13 Reasons Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers

Writers really are a strange breed and just so y’all know? The normal ship sailed without you a long time ago so relax. Your family or friends might not ‘get’ you but your fellow writers do.

I love being a writer. It’s a world like no other and it’s interesting how non-writers are simultaneously fascinated and terrified of us. While on the surface, people seem to think that what we do is easy, deep down?

There is a part that knows they’re wrong. That being a writer, a good writer, is a very dark place most fear to tread.

In fact, I believe somewhere at the FBI’s BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit for the non-writers), there’s a caveat for the profilers. If they think they’ve profiled a serial killer, they need to stop and double check to make sure they didn’t just find a writer.

Hint: Check for empty coffee cups and candy wrappers.

Since we are now into October, we shall pause a moment talking about fictional anti-villains and talk us REAL ONES *evil laugh*

Writers, if you are NOT on a government watch list? You’re doing it wrong.

Seriously. I once spent an entire afternoon googling Fort Worth hotels to find the right one with a balcony to toss someone off of. I was like the Goldilocks of Murder.

Nope doesn’t face a street.

Not high enough to be fatal.

Don’t want them landing in a pool.

Apparently ‘normal’ people do not do this, which is why being normal is totally boring and for luzrs 😛 .

So, before friends and family turn you into the FBI, here’s a handy list of ways we writers are often mistaken for serial killers.

#1 Serial Killers Writers Need Alone Time

writers, serial killers, humor, Kristen Lamb

writers, serial killers, humor, Kristen Lamb

Generally, dealing with the public is only for a purpose (like making others think we are normal). To truly recharge and immerse in the art of what we do, we need to pull back and simply ‘get away.’

Many writers can be found in basements, dark corners of libraries, hiding in a blanket fort with Netflix streaming in the background or lurking behind a desk surrounded by illegal bear traps.

#2 Serial Killers Writers Often Hold Down a ‘Normal’ Job

writers, serial killers, humor, Kristen Lamb

writers, serial killers, humor, Kristen Lamb

Many writers are also teachers, lawyers, doctors, librarians, engineers (or likely married to an engineer—What is WITH that?).

We are often friendly, polite and on-time and hold down gainful employment. This is what makes writers SO terrifying.

Odds are, you probably work with one.

Might even be married to one.

If you don’t work with one, are not married to one, or related to one?


#3 Serial Killers Writers Can Look Just like YOU

When our book comes out, neighbors will say, ‘But they seemed so nice and normal. Really polite. Always thought something was off, but writing? Really? Who can ever know these things?’

#4 Serial Killers Writers Understand Law Enforcement

And probably dated it…

 ….until they married an engineer.

When planning any murder or series of murders, we have to know our enemy. The cops. What are ways we can confuse them?

Can we kill in multiple jurisdictions knowing the law agencies will never properly communicate and thus we can kill as many people as our plot requires? Is it possible to run the police down a rabbit hole of distraction?

Could we evade them altogether? Get rid of ALL the evidence?

#5 Serial Killers Writers Use Terms Like T.O.D.

writers, serial killers, Kristen Lamb, humor

writers, serial killers, Kristen Lamb, humor

Throw T.O.D. around a writers’ group and no problemo. But using this term at Thanksgiving with the family? Meh.

We writers know the best time of year to kill and dump the body and which season a shallow grave is an acceptable option. No writer ever sees just a freezer. Or just a car trunk. 

Trust me, we are thinking how many people we can fit in that sucker and if we’ll have to saw apart the body first.

#6 Serial Killers Writers Hear Voices That Tell Them Who to Kill

writer, writers, Kristen Lamb, humor, serial killers

writer, writers, Kristen Lamb, humor, serial killers

And often talk to those voices. We might be driving to Costco when ‘The Voice’ (a.k.a. ‘The Muse’) visits and tells us that we really shouldn’t kill that @$$hat who stood us up for prom.

No, that guy who bailed on his ONE part of the group project, and we got a B instead of an A+? That guy.

Then, so enraptured with talking to The Voice, we find we missed the last fifty exits and have to hope there’s a Costco in the neighboring state.

#7 Serial Killers Writers Choose Victims Carefully

writer, copy writer

writer, copy writer

These look like winners…

Generally our victims will include anyone who picked on us for playing too much Dungeons & Dragons (no such thing), broke up with us via text message, or told us reading was boring.

Victims can also include former professors who always assigned group projects, anyone who was IN our group for a group project, the person who invented group projects…or anyone who’s in charge at Comcast or AT&T.

#8 Serial Killers Writers Plan Their Kills Methodically

writer, writers, humor, serial killers, Kristen Lamb

writer, writers, humor, serial killers, Kristen Lamb

Sure you might get the fantasy or sci-fi author who just wipes out a bunch of villages or blows up a planet, but that’s a different profile. Mass murderer/spree killer is so unimaginative.

For the rest of us? No, we think our kills out. We can’t just kill anyone lest we be left with a pacing and plot problem.

Duh. This isn’t amateur hour.

#9 Serial Killers Writers Have a Timeline for Their Kills

Sure the body count will rise, but during revisions? We just go back and spend quality time with the souvenirs we took off our victims. We might even take breaks between books because we can’t murder characters without a plan.


#10 Serial Killers Writers are Narcissists 

writer, Hannibal Lecter, meme

writer, Hannibal Lecter, meme

Seriously, we have to be. Who else can write hundreds of thousands of words just knowing the world will love every bit of what we put down? And PAY MONEY to consume it? Narcissists have a God-complex but unlike serial killers who pretend to be God?

We writers actually ARE GOD—muah ha ha ha ha ha *coughs*.

Moving on…

#11 Serial Killers Writers Take People Apart

writers, writers mistaken for serial killers

writers, writers mistaken for serial killers

Image via Creepy Freaky House of Horror (Facebook)

We crawl in your head, but don’t get too freaked out. We crawl in everyone’s head. We think like you. We become you. 

Okay so when ACTORS do this it is OKAY and all AVANTE GARDE, but a writer does this and it’s creepy? Hypocritical much?

We need to know how people think, what makes them tick, what sets them off. What are the right pain points and speaking of pain…

#12 Serial Killers Writers Are Also Sadists

Excellent fiction is the path of greatest resistance which means good writers are all about exacting pain. Doling it out bit by bit. Upping the heat and making that victim and all who love him squirm, then panic, then question the very meaning of their existence.

We push our victims until just before that spark of hope in their eyes extinguishes completely…..

And then we give them a bone and rescue them so there. We aren’t completely heartless. Sheesh, these people are imaginary. 

Why so freaked out? Seriously, chillax.

#13 Serial Killers Writers Struggle with Addiction/Compulsion

writers, Kristen Lamb, humor

writers, Kristen Lamb, humor

Drugs and alcohol? Maybe. Sugar and caffeine? Highly likely. Carbs? DEFINITELY. Books and cute bookmarks we never use because we lost them and so have to use the receipt from purchasing the freaking bookmark as a bookmark? Absolutely.

Female serial killers writers can often be spotted wandering around a craft store talking to the yarn or contemplating learning to make their own jewelry. Males?

Computer stores.

Angels and Devils

Yeah, yeah writers could be mistaken for serial killers but in the end, everything we do is for the ultimate good. We actually have to write in mistakes lest our villain remain free and that is bad fiction.

Speaking of which, have you ever created a villain so good you had to go BACK and write in some oopses? Like, ‘Wow, this guy’s good. Nope, they’d never catch him. Ah $#%&.’

Also, our lowly protagonist can never rise to become a hero without overwhelming opposition.

Okay, so some of you by now are either laughing and nodding…or you’re dialing an FBI hotline ready to link them to my blog. Fine, when they haul me away in cuffs, trust me I am making mental notes so when I write a similar scene? I know how cuffs FEEL.

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever had strangers overhear you talking about how to kill someone and you had to stop and say, ‘It’s okay. I’m a writer.’

Do you love Discovery ID just a bit more than is probably healthy? Do you yell at ‘Forensic Files’ the way grown men yell at football? Do you freak out friends and family because autopsies make you giddy? Are you more than a little weirded out that we all seemed to marry engineers?

Food for thought…


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Kristen Lamb

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Kristen Lamb