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

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

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

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

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
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

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

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
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

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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Generally, a pro can spot all your weaknesses (and strengths) in twenty pages, but what do we see? Why is the story starting out strong only to fizzle and fall apart? I will tell you for $2.75 a page (or $1.83 a page if you sign up early).

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Skip to comment form

    • Cheryl on October 6, 2023 at 2:35 pm
    • Reply

    You are too much fun 🙂

    But don’t stop.

    1. I don’t think I could if I TRIED, LOL. Thank you!

    • Maria D'Marco on October 6, 2023 at 2:44 pm
    • Reply

    What does it mean if I’m a writer…AND… an INFP personality? Not only am I part of the 4% of the population who test out to this personality trait (which means particular weirdness), but I am an old crone writer and part of the Boomer generation — and I still get ridiculously torqued off over politics and genuinely stupid people.

    Thank goodness for you and your blog — besides always teaching me something new (applied to my writing and my editing work), you also validate that weird is okay, even ‘normal’, for writers. ahhhhhhhhh Big grin.

    1. I test border of ENFP and INFP so I get you. Have you heard of the Dark Triad? I think we might be the Psychotic Parallelogram?

        • Harshi S on October 9, 2023 at 9:45 am
        • Reply

        Which types are in the psychotic parallelogram? Is it all the XNXPs or XNFXs?

    • Roger Nay on October 6, 2023 at 3:52 pm
    • Reply

    Hmm, you made me wonder about my internet searches. I’ve been investigated for a military clearance as well as bonded and fingerprinted. Maybe I should avoid searches for altering fingerprints. What’s your word count for 30 pages?

    1. 7500 words. If you go a little over, no biggie just don’t get crazy. I can always stop reading. Would love to see your work again!

  1. A fantastic and funny post. I love the cartoons!
    And thank you for giving me permission to be weird.
    I’m not married to an engineer, but to a scientist, which isn’t much different.

    • angobro on October 6, 2023 at 4:12 pm
    • Reply

    I wish you’d run an informal chat group.

    Wouldn’t it be fun? Like in your spare (hahaha) time?

    Please count me in if you ever want to test it out.

  2. I loved your article Kristen (always do!) and SO wanted to take advantage of your Write Stuff Special, but I only use Paypal for business payments and that isn’t an available option. 🙁

    1. Check your email. You can also PayPal me at kristen at wana intl dot com. Just let me know so I mark your slot. They are almost gone. I am looking forward to reading your work.

  3. Love this! May I link to this from my blog?

    1. YES!!! I normally run a contest that I have at the bottom. When you comment and link back you get double entries for a free page edit from me. LINK and SHARE AWAY! And thank you!

  4. Okay, so I’ve not yet written a novel that included killing characters…but if I do someday, I will certainly take this into consideration. Thanks for the laughs and, um, inspiration! 🙂

    P.S. First time commenting, have gotten and enjoyed your posts via email forever (well, maybe not quite that long). Figured after the Linkedin commenting adventure, the least I could do is come and say hello, and tell you how much I appreciate your commitment to keeping us writers on top of our game. Have a great weekend!

  5. Thanks for the smiles! Your comparisons are spot on (wink).

    • Maria D'Marco on October 6, 2023 at 7:34 pm
    • Reply

    good lord! You made me snork laugh! A fit of sneezing followed…. obviously, Psychotic Parallelogram needs to be on a t-shirt!!!! No one would understand and I would be delighted in that fact.

  6. Ha! Ha! Love this and thanks for the grins!

    • Harshi S on October 6, 2023 at 8:35 pm
    • Reply

    I love all your articles and I think reading them made me a better writer and reader/consumer of fiction (and nonfiction) with dialogue. I would like some advice on how to take notes on books I read and media I consume to learn more about writing before I start writing. Also, is it good to read books primarily from the genre(s) one is interested in writing in to learn those specific techniques after learning general writing skills?

    1. As far as taking notes? That is an individual preference. As to which genres to read and how to improve your skills? That is an excellent question and how about I do that next blog post?

        • Harshi S on October 9, 2023 at 9:12 pm
        • Reply

        I’m excited to read your next blog post.

    • Harshi S on October 6, 2023 at 8:42 pm
    • Reply

    Also I’m an ENTP and love world building. I looked at both letter typing and cognitive functions for MBTI and both tend towards ENTP/NeTi, but in socionics I’ve been typed or suggested towards IEI, ILI, LII, ILE, and EIE.

    • morgynstarz on October 6, 2023 at 9:53 pm
    • Reply

    She’s back!!!!! Typing with tears in my lashes.

  7. Kristen, is this geared to opening chapters or will you do deep edits on select chapters and short stories. My “first” chapter is the third or fourth chapter. I’m more interested in your critique and advice. I will sign up today and if for some reason you don’t fill all ten slots by October 14, I’ll buy a second slot.

    1. You can pick any part of the work you want and I’d LOVE a short story. I write them, myself. It’s just usually most people are concerned with the opening. Doesn’t matter to me. I think there are two slots left (technically one) b/c one registered outside of Event Espresso. Take it!

    2. And you are welcome to buy more than one slot if no one else has already jumped on it. I posted all over social media. I just finished getting a book done (will be announcing next post), so I am taking a break and a breath getting to read Y’ALL’s stuff since at the moment, I am sick of my own. I love running these specials now and again because it is fun to see fresh writing. Not sure when I will do it again; this is the first time this year.

      1. I just signed up for what I thought was the last slot. Is there any genre you secretly dislike editing? I have a children’s story, plus horror, supernatural, SF/F (twilight zonish), and I’m a 115K words into a fantasy novel, I guess it would be considered high fantasy, formerly call sword and sorcery. And will you do more than one if the total word count is in the 7500 word range?

        1. I am down for anything except not a fan of erotica. HORROR is my JAM. If you need an additional slot, just let me know. Email is kristen at wana intl dot com. I just limit the spaces so I don’t end up with FIFTY people at one time. I can make an additional spot for you if need be. You can PayPal that email for the other slot if it comes to it.

          1. I don’t write erotica, and if I did and had you read it, you could color my face fifty shades of red. I don’t get any racier than PG13. I’ll spend some time checking word counts and might take an extra slot if still available before the 14th if I can find the right combination.

          2. You are a long-time commenter. I will make an extra spot for you if needs must. And RIGHT? I know people who write it but I am too prudish to even READ IT. Not for everyone.

    • Cynthia Stacey on October 7, 2023 at 3:39 pm
    • Reply

    Love this! Thanks Kristen for this opportunity. How and when do we send the pages? What email?

    1. When you sign up, you should get an instant email with instructions. It needs to be 12 point font, double spaced, Times New Roman, one-inch margins (so I don’t go BLIND). You also need to put your NAME AND the TITLE in all caps in the subject line because other wise stuff gets lost. My email is kristen at wana intl dot com just in case.

        • Cynthia Stacey on October 7, 2023 at 5:41 pm
        • Reply

        The email went to my spam folder. Ugh. Thanks so much. 🙂

        1. No problem! Exited to read your work. Just PLEASE follow the instructions on emailing it to me because otherwise it will get lost in the black hole that is my email, LOL.

  8. Some great lol moments in here!

    1. With our jobs, we need all we can get 😀

    • Harshi S on October 9, 2023 at 10:53 am
    • Reply

    Thanks; I also love your marketing advice.

    • Barbara Ann Mealer on October 16, 2023 at 11:20 am
    • Reply

    I am actually on the FBI list. DIdn’t know it until a friend of a friend asked what I did. I told him I was a nurse and the look he gave was really weird. My friend laughing hilariously told him, “She’s a writer and was looking up types of poisons and how they react, how long, and what you need to make a homemade bomb and the reaction of certain drugs.” The guy relaxed and said he was FBI and welcome to the world of the crazies. So I went on their list of mystery authors who will look up ways to kill people.

    • Kendolyn M Fisher on October 16, 2023 at 12:08 pm
    • Reply

    I didn’t receive an email after I signed up for your reading. Could you resend it. I went through the spam and trash and received nothing. Thanks so much.

    1. I am going to go rip everyone’s email who signed up and send from my business email just in case there was a problem. No worries!

    • George Smith on October 21, 2023 at 8:10 am
    • Reply

    If I may, it’s good thing my library record on what I’ve checked out is considered privileged information, and in many cases aren’t subject to search…

    1. LOL, we are ALL doomed if that isn’t the case.

  9. Thank you for making my day. Stay awesome and keep that pen busy! ?

I LOVE hearing your thoughts!

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