In a very entertaining post over at Murderati today, guest blogger Michelle Gagnon said
Yes, just four books into my career, I’ve already managed to disembowel, strangle, stab, shoot, and otherwise maim (in effigy, of course) every single one of the people who tormented me in junior high school, in addition to a number of poorly-behaved former boyfriends. Hard to believe, I know. And trust me, it speaks volumes about the body count in those first three books. Not a short list.
It got me thinking about killing folks off in my own books and how I choose the victims. In both Ashes and Wine and Til Death I actually have sympathetic victims–women who didn’t deserve to die but just crossed the wrong person at the wrong time. I didn’t base any of them off of anybody I personally know, didn’t name them after anybody I’ve met. I created them and their personalities and habits and traits based on needing them to fit a particular victim profile of my killer, which is its own brand of entertainment for me (yes, I am twisted like that–I got excited because the FBI just released a new report on Serial Murder recently–I’m a geek, sue me). But it’s not the same kind of gratification that Gagnon talks about.
I’ve got a laundry list of folks to whack in a book someday.
- RW, my husband’s psychotic, bipolar, verbally-abusive ex-boss (who I fully expect to someday wind up in one of his kilns–and if no one does it for real, I’m totally doing it in print)
- GS, the egotistical architect who thought he was God’s gift who fired me as office manager because I, as the only woman in the office, refused to clean the toilet. I have very special tortures in mind for him.
- KL, the bitchy little princess who refused to actually work on our group project in 8th grade (to this day, I maintain that group work in school is a BAD IDEA when you stick the smart people who won’t risk anything less than an A [read: me] with the slackers)
- NW, the junior high crush who totally took advantage of my serious puppy love to get copies of my very thorough study guides for every test
- SM, who called me fat in the 4th grade. To be more accurate, he said while we were all waiting in line to be measured and weighed (do they still do that in schools?), “I bet you weigh more than me.” To which my reply was, “Of course I do. I have a brain and you don’t.” Sadly, this remains one of the only instantaneous comebacks I have ever had. Quick wit only happens for me on paper. Normally I shoot up in bed days later in the middle of the night, “I should have said that!”
- Mrs. Lazore, my evil third grade teacher who said I asked a stupid question. [Really, if I am told at the age of 8 that anything will float in the Dead Sea, I don’t see how asking “Even something as big as this building?” is stupid.]
- CL, the suck-up, know-it-all girl who got everything in high school (there were rumors her parents paid people off). Technically she got her comeuppance in college when she gained 40 pounds and got cut from the sorority she wanted, but there’s always a need to kill off someone like that in books.
- AJ, the ex-best friend who consistently rubbed her and her husband’s good fortune in my face during our own financial tough times and impugned my husband in ways that shall not be repeated–yes, you shall be struck down.
I don’t actually have any ex-boyfriends to add to the pot. I broke up on amicable terms with all of them, and the one who totally shattered my heart in college is still a friend. I’m sure if I sat here long enough, I could think of other people, but these are the ones at the top of my list. You’ll noticed that mostly I used initials. I’m torn on the notion of whether or not to use their real names or simply their characters when I kill them off in books. My third grade teacher probably doesn’t remember me or the incident, so I feel safe enough using her name. The rest of them…well some live in the same town I do still, so it seems unwise to use their real names. Hey, I’m southern. We believe in a certain measure of etiquette even when cutting someone off at the knees.
So when am I going to knock these people off? Well now, I don’t entirely know. The vein I’ve been going in hasn’t been a matter of killing off all the bad guys. But I have been toying with the idea of a series at some point (and I’m slowly working on my heroine for that and the overall series plot arc), and I think most of these folks would very neatly fit in with that. So I suppose I’ll save them. In the meantime…
P.S. This fine slogan is available as a tote or T-shirt over at CafePress. I keep meaning to buy the t-shirt…