Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Assembling an Assassin

In my first collection of short stories Eleven the Hardest Way I included a short called Shooting Stars which was about an assassin seeking revenge on an ex-girlfriend. Shooting Stars first aired at ThrillsKillsNChills where it received many positive comments. 

This is how I built my nameless and faceless hitman.

First I had him sighting through the sights of a sniper rifle and sharing his dislike at the mime artist he could see. This was to give my sniper a human personality while also foreshadowing later events.

Then I told how he hadn’t modified his rifle as it was already carefully crafted and lovingly designed. Here I was showing how he could appreciate beauty in mechanical objects and faith in their original design. 

My third constructive element of his character was to reveal his target was his ex-girlfriend. Most literary assassins don’t kill women, but I wanted mine to be different. I wanted to give him a personal agenda which would make him standout from the crowd. (Which is silly really, as all assassins prefer to blend into the crowd.)

The next piece of character building I did with my assassin was for him to only ever load a single bullet into his gun. He classed it as his trademark and if his prey escaped that one bullet, then his own moral code would prevent him from making a second attempt to kill the target. I did this to bring back the assassin from being overly cold and un-likeable.

By giving my assassin an accomplice who he referred to as his apprentice, I turned his murderous trade into a noble profession in his own mind. The training of an apprentice is a responsibility bestowed on the better and more reliable tradesmen which gives my assassin another character trait.

So there you have it. One assassin built from the ground up. And before anyone asks, no I don’t know his name or what he looks like. I don’t think I ever will.

I’ve written a follow up to Shooting Stars and I plan to add several more stories to the collection and then I’ll release a collection featuring my nameless hitman.

1 comment:

  1. I'm fascinated that you don't know, or want to know what he looks like - so many readers seem to demand full descriptions, although I prefer to leave as much as possible to the reader's imagination.
    Interesting to read this though, Graham.