author, creative writing, writing

Novel Writing: The Perfect Murder Spot

Morning story tellers!

Now, there’s a gory title for a Sunday morning blog post! There’s a reason we writers worry about what others would make of our search history. The amount of research we have to do into the things we may not understand or have never experienced, is huge.

When I began planning my novel just over two years ago I knew that it would open with an innocent passer by finding a body in a London park. I settled on Battersea Park, even though I’d never actually been there, only in the area. So with that, I booked a coach and told my Mum, “I’m off to London to find the perfect murder spot.” Wooops! That didn’t sound quite right…

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So, while it may be a bit morbid, I believe it’s essential, when writing a murder, that the location is properly considered and researched. It’s so important and can show the reader a lot about the murderer and the victim. If you’re going to be writing at any point from the perspective of the police, an investigator or anyone trying to solve the case, the murder scene will be their first major clue.

If you’re writing a novel and wondering how to choose the perfect murder spot, here are four things to consider.

1. Who could’ve seen?
This is perhaps more important if the murder takes place in a public space, but you never know! Who could’ve seen the murder? Is there anywhere a witness could’ve seen what happened, while hidden from the murderer? And if anyone did see, then who are they and how do they play a role in the story?

2. Who could’ve heard?
This one plays out quite well, as hearing a murder doesn’t restrict it to somewhere in the public eye. Think about who may have heard anything, from the attack itself, to arguing or shouting. You have to create a sense of the lives that exist outside of the immediate drama and how those lives interact with the bigger picture.

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3. Has the body been moved?
This one is pretty grim, but still important. The place the body is found may not be the murder spot, and in this case both locations are valuable to the story. If the body was moved, why was it moved? and by who? Perhaps it hasn’t been moved, but has been covered over or hidden.

4. Who finds the body?
The location of your murder spot plays a vital role in when and how the body will actually be discovered. In my novel, as an example, the body is in a very public and busy park so it’s found almost straight away. However, more remote or private locations may take longer to be uncovered. The impact the discovery has on the ‘who’, on the person who finds it, is usually very important for the story.


I hope these tips will help if you to need to find your perfect murder spot. These choices really do have an impact.

Is there murder in your story? Or do you think you ever will write one? I’d love to hear more about anyone’s experience with this disturbing, but impacting, topic, so please leave a comment below.

Until then,
Keep writing
M
x

 

15 thoughts on “Novel Writing: The Perfect Murder Spot”

  1. There is some murder in my novel, but, its more of a way of life for all my characters at the moment πŸ˜‚ But I would love to write a murder mystery one day, but I definitely need to read a few more books!
    I think it can be quiet hard to represent the police force in books, especially as all we usually see on tv is the dramatical versions of it! But some books really do seem to get it spot on! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post! In my mystery series I’ve had bodies discovered in a popular fishing spot (my sleuth snagged the body, thinking he had the “big one” on his line); in the sand dunes behind the victim’s beach house; in the business trailer at a construction site for an upscale beach development; inside a supposedly haunted house, and at the foot of a supposedly haunted lighthouse–plus a few others. You’ve stirred my murderous imagination, for which I’m grateful! πŸ™‚
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All good points to consider. While what we see on tv/in movies is dramatized, more recently they have tried (sometimes) to be more believable, and watching things like NCIS, you see how bodies are hidden from view and discovered by a jogger, or some such thing. But, as you say, the whole story wraps around that spot as the starting point. Why was the victim there? Were they killed there or brought there after the fact? And so forth. The proper setup of murder location can add detail to a story just by its nature. I’m not sure most of us really consider that going in (well, I don’t, but maybe mystery writers do).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! I have a really good book about police procedure in the UK, which is written purposely for crime writers, so that we can get the facts right. It’s amazingly useful! You’re completely right about the ‘starting point’. In my novel, trying to work out why the victim was there is one of the central plot points, as it reveals the biggest twist at the end. Location is so important! πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. You had me at β€œPerfect Murder Spot” 😊. I love murder mysteries but haven’t (yet) attempted to write one. At least I know what questions to think of if I ever do! Can’t wait to read your book, it intrigues me more and more every time you mention it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I am excited for yours too πŸ™‚ I’m hoping as I get further along with my editing I can start to release more info, such as titles etc…
      But I shall, in the mean time, eagerly await your series πŸ˜€ Hope all is going well x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am currently doing this a s a writing exercise. I am an author and have recently e-published my first novel ‘The Hartnetts’. I have come up with the opening for the story and started doing this as a writing exercise which I intend to go back to and maybe write a novel around it. I have written the first two pages and I am now trying to work out what the rest of it could be or the rest of the story for that matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a wonderful post. I’ve been writing a long time, but generally don’t do murder plots (despite many people dying in my books lol). However, I’m heavily considering one, and this information is invaluable. Re-blogged and I hope many more people get as much out of it as I did!

    Liked by 1 person

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