Yes this week I want to discuss murder in fiction. Not just death or war, but murder. It can be the ultimate betrayal, a random occurrence, or a tragic accident. It's as romantic or dispassionate as you wish to make it. This blog post isn't about the why of things, but more about the what and where. What are the police going to see? What So let's toss the Legos out across the living room floor and build a murder scene!
The Murder WeaponNo murder scene is complete without a murder weapon even though it might not be at the actual crime scene. The weapon determines the look of the scene. Knives, swords, rapiers, katanas and other bladed weapons mean blood. Glorious blood. Short blades mean there is some blow back. Blood on the killer or their clothing. A long precise blade like a katana would splatter blood across the wall in a line consistent with the path of the blade swipe. A strong sword edge like a bastard sword would have characteristics of a blunt force weapon like a hammer or the base of a Belly Dancing Contest Participant Trophy.
Other than blood, what else could be left behind on the weapon? What kind of marks would it leave behind? Rope marks on a neck with bruising, fibers, fingerprints, smudges of DNA (saliva, skin, boogies). Is the weapon easily hidden? Most murderers will try to hide or destroy the weapon. Burnt fragments might be found in the fireplace or it could have been dumped in a nearby river.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to a murder scene in regards to the weapon used. Murder weapons are as numerous as your imagination can conjure. Smoking guns, blades, poison, and so on. I used a stuffed unicorn doll as a weapon in one of my stories. One of the things I always ask is, "how does it effect the crime scene?" Does the victim fall spurting blood? Do they stumble around knocking things over? Do they put up a fight?
The Crime SceneThe scene of the crime tells a story to those who are looking for one. Sometimes the story is that someone tried to clean up their mess after the fact. They never seem to do good enough of a job when needed by the writer. While there may always be clues in the crime scene, they are not always obvious. What are the Police going to see there? A hole in the wall may lead to a bullet. Chips in the plaster could be from a sword or another blunt object.
There are many other stories that the scene can tell. The books on the shelf gives background on the kind of person who lives there, what their interests are. The pictures on the wall shows what their family looks like. Which ones are important to the story you are trying to tell? A broken lock on the front door could be from the killer breaking in or perhaps a jealous lover? How can you tell the difference? Was one wearing a tutu? Perhaps they are one in the same person. Do they leave boot prints on the tiled floor or dirt stains on the carpet? How do the heroes find the villain that did this crime?