Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do You Think Like a Criminal?

by
John McFetridge


The opening voice-over on the show Castle says, "There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people, psychopaths and mystery writers," but there are a lot more crimes than murder in crime fiction and we writers have to think about those, too.

A while ago I came across a story about some drug dealers who were tipped to the police because the money counting machines in their apartment were so loud they kept the neighbours up all night.

So, as I was researching money counters (which, by the way, now say how quiet and fast they are on their webpages) I came across this video clip on YouTube explaining how the money counting app for iPhones works:



Makes perfect sense to me, this is an app for drug dealers (or hookers) making a lot of cash deals and then making payments to their, um, "bosses," in parked cars and nightclub bathrooms and alleys - in a hurry so they aren't seen together by the cops or even by other criminals.

And then I read the comments and noticed that other people don't think like criminals. They commented that the counting app was off by two bills and that it couldn't differenciate between bills.

I quickly wrote a scene into the novel I'm working on that shows the money counting app in action, but then I wondered, is it good to think like a criminal all the time?

Castle fnishes his voice over with, "I'm the kind that pays better," and that may be true between psycopaths and mystery writers, but when it comes to writers of other kinds of crimes, that's not usually true.

I'm never going to need the money counting app for my iPhone


7 comments:

Ron Earl Phillips said...

There's an app for that!

I have to wonder how accurate that video was or if the app really works. The person had a hand a mixed bills. Singles, fives and a ten.

Interesting thoughts though.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Castle is right on the money. I'm always observing people, places, and things, always trying to come up with ideas and putting my own spin on them. I'd be doing a million years in the slammer, if my mind could be read. for example, I'd be lying if every time I saw an armored car, I'm not thinking of how it could be robbed, BUT, what seperates me from psycopath's and criminals is that these are only thoughts based on the my desire to come up with material, that's it. I think a lot of writers are most times, thinking story.

John McFetridge said...

Yeah, I think writers are afriad of airport security because they're worried about someone looking at their Google history...

Steve Weddle said...

Yeah, I think it's handy to think about ways to kill people. Elbow to the temple, then steak-knife through the left eye is my favorite. So what's this stuff about being a writer you're talking about?

Al Tucher said...

I'm trying to think of anyone other than hookers and drug dealers who could make use of this app. Maybe a hotdog vendor in a really busy location?

Jay Stringer said...

Great post.

I sometimes wonder if I only write because otherwise I'd get caught...

Every job I've ever had, I've figured how to scam them during my induction training. I never do, of course, but that's the difference. When I worked for a national chain retailer - now defunct- I routinely proved to the LP guys how crap the systems were.

Manager at that job was also tickled that I could forge her signature on the banking sheets. Not that I DID, again, but she said she liked knowing the 'option was there.'

I don't put as much thought into how to kill people as Castle does, though. I always figured it would be simple, pull a trigger, or send them to Al Guthrie.....

Dana King said...

The real money is in the crossover business, between writers and psycho. As Elmore Leonard's agent once said about what kind of writing pays best: ransom notes.