Creating a female serial killer character is a challenging endeavor for any writer. It involves delving into the darkest corners of the human psyche, exploring motivations, and building a multi-dimensional character that captivates and terrifies readers in equal measure.
Emily Lloyd’s character in Veil of Doubt, has depth, complexity, and contradiction. I wrote her to have moments of vulnerability, empathy, and even charm that will make you question your feelings towards her. This ambiguity adds layers to her character, making her more intriguing.
In this blog I’ll discuss my process for researching and developing Emily’s character.
Every character, even a serial killer, has a backstory that shapes their motivations and actions. I focused on what led Emily to become who she is. Was she a victim of abuse or neglect, leading to a desire for control and power? Did she experience a traumatic event that triggered a descent into darkness? Understanding her backstory was crucial to making her actions believable and relatable, even if they are abhorrent.
With the help of a psychiatrists, we built the psychological profile of Emily Lloyd. It was very important to me to delve into the psychology of this character. We explored her thought processes, obsessions, and the justification she uses to rationalize her actions. Understanding her mindset was essential for creating an authentic and chilling portrayal of a woman accused of killing her children, husband, and aunt.
To drive the plot, I developed unique relationships between Emily and other characters in the story. The way she interacts with her victims, her own support network, her neighbors, and law enforcement, all reveal different facets of her very complex character.
Veil of Doubt is rich in moral dilemmas that challenge both the book’s character and readers. First, a women accused of killing her children in Reconstruction Era Virginia is unheard of. Next, the unexpected connection she forms and that are exposed throughout the narrative, adds depth to her character arc.
Motif and Symbolism
I incorporated subtle motifs and symbolism into Emily and the supporting character’s actions. These added depth and layers to the book’s characters and give my readers more to analyze. You’ll see that her choice of victims has symbolic significance related to her backstory and motivations.
Redemption or Escalation
I won’t divulge if Emily follows a path of redemption or escalation. But in developing any female serial killer character you must decide: will she seek redemption for her crimes, or will her dark urges intensify as the story progresses? These choices will shape the character’s arc and the overall tone of the narrative.
Consequences and Resolution
I spent a lot of time researching and exploring the consequences of Emily’s actions and how they impacted the world and those around her. Resolving those consequences in a way that brings closure to the story and its characters was essential to satisfy my readers.
I loved writing Emily Lloyd, it required careful research, empathy, and a deep understanding of human psychology. I approached her character development with sensitivity and responsibility, focusing on the psychological aspects of her character rather than gory details. My goal was to create a darkness that draws readers in, leaving them questioning their own perceptions of her guilt or innocence.