View Full Version : How do you deal with someone who has killed?

12-12-2006, 12:59 PM
How do you deal with someone who has killed? I'm going to need it for a mindset of my character, whose close friend suddenly confesses he has killed people in an act of revenge. Note these two characters are quite close, and this confession just comes out of the blue, but the close friend has good reason to seek revenge.

Back to real life. How would you react in the same situation? And how do you deal with someone who has killed (considering you're not a police officer or anything)?


12-12-2006, 01:52 PM
I’ll do my best to answer your question.

act of revenge.

Is the first clue.

has good reason to seek revenge.

Is the second clue.

I don’t know if I would want the MC to cut ties with the close friend. I don’t think I would want to allow it go unnoticed either, I may have the MC mention the fact his friend killing someone was not legally, and perhaps morally right.

Yes, I think all that I would do is have the MC just mention it. I wouldn't have ties cut, unless there is more to the story that may surface later.

It’s issues such as this that makes a good story better. For what’s in a story if the MC just cuts ties and runs? That would be boring.

12-12-2006, 05:06 PM
Empathy - I think you would have to bring out numerous factors that would allow the friend (readers) to empathise with the act(s)

Difficult in that most people jump on the "bandwagon" when it comes to murder (unless Dirty Harry is involved; good v evil) but more so probably in the case of a revenge killing because by definition the act is premeditated.

I've actually known quite a few people who have committed murder and will admit that most are just 'one-offs' and that I find easier to empathise with them rather than some greedy little snot that is a re-offending burglar. i.e, the wife that stabbed her husband with an apple corer after taking years of beatings.

Histry Nerd
12-12-2006, 05:51 PM
Hey, Gwendy -

I think it depends on the status of their relationship before the revelation. How close are they? Have they been through hard stuff together? What is their degree of mutual trust? I'm guessing pretty high, if he's willing to share this secret with her. Depending on the circumstances, she may feel some obligation to give him the benefit of the doubt, even if her emotions tell her to run far and fast.

As far as what I think her emotional response might be? In no particular order:
Surprise: "This is not the man I thought I knew."
Shock: "How could he do such a thing?"
Fear: "Could he do it again? To me? To somebody close to me/him/us?"
Empathy: "Poor thing must be distraught over it."
Anger: "What is he thinking, dragging me into his mess?"

Of course, after she gets past the emotional responses, she still has to figure out what to do about it. Does she feel her duty is to turn him in, or protect him? And there are practical considerations, as well: chances are pretty good he'll be looking over his shoulder for a long time. Is she willing to live like that?

Sounds like the dealing with it is a challenge for both of them. Good luck!


12-12-2006, 06:07 PM
Regardless of how justifiable the revenge factor was, unless the killing was in self-defense, I think there'd be an element of visceral distrust that would forever alter the relationship. Even if I decided, intellectually, that the murder should not be a deal-breaker for our relationship, I'm pretty sure that it would creep into just about every thought I had when I was with him/her. I'd never be able to feel truly comfortable or safe with that person ever again.

The revenge issue suggests that the murder was calculated and pre-meditated. The knowledge that my friend had the capacity to rationalize, and then plan and actually carry out a murder is too big a piece of information to set aside. How would you ever know for certain what the tipping point was for that person?

12-12-2006, 07:19 PM
I've known a handful of people who have killed or attempted to kill, or killed/nearly killed someone by accident, etc. How your character reacts to this confession really depends on the character, right? If the character is relatively innocent as far as crime and death are concerned, then he/she is going to react with shock, the degree of which depends on his core moral values. If he is more hard-boiled, he may reflect on things for a minute, wondering if the admission is leading up to something more serious-- i.e., "Hm, I wonder if he intends to kill ME??" (that's usually the first thing I think when someone tells me something like that, in fact!) or if he's going to get dragged into an investigation, etc. Or, whether he believes it or not,he may just laugh it off and order another round of drinks.

I hope this was helpful!

12-13-2006, 05:33 AM
I'll give you a little more details:

Relationship is strong, and it's bordering on love (heterosexual). I am still plotting this, but it is set during tumultous times (I'm thinking WWI, Spanish-American war, somewhere along that era) so killing was really nothing new. It happened every second.