Character Study – The Female Killer

This may not come as a surprise if you read my blog, but I find women who commit crime…interesting.  Much more interesting than their male counterparts.   I don’t idolize these women at all.  I have compassion for their victims.  I’m thankful that they are behind bars where they can’t hurt anyone else.  But learning about the ways in which these women go about planning their crimes, and using those details to create a fictional character, can be quite consuming.

Women never stop thinking.  Even when we’re sleeping.  I’ve woken up from a dream and jotted down an idea for a story or novel on the pad next to my bed.  So many times, I’ve been sitting in the car with my husband, gazing out the window, daydreaming, planning stories, thinking about my family, books I want to read, books I’ve already read, my dreams for the future, regrets of the past, and inevitably, he’ll ask me, “What are you thinking?”  I’ll sigh and say, oh just wondering how my mom is doing, which is true, but just a drop in the bucket.   It’s what makes us so amazing, but also can make us dangerous, depending on how we choose to use our talents.

I’m a bit of a true crime junkie, and no matter how many crime documentaries I watch, the ones about female killers always surprise me.  The mom who calls a hit man to plan a romantic rival’s murder while she’s watching her son’s Little League game, the housewife who serves her husband dinner with a sparkling smile, knowing she stirred antifreeze into his mashed potatoes.  The teenage mean girl who aces her algebra test before violently ambushing a frenemy in the school parking lot.  The mom who goes downstairs and routinely prepares breakfast for her children, knowing her husband is upstairs with a bullet in his chest, secretly planning her manufactured screams and frantic 911 call when she “discovers” the body.

But, statistically speaking, women are much less likely to murder than men.  The rarity of female killers seems to explain the public’s fascination with them.  Mass killers tend to be overwhelmingly male.  And in 2011, 90.5% of ALL murders were committed by males.  So, likely there’s no need to send those mashed potatoes your wife just put down in front of you to a lab to be tested, or wonder if the woman seated next to you at your child’s baseball game is really on the phone with a hit man.  She’s probably just talking to a friend, or a work colleague, getting a few work calls out of the way while she has a moment to sit down away from the husband and kids.  Or is she?

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6 thoughts on “Character Study – The Female Killer

  1. I’ve always been really interested in female killers too; particularly female serial killers. I’ve thought about writing a character like that before, but never actually comitted to it. Still, anything related to true crime or abnormal pyschology is a blast to study–if not slightly troubling.

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