is how I justify some of the otherwise deranged notions he gets whereas his other ideas are sound).

I appreciate the feedback!


Interesting! I'm just going to throw some stuff at you here, dunno if this is what you're looking for but I hope I may just inspire you a little.

Let me see - I miss a love person/interest. Does he have a wife/gf//ex/children? Maybe he's gay and he's met a lot of trouble with that in his life especially from other cops?

Also, how did he grow up? Was he poor? Did he always strive for the "American Dream" and is he disappointed by that in reality, too - that is actually based on the criminological strain theory (or the anomie theory) which suggests that people generally turn to crime because they can't meet the standards of western society.
Has he made the choice rationally to commit this crime or did he make this decision emotionally (is he feeling-driven or ratio-driven?)
What was his father like? Perhaps it would be interesting to suggest that his father was a criminal as well and that he abandoned him and his mom, and that that's the reason why he became a cop in the first place to beat bad guys like his dad, but instead it seems like he can't escape the biological aptitude for crime (biological theory of crime)? This could also be linked to the labeling theory - perhaps people in his (childhood) surroundings have always "labeled" him as a possible criminal, and although he's tried to get rid of that label, but instead, unconsciously, he cannot escape the label?
Perhaps he also has some prior knowledge on how to actually commit a crime like that through what he's seen in his work, so he has learned it, perhaps you can also make him interact with other criminals to learn about the "modus operandi" (through "social learning") ?


Also, just something I noted - what you suggest about him saying the kid doesn't need the money anyway so that's why he steals the money really falls into the "rationalization theory", people generally rationalize their crimes like that, so that's really interesting.

Is he okay mentally? It could be interesting to give him some hints of an anti-social personality disorder for instance, or perhaps something like persecutory delusions (so that he's extremely paranoid?), or maybe a schizoid personality disorder or just traits of it?

Look up all the terms you don't know, wikipedia usually offers great, short explanations :D

Hope that is of some help! All the best and good luck, if you have any questions at all don't hesitate to shoot me a pm or just reply here ^^

Cath
12-04-2012, 02:28 PM
Just so that it's something other members can search for if they have a similar questions, I'm going to asks that questions are posted in their own threads and am closing this thread.

Manon, thanks for your kind offer to share your expertise. I am sure plenty of threads can benefit from your input.