Monday, September 12, 2016

Writing About: Stalkers



Having a stalker is truly frightening. A stalker can target someone for any reason. And anyone can be stalked: celebrities, women, men, and children. A stalker can be an ex boy/girlfriend, a jealous coworker or friend, an estranged family member, or a stranger. Stalkers don’t just come in the big cities but anywhere in the world. Wherever people live, stalkers lurk.

Some things to consider if you ever write a story with a stalker in it:

1. Who is the stalker?

Sometimes, in real life, this isn’t known right away, but other times the person lets the victim know by confronting them. Decide when your stalker will reveal him/herself: right away or after some cat and mouse mind games.

2. Why is this person stalking your character?

As I mentioned, anyone can be a stalker and for any reason. Perhaps a bad breakup triggers it or road rage makes your character a target. Even envy, such as for someone’s beauty, money or talent, can be a driving force that makes the stalker want to be with your character or just be your character.

3.
What does the stalker do?

There are an infinite number of scare tactics that stalkers employ, such as harassing phone calls or notes left on the car or on the door. They can follow your character in their car to and from work or when they go for a jog around the block. Taking pictures, sneaking into the victim’s house, and leaving threatening images and tokens are all things stalkers do. Nothing is too bizarre.

Image from Pixabay

4. How does the victim deal with this?

Being stalked is scary and greatly impacts the mental state of the victim, leading them to suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other disorders. They can have a hard time sleeping at night due to fear, and they can look over their shoulder wherever they go. 

Perpetually checking to make sure the windows are closed, blinds and curtains are shut, and doors are locked is very common. Taking self-defense classes, buying a stun gun or real gun, and even adopting a dog for extra security are all things they can do. A victim of a stalker is never at ease, so you have to show that throughout the story.
TIP #1: Show how this changes your character’s other relationships. Although the stalker is targeting one person, this also hurts their loved ones. Relationships can get strained and even go out the window due to the victim’s fear.

TIP #2: Consider how you’d feel or what you would do if you were in your character’s shoes.

Always make sure that whatever you write is realistic. Try to talk to people who had been stalked, read real stories and accounts, and even watch movies based on true events.



QUESTION: Did you watch the show Stalker while it was on? It only had one season, but it was pretty intense.



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48 comments:

  1. Hi Chrys - those a great notes about stalking ... a horrible thing to encounter in any form - Hilary

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  2. Ugg sooo hate stalkers, had a blog stalker before ugg. Used them in my writing here and there, they always end up toast at the end haha

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    1. They can come in any form. Even on the Internet.

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  3. I never watched Stalker when it was on. And I've never had a stalker, but once a man followed me to my car and tried to get in with me. That was terrifying enough. (But of course, I used it in my writing...)

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    1. Tried to get into your car? That was rattle me. Wow.

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  4. Scary stuff! And MJ's comment above made me shudder - terrifying!

    I've never even heard of the show Stalker.

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  5. Way to go Pat. They need to be toast...ed. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  6. It must be scary to be stalked. Very good post to take note of.
    Yvonne.

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  7. I've never heard of that show, but now I'm intrigued. I've seen and read articles of people who had been stalked. Some were luckier than others. It's terribly frightening.

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    1. It's funny that no one had heard of it. No wonder it only had one season. lol Maggie Q was on it.

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  8. Since I only watch Netflix these days, I am oblivious to current TV shows that aren't included on this channel. Which can sometimes be a shame. Having a stalker would freak me out, but man, what a great set-up for tension in a story! Good tips as usual.

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    1. It would be a good set-up for a tension-filled story.

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  9. Great tips. I wrote a story from the stalker's point of view once - now that was an interesting experiment!

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    1. Really? That does sound like an interesting POV.

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  10. I had a stalker briefly when we first moved here. He left a card for me at work with $100 in it. We took it to the police and they did question a few people at work and check things out for a while. I did get to keep the money and bought pepper spray and stuff with it.

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    1. Wow. It's hard to think people I know have been stalked but I do know a few who have dealt with this. Good thinking using that money to buy protection.

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  11. I picked up a cyberstalker in April, from an infamous pro-bullying and pro-doxxing site. All because he took issue with a comment I left on one of my favorite radical feminist blogs. This jerk stole my photograph from my Contact Me page, copied and pasted the biographical info on my sidebar, and offered up a few of my recent posts with the claim "sperging about Russia," and put a link to my secondary blog with the line "sperging about unique names." I had to look that word up, and was disgusted when I saw the meaning. He thought he could dig up a lot more dirt on me, and a few months later, I saw a few more hits to my blog from that message board. The cyberstalker had posted screenshots of some of my recent Tweets in support of natural childbirth, and a link to an article saying there's no scientific or medical support of the longstanding, uniquely American custom of asymptomatic women getting yearly pelvic exams. After that, I looked through my Twitter followers, and found someone who started following me in April who was the obvious guilty party. I immediately blocked him. Hopefully he'll get tired of "researching" me when he discovers I use a pseudonym, and he can't find any personal information about me with this name.

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    1. I'm always very cautious when I post comments. I've never posted comments on popular sites, especially ones that attract people who are only looking for fights. Cyber stalkers and bullies are awful. I hope you have this under control now.

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  12. Great tips Chrys. I would not want to be stalked and I feel for the people who'd gone through it.
    I've never watched the show Stalker but did see one episode because my friend loved the show. Seemed interesting but now that it's off the air, maybe I'll binge watch it on Neftlix (if it's there). Criminal Minds deal with stalkers too. One of my favorite episodes was when an up and coming Hollywood actress was being stalked. And her 'rivals/competition' were being murdered execution style. Come to find out the stalker was someone she knew, went to school with and worked with. SHUDDER.

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    1. Yes, criminal minds as shown the dark, sinister side of stalkers many times. The things they have on that show shock me sometimes thinking that people actually do stuff like that. It's unthinkable.

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  13. Being stalked is a terrible thing to go through. Hopefully your readers only need to write about it, not experience it first hand.

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  14. Stories with stalkers always make me shake in my boots! Nothing's as scary as someone in the shadows, watching.

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    1. I would have to agree with you on that.

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  15. Good tips, as usual. Stalkers will also lie about having a relationship with the victim in an attempt to gain information or get close to the victim. When I broke my back, my husband's girlfriend of the moment called the hospital and said she was my cousin in an attempt to get to speak to me. I was fresh out of the ER and had just gotten to intensive care. I have no idea what she wanted. The nurse asked if I had a cousin who would be calling me. I said, No. Then he told me her name. I said, That's my husband's girlfriend. Oh, the looks on their faces. Of course, he's my ex-husband of several years. I never saw or spoke to that woman again. Perhaps she was embarrassed after she called the hospital and was told that they knew she wasn't my cousin. After that, I told the charge nurse, I am not here. Don't give information about me to anyone.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Stalkers could lie about anything to get closer to the victim. That's another scary part. They can pass themselves off as anyone to get information about you or access to you.

      I wonder what she wanted to say to you? That is creepy.

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  16. The thought of being stalked is frightening. I don't know what I'd do in that situation. Your tips are great. I'll remember them.

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  17. Very true. Sometimes I feel ucomfortable at some FB writing events because they say 'stalk me' in such a jokey fashion and since I've watched a lot of real life crime shows I know the reality is no laughing matter. I get what they're playing at though. Anyway these are some great tips and it's always important to make your story realistic, no matter how unbelievable some things might seem. Like a mannequin soaked in red syrup would seem more realistic than a human blood soaked one. Unless you explain the source.

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    1. Ha! Yes, I've even seen some authors and bloggers say "stalk me" and they list all of their social media sites. I'd never joke about being stalked, especially nowadays given it's so easy with social media.

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  18. In reference to many of the comments above, the very word does get over-used to the point that we forget to take the true meaning seriously. Having experienced two pathetic jerks (formerly called stalkers) I can attest that if you spin around and confront them it's often a lot like when Dorothy, with the help of Toto, discovered who the wizard really was ;-)
    All great points to include when writing about the issue of stalking - especially the effect it has on those close to the victim! Way to keep me looking over my shoulder, lady Chrys! I can only imagine what you're writing about now :-)

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    1. I think you're right. People do use it too freely. I'm glad your encounters with the jerks proved they weren't a threat. In most cases, that could probably be said. But in some, it could lead to a more serious situation.

      The final book in the Disaster Crimes Series touches on this topic. ;)

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  19. This is scary because one would feel totally at a loss of control. I would have a hard time writing about this u less I made it funny. Many years ago...I don't know if I call it stalking but I was leaving the Distress Centre after my volunteer shift..it was 2am. While driving home I noticed a van behind me and didn't give it much thought until I saw it was following my every turn. When I entered the parking spot where I lived, the van stopped and no one got out...neither did I. Suddenly the van left and sped around the corner. I didn't know what to do and was uncertain whether I should leave my car when the van came back again and stopped in the middle of the street. I had my windows and doors closed and locked. I started beeping the horn and when my former husband came out to see why I didn't leave the car, the van peeled away. I told my ex to get in the apartment building asap. I never saw the van again but this was right around when Kristen French and Leslie Mahoffey went missing and were found killed by Paul Bernardo and his then wife.

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    1. Yikes! That is scary. Just the thought of the possibility is enough to frighten me. I wonder how many people have had close encounters like this.

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  20. Great tips. I have no doubt that a person stalked would fell vulnerable and spied upon at all times. Scary stuff.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  21. Stalkers are very scary, even just thinking about one gives me the creeps.

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  22. Reading about stalkers always send chills up my spine!

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  23. I had someone stalking me with my art! I pray he is finally gone! I had to keep blocking everything he wrote! It's very scary!!

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    1. An art stalker...they come in all ways. That's what's truly scary.

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