Sunday, September 4, 2016

Predators 101: Info for Writers

(Photo credit: Wikipedia
How a Predator Courts His Victim and How to Save Your Heroine

DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.

Your heroine was distracted. Who could blame her? You've written all kinds of drama into the poor girl's life. Amazing that her head didn't explode. At least you were nice enough to write in a bar of chocolate; and right now, that's where her focus is. Chocolate. Not Predator.

The predator approaches -

Did you know that various statistics show that 3/4 of all attacks on women are performed after verbal threat alone? Women are often socialized to not cause a scene.

One way a heroine falls victim is the Blitz. The predator jumps out of nowhere and tries to overwhelm her. This kind of attack is rare. The response of your heroine would be to SCREAM!!!! and fight. And that is not what the predator wants. The predator wants to assert control over the situations. He's picked his victim and now he moves in to confront her. After a victim is sized up, she is courted. Here’s how:

Teammates - using the word “we.” "We’re in this together." "We’re on the same team." If the heroine doesn't know someone, and they are suddenly using the “we” word? She should focus!

Charm - This person is charming. This person is so kind. FOCUS. Why would the guy come over and help your heroine put her groceries into her car? That’s not a normal behavior. A normal guy would go about his business and let her go about hers. A guy whose attention she attracted will help her put your groceries in the car - don’t let it flatter the heroine. This guy wants something. Say “No. Thank you.” and stick to it (see discounted “no” below).

Details - Someone who is telling the truth believes that the truth speaks for itself. When the heroine starts getting too many details, she should FOCUS. The nice guy says something pleasant as he goes up the stairs. "I’m going to the same floor as you - let me help you with the groceries. I’m going to your floor because I have to feed my best friend's dog." Cons use words to distract us. Too many words - too many details.

Pigeonholing - A con who makes your heroine feel badly for a perception she gave off needs her focus. An example: “You’re probably too snobbish to talk to me.” The answer? None. Don’t let your heroine get sucked in. Or she could say, “I don’t talk to strangers.” And then don’t let your heroine engage when the predator keeps trying to push her off the point. If she doesn't talk to strangers, she should not let him prove otherwise by goading her into saying something - anything to him or he has gained control. (see Discounted No, below)

Debt - When someone does something for her and that puts her in his debt. “Let me carry that bag for you.” He’s nice. He didn't take no for an answer. And now she owes him. Hmmmn.

Promises - “I’ll just walk you to your car and make sure you're safe. I promise.” If she hears an unsolicited, “I promise,” it’s probably a lie, and your heroine's probably in trouble. She needs to come up with an exit strategy - now!

Blog Link to LIARS

Discounting the word “no.” - She said, “No, thank you,” and the con still pushes her on the point? “It’s no trouble - I’m glad to help.”

Video Quick Study (2:24)

  • First scenario is a blitz.
  • Second scenario shows: "Pigeonholing," "Charm," "Discounting No".

So what is happening for your heroine?

A victim will respond to very little intensity with a rush of adrenaline. One of the effects of adrenaline is for the victim to stop breathing. Having your heroine speak gets her breathing and allows her to function under high stress. So if you want your heroine to move through the scene, get her talking (not screaming).

When your heroine experiences a rush of adrenaline, she will generally respond passively or aggressively. Her reaction will depend on personality traits and acculturation. A woman growing up in a rough neighborhood will respond differently than a woman who grew up sheltered and in a male dominant household.

The Heroine - will beta stance - cave her shoulders, lower her head, turn to an angle. The Predator - will be thrilled! He will increase his aggression, escalating his controlling/abusive behaviors. A passive respondent means he has found his victim and can control her with his voice and body language alone.



The Heroine - responds with an alpha stance, loud voice, aggressive body language.

Blog Link:Trouble! Body Language 101 for WritersWriters

The Predator -

The response of most aggressors to aggression is fire on gasoline. An aggressive predator will not de-escalate, so now you have a fight on your hands.Was that your plot line all along? Good - because they are going at each other's throats.

Assertive Behavior
Will signal the predator that your heroine is not an easy mark. It will help the aggressor to make other behavior decisions. But it will NOT guarantee that violence is not imminent.

If the body language (see above link) shows aggressive body language ramping up, she should be prepared to defend herself and risk serious injury to prevent herself from being taken to a secondary location.

Blog Link - A Heroine's Plan to Escape Car abduction

The Assertive Heroine - Maintains distance, has a neutral stance with hands up (She is prepared to move into a defensive stance if things escalate but will not tip her hand that she knows how to defend herself. She needs to maintain the element of surprise).

As much as is possible the heroine would maintain neutral eye contact, facial expression and voice tone (to begin with).

“I said no. And I mean no!” Use her stern "I take no shit" voice.
She is no longer polite. Let nothing change that “no” or the guy
has power and knows he can manipulate you. I liken this one to
my kids whining at me, whining, and whining until finally I say,
“FINE! Just take the darned cookie and be quiet.” What did I just
train my kid to do? Hang in there and whine obnoxiously because
soon I will give in. What did I train the con to do? - Push me and
push and push and I’ll give in. "NO!" and stick to it.

Blog Link The Man Had His Penis In His Hand; How NOT to Leave Dance Class

Aggressor - An aggressor will respond to assertiveness by extracting themselves from the situation.

A Predator will continue to push back and try to intimidate the
heroine using the above scenarios. This is where the heroine
escalates to protective mode. Remember, once your heroine
engages, she's committed. She must stay in the fight until she can

Blog Link - How to Dress Your Characters so She Has a Fighting Chance

Ideas developed in this blog are an extension of a book review that I did on Gift of Fear by DeBecker. 

As always, a big thank you ThrillWriters and readers for stopping by. Thank you, too, for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you 
helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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