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Friday, June 14, 2013

Dear Jeannie: What Makes a Person "Snap?"

Dear Jeannie,

Do you think the death of a child could eventually make a mother snap to the point that she'd want to deprive other women of their children, to make them share her grief?

Curious about Female Serial Killers 

Dear Curious about Female Serial Killers,

The funny thing about psychopathy, and perhaps the one thing professionals wish they could change the most, is that no one can predict what will make a person "snap." It's a combination of things, actually, so you'll want to pay close attention to your would-be mother's environmental stressors. Make sure her child's death is the last straw, due to the perfect storm that had already been brewing.

For example, let's look at the 1992 movie, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. Rebecca De Mornay's OB-GYN husband had sexual assault allegations against him, after which he kills himself. She learns that all assets are frozen and she'll lose her luxurious home. Going into early labor, she then loses her baby and has to have an emergency hysterectomy due to hemorrhaging.

WHAM! Loss of husband, home, child, and any future hope of children. It's little wonder she takes up residence as a live-in nanny with the family of the woman who first charged her late husband with rape. The environmental stressors she went through primed the pump for her to lose her sanity. Click to Tweet!

I believe that any sane mother who loses a child probably has thoughts of wanting the children of other people. I believe to some degree those ideas would be normal, yet ultimately dismissed. If your character is going to kill multiple children of other people, so that those parents share in her particular grief, this would be a new kind of spin on an older plot line. Very twisted...I like it.

Best of luck with your story!

Got Questions?

Post them anonymously below, using monikers like Sleepless in Seattle. If this new idea for posts takes off, I'll begin posting more than just one Dear Jeannie column to address the questions.