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Murder! (1 Viewer)

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Senior Member
So, I had an idea at the beginning of last week which I decided to run with, and now that I'm a couple of chapters in I'm wondering what sort of audience I'm aiming for.

Basically, it's about a dysfunctional family of murderers. Mum, Dad and teenage daughter all murder people. The youngest of the family is in training so he just gets to watch for now, taking notes. There is an actual reason why they're performing murders and this is the bit which, hopefully, means the overall theme can stand up to moral scrutiny. In other words, it's the part that means I can get away with it and make you have sympathy for our dear murdering protagonists.

The chapters themselves will be interspersed with useful notes and advice on how to murder someone a certain way.

The problem is, I want it to be lighthearted, funny, and a bit silly. And it is, so far, lighthearted, funny, and definitely a bit silly.

My question is: should it be? As in, is this ok, or is there something wrong with me? And if I were aiming this at young adults would that audience probably be a bit too young?



WF Veterans
Forcing a different voice to the one you are comfortable writing with may stifle your creativity; I would only worry about this sort of thing once you have gotten out all the creativity you can muster for this idea. The audience, IMO, will be defined by how you write it, and if your natural voice is more appropriate for one audience I would draft in that audience and then, if you have to cater it for a certain audience, rewrite it in another voice afterwards.

I'm writing my novel in present tense, but I think it may work in past. I write better in present though, so I'm only going to worry about changing it once I've got the whole thing done.


Senior Member
Cheers Cadence, I think you've misunderstood the question though. Or maybe I just didn't word it correctly.

What I'm trying to ask is, should murder be funny? Especially if the people being murdered are 'innocent', from a point of view. Is it too taboo? I mean, is it too far to describe someone having their throat slit and make it amusing, even if it is purely a work of fiction.

J Anfinson

Retired Supervisor
I don't see anything wrong with it as long as the humor is self-evident.

Edit: By which I mean you're not promoting it.
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The Tourist

Senior Member
lighthearted...should it be? As in, is this ok, or is there something wrong with me?

If there is with you, then there is with me.

I have a character who's a female mercenary. Now, not in the traditional sense. She knows nothing about firearms, treats them like screwdrivers, and assassinates her targets for rent money, and her one guilty pleasure, that being heavily buttered Texas Toast.

The friends and betas who have read her segments find her funny and comic relief. But it's her job to kill people.

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
Murder can be very funny. Serial Mom, Arsenic and Old Lace, Murder by Death, jump to mind.


Creative Area Specialist (Fiction)
WF Veterans
I think it's okay to be funny, but funny in the right way. Let me explain:

I had a character once who was likable and presented a very humorous tone whenever he was around. He was also a rapist and a murderer. The story as a whole took life and death seriously, and this character as well. What made him funny was the irony that he could be so likeable--- and in turn, love his children more than anything--- yet still be a despicable person. I never got into detail with the things he did. Ans when I showed a little, it was frightening, but all the focus was on my "likeable" character and none on his victim(s).

I think that tactic worked out well, but I would need to learn a bit more about your story, feel it a little, to design a more specific suggestion. Do you plan on sharing some of this with the forum?


Senior Member
Do you plan on sharing some of this with the forum?

Absolutely. Probably the best way to gauge whether or not it's amusing enough to get away with. It's certainly challenging.

Thanks for the replies so far, everyone. Appreciate it.


WF Veterans
Dexter has some dark humor, especially in the books. He's a serial killer, but he only kills bad people. He's not really good, but he's, well, not as bad as most serial killers.

Your idea sounds like fun to me. Run with it. If it's intended for young people, keep the gore to a minimum.


WF Veterans
Not to be a buzzkill, but this sounds like a more in depth The Addam's Family (a family of murderers, chock full of dark lightheartedness).


WF Veterans
...My question is: should it be? As in, is this ok, or is there something wrong with me?

Is it bothering you enough to interfere with your life or self-image? If so, then yes. If not, then no.

And if I were aiming this at young adults would that audience probably be a bit too young?

Wassa "Young Adult?" If they're under 23 or so, they're still an adolescent. (The human brain doesn't finally mature until around that age. That's why we all groan when remember what we can of our college days...)

I wouldn't push this sort of theme to anyone that could be defined as young anything. It's a mature theme dealing with potentially dangerous issues. You're writing an "Anarchist's Murderbook", is what you're writing. Is that a good thing? Of course, censorship is wrong and we should write about whatever we want and let the Reader decide whether or not they like it, if we're not deliberately pandering them to begin with. However, a writer also has a responsibility, in my opinion. You, as a writer who is writing something that is potentially dangerous, could do real harm. Is your message worth it? Is there some greater value to the story than mere titillation? If not, then it doesn't deserve to be written. That's my serious answer - If you're writing for nothing more than to combine words in such ways that excite the reader, potentially in a dangerous direction, without an appropriately important theme, then you're potentially being irresponsible.

This will sound wacky, but here goes something serious - Writers are responsible for what they write. Just like anyone else in any other profession, the writer is responsible for their practice of the craft. "Words" are the most powerful tool that mankind ever invented and the printed word has been both the most illuminating and most destructive material thing in mankind's history. One declaration of war is all it takes to see how this is true. Having access, even comfortable familiarity, with such a dangerous tool can make us cavalier, heedless, a bit wanton. The truth is that no writer has a right to write whatever they want without being responsible for the repercussions. If a writer wrote convincing prose with such skill that it encouraged someone to do something destructive, heedless of the risk and without offering something meaningful enough to warrant that risk, then the writer has been irresponsible.

This is why you don't let kids play with guns. Would you give a loaded gun to a child? How about writing a book that describes how to commit a painless, even wonderful, suicide and then marketing it to teenagers? What if we decided to take substantial advantage of someone for our own personal gain, without giving them any worthy benefit, and only because we could? Did you notice that I didn't mention writing in that line?

You have an ethical dilemma. The way to solve it is, of course, looking for the ethical principles that may apply and then to apply them. Are you going to give them something besides the mere titillation of an exploration of murder? Considering the risk of your story, is society served in equal or greater measure by the message within those pages being marketed to the Y.A. audience?
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