Click the image to explore the Disaster Crimes series.



This site uses affiliate links for, an online marketplace that supports independent bookstores. Chrys Fey will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

September 03, 2013

Writing About: Murder

I've already told you how to write about a crime scene, but now I’m going to tell you how to write about murder, whether your readers know who the suspect is or not.

The best method of writing about a murder is from the suspect’s perspective. To do this, you have to get into your antagonist's head, and know everything that he/she is going to do. Why does he/she want to kill the victim? In other words, give your suspect a motive! And take your readers through the act from the beginning, from the moment the killer breaks into the house, ambushes the victim, or kidnaps them.

What does the killer do? Does he/she tie down the victim to prologue their agony, or sneak into their room while are sleeping to kill them in bed? How does the killer do it? You can make it quick with a single gunshot or slow with torture.

Before you begin writing, you will have to decide on the type of murder and work out all the details such as where it happens (this will later turn into the crime scene), what weapons are used, and what the killer does with the body afterward.

Photo by Chrys Fey
Walk your readers through every slash, every bullet, every scream, and every drop of blood. Reveal everything the killer does and all of his/her thoughts while they are doing it. Include the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Murder has them all . . . well if cannibalism is involved anyway, in which case I can’t help you. Go talk to Thomas Harris!

Writing from the killer’s perspective is definitely ballsy because to be effective, you will have to get into a criminal’s mind. To write such a horrible act that readers can visualize and cringe at in disgust and fear requires going into a very dark place. Maybe that’s why they say writers are crazy? Hmm . . .

The other method is trickier, which is to write from the victim’s perspective, from the moment they realize they are in danger. You will have to share their fear about the situation (even if it’s just a split second before a gun goes off), their thoughts, and the pain they feel from everything the killer does. You will also have to write about the moment when their life slips away.

Writing about murder definitely isn’t easy, but it is possible and it will make the suspense in your story soar!

SHARE: Your tips for writing about murder.

After writing about a murder you might have to write about a crime scene: Writing About: A Crime Scene


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Writers are the only people who get to have a "Ways to Die" folder, and everyone thinks they are sane! :)

Chrys Fey said...

LOL!! That is very true, Karen. If our moments of insanity stay in our writing then no harm done. ;)

Unknown said...

"Writers are the only people who get to have a 'Ways to Die' folder, and everyone thinks they are sane!" Ha! This is a great post, Chrys. It does seem odd, having to think about this (I know that non writers think we're just plain loopy) but it's true; if you're going to write about it go hard or go home. I dealt with this in my first novel and I thought I would have a hard time writing from the killer's perspective. Not so! He was actually the most intriguing to write because I got to show his perspective; why he felt compelled to kill. For me, no matter the method, the killer's motivation is key. Even if he/she may be completely mad, they need to feel justified in what they're doing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I haven't killed anyone that way yet, so can't offer any tips. From either perspective it would be challenging.

Chrys Fey said...

"...if you're going to write about it go hard or go home." I couldn't agree more, Quanie! And motive is always important! :)

I also find it easy to write in the killer's (or antagonist's) perspective. I wonder what that says about us. LOL!

Chrys Fey said...

You're definitely right about that, Alex. Either way writing about a murder is challenging because you have to give a lot of detail to make it as real as possible.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I have definitely written characters who kill other characters. One of my upcoming books is about a girl who has to kill in order to live. It was intense to write.

Great tips!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Kelly! Your book does sound intense; another one I'd like to read. :)

Unknown said...

I haven't dealt with this yet, but I would like to think that I might want to tackle the murder from the victim's perspective. That just seems really interesting; hard but doable.
I agree with Quanie; if you are going to write a murder seen from the antagonist's point of view, "go hard or go home!" I can't really imagine writing something like this but if I had to for the sake of making my novel more suspenseful and intense, I guess I would! Great post, Chrys!

Chrys Fey said...

I've written from the killer's perspective a lot, but I haven't written from the victim's perspective yet. However, I plan to do just that with a short story I started recently about a ghost, and it is in first person, so I will tell you how it goes. ;)


Unknown said...

I love your post! I am a new writer who loves to kill characters (a lot) through different causes: accidents, murder, and torture. And your post is just perfect for me because I know i need to learn more, for me to write a much convincing story.

And if you have time, please visit my blog and tell me what you think about my recent post: Killing 101

It's just my opinion on how to kill characters through accidents.

Thank you :) - #RememberanInspiringOcean

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! I hope it helped. :) I have also written about how kidnapping and torture. You can find those links here:

I will definitely check our your post. Thanks for stopping by! :)