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Friday, August 10, 2012

What Exactly Is A Profile?: Guest Hijacker Crime Fiction Writer Diane Kratz

          Crime investigation is an ugly business, but someone's got to do it.  Likewise, someone's got to write the stories about the subject and this is a genre that has been taken on by today's guest Diane Kratz from Profiles of Murder.   In this guest post Diane explains a bit about her business.
What Exactly is a Profile?
A profile is exactly what it sounds like, descriptive data.  We all have one. It is a summary (or in writing terms, a synopsis) of our life. Criminal investigators use the crime scene, victims, statistics, and forensics to sketch out an outline of the who, what, when, where, and why of a crime.
 Investigators actually have several different types of profiles to draw from in their tool belts.  
Inductive Criminal Profiling- A set of offender characteristics that are reasoned, by correlation, experiential, and/or statistical inference, to be shared by offenders who commit the same type of crime. These characteristics are based on averages. Example: Men are more likely to be serial killers than women. Why? Because the percentages tell us they are.
Deductive Criminal Profiling- A set of offender characteristics that are reasoned from the union of forensic and behavioral evidence patterns within a crime(s). It is based on psychical evidence suggestive of behaviors, type of victims (Victimology), and crime scene characteristics/analysis.
Victimology Profile-The study of all available victim information including sex, age, height, weight, family, friends, acquaintances, education employment, residence, and neighborhood. Background information is a part of this profile and includes personal habits, hobbies, criminal and medical history. Why is this important? It helps determine victim risk and linkage to other crimes.  Significant facts about the victim’s life, especially in the days and hours leading up to his or her death, are of the utmost importance.  A timeline is drawn up to map their movements, and investigators study all of their personal communications for signals to where they may have crossed paths with a viable suspect. It’s important to know their state of mind and their mental health assessment and history as well as their risk level (for example, a prostitute’s risk would be much higher than a girl with a nine to five job, living in her own home).
English: A crime scene. .English: A crime scene. . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crime Scene Analysis Profile- A report that examines and interprets the behavioral evidence including location and scene types, point of contact, offender method of approach, attack and control, offender use of weapons, force and resistance, sexual acts, precautionary and contradictory acts, evidence of planning, offense skill level, items taken by or left behind by the offender, verbal behavior, and modus operandi/motivational behavior.
Offender Characteristics Profile. This is similar to Crime Scene Analysis but also includes familiarity with a victim or location, evidence of criminal history and state of mind, evidence of psychopathic characteristics such as superficiality, deceitfulness, impulsivity, lack of empathy or remorse, egocentricity, need for excitement, evidence of personal or sexual conflict, and evidence of sexual fantasy.     
Writers Note:
As writers, we profile our characters. We bring them to life by giving them emotions, goals, conflicts and motivations.  We get into the heads of our characters. We give them an age, sex, height, weight, hair color, eye color, likes and dislikes, hobbies, friends, enemies, personality traits, and emotional baggage.
We can make our characters heroes or diabolical villains. Writers have the advantage of telling a story from any point of view (POV) we choose. It can be told from the victim's POV, the villain's POV or the hero/heroine's POV. By doing so, each becomes a different story to tell.
In crime fiction I have the advantage of allowing my victims to have justice. In real life this isn’t always the case. This inspires me to write about the darkness in murders' minds. I know in the end, I can create the justice they deserve.
Happy Writing,
Diane Kratz

 

Diane Kratz is crime fiction writer. She has been married to her husband Tom for 25 years, lives on a small farm in Kansas and has worked as a social worker in domestic violence shelters, hospice, and in county mental health.
She graduated from Emporia State University bachelors in Sociology, and from Washburn University with a Masters in Social Work. She is accredited as Licensed Master Social Worker from the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board in Kansas. She has a Golden Lab named Maggie, and a very old cat named Figaro, and another named Patches.
She is an active member of Kiss of Death, Midwest Romance Writers, Romance Writer of America, Sister In Crime and International Thriller Writers Association.
Her favorite authors include Karin Slaughter, Jeff Lindsey, Steven King, Tess Gerritsen and CJ Lyons.
She is currently working on her first novel in a series of five books, Victims of Love Genesis.

You can keep up with Diane on her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianeKratz
Twitter:

Or her blog:


      Are you a fan of crime fiction?  If you write crime fiction do you follow Diane's approach?   Aside from crime, do you create character and motive profiles when you write?




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49 comments:

  1. As a former criminology student this is both familiar and yet extremely fascinating to me, the way that Diane has drawn parallels between fictional writing and real life criminal profiling is absolute genius and I feel blessed to have read this.

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  2. Nice Blog, Diane. Explains profiling in simple terms we can all use in our writing. Thanks for the post and for Arlee Bird for giving you the space.

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  3. Great blog Diane, well written and most imteresting.. Thanks Lee for hosting.....am missing blogging.
    Yvonne

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  4. Wow- Diane, this is the most succinct explanation I've come across for all the different "profiling". Thanks for the information and the easy to read and use format! Great blog.
    Stacey Purcell

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  5. Thanks for breaking it down that way, Diane. Makes it easier for me to grasp. I find all this fascinating.

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  6. Very interesting! There are a LOT of details to know! :)

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  7. WOW. Great post. How interesting!!

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  8. Yeamie-You made my day! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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  9. James,

    Everyone believes profiling to be almost like mind reading. Its not, its simply looking at the descriptive data and drawing conclusions from them.

    Thank you for stopping by. I loved you last article about serial killers and possibility of killer gene, much debate is still going on that subject.

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leaving a comment.

    Diane

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  10. Lee,

    Thanks so much for letting me hijack your blog this week! I love this blog because you never know what the topic's will be about, and there are lots of them to choose from.

    Again, thanks for the opportunity!

    Diane

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  11. Yvonne,

    Happy you liked it. Thanks for stopping by!

    Diane

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  12. Alex,

    Thanks for saying so and stopping by. I hope it helps!

    Diane

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  13. Stacy,

    Making profiling easy to understand was my motivation for this blog, so you made my day for saying so! :)

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Diane

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  14. Terri,

    Thanks for saying so and for stopping by!

    Diane

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  15. Jerri,

    Thrilled you think so! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    Diane

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  16. Lynn,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Nice to know people do read my Facebook page! Have a great weekend all!

    Diane

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  17. I never knew there were so many different types of profiling. I've always been fascinated by this science. Great post!

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  19. Thanks Ciara for stopping by and leaving a comment! Profiling is fascinating!

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  20. That really is some fascinating stuff...and it sounds like Diane's ability to create realistic crime fiction is pretty outstanding based on her experiences. Would love to read her work!

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  21. What an interesting article Diane! You explained profiling well.

    When I write I do create each characters Goals, Motivations, and Conflicts (internal/external). Makes them more 3 dimensional--especially the villain of the piece, because it's all too easy to create a one dimensional shadow that's the bad guy.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

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  22. Scarlet,

    Thanks for stopping by and for saying so. Someday soooon, I hope!
    Diane

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  23. Hi Diane!
    Thanks for all the great information-- as always! Love your blog!

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  24. Sia,

    Writing a hero is a lot of fun. But writing a believable villain and giving the reader an understanding of why they are the way they are, is so much better!

    I think all of us have our dark side. Some of us are just better at hiding them.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Diane

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  25. Hi Misty!

    Aren't you suppose to be enjoying your vacation? Love your blog too! Thanks for stopping by! Now get back to it! :)

    Diane Kratz

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  26. I do love the crime/detective fiction genre. Interesting about profiling - I agree with Alex above, this is good to know for mystery writers. As, obviously, you are one, Diane!

    Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

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  27. I do like crime and suspense novels. Great background to pull ideas from.

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  28. Fascinating breakdown of profiling! A big fan of those Law and Order shows and this post fills in some gaps. Thanks! Since you write in this genre, do you ever wonder how it would be if you really worked in the law or the police force?

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  29. Lauren,

    Every writer has do to so research on whatever the topic they are writing about. I have found profiling fascinating, but nothing like it is portrayed on TV.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Diane

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  30. Thanks for saying so Susan! I love crime fiction novels. Probably why I write them. Hope you have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

    Diane Kratz

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  31. Bucksaver,



    I have the utmost respect for the men and women in law enforcement. These professionals put their life on the line everyday. If you really want to think about something scary, think about how our world would be if we had no law enforcement.

    I find their personality’s fascinating! Think about this-every encounter they come across has the potential of being their last, even something as mundane as a traffic stop. In order to do their job well, they have to always be aware of this. They see mankind at their worse every day.

    No, in my opinion, they don’t make nearly enough money for what they do. I would never consider law enforcement as a chosen profession.

    Like you, I love Law & Order (CI is my favorite). I grew up watching them all the cops. In TV cases are solved in an hour. Victims always find justice, and we always find out what the motivation was behind a crime.

    In real life, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes cases never are solved, victims don’t always find justice, and there are criminals who commit crimes just because they can, with no real motive.

    That is the great thing about being a writer. We can tie everything up in a pretty little bow. The bad guy always loses and the victims always find justice. We can tell our story from law enforcement, victim, or even the villains POV. Depending on which POV we choose, we have a very different story.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love answering questions!

    Have a great weekend,
    Diane Kratz

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  32. Ah - well - we watch every CSI or Navy CSI programme our local Spanish TV screens, so we are experts on Criminal profiling. Any advice you want, just call me!

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  33. I'll keep you in mind Lizy! :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
    Diane

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  34. Thanks for stopping by Denise! Happy you liked it!
    Diane

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  35. Excellent post as usual, Diane! Every time I read your work I learn something new. Thanks so much!
    Larissa

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  36. Hey Diane you provide such fascinating information for us to use in writing. Thanks for sharing.

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  37. I consider myself a 'Writer in Training' so I really appreciate all this wonderful information. Great blog.

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  38. Larissa,
    Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm thrilled someone likes what I write about!
    Diane

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  39. Kathy,

    U made my day! :) thanks for stopping by!
    Diane

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  40. Mary,

    I'm a writer in training myself. Someday we will both be pros! Thanks for stopping by! Arlee has some pretty cool stuff on here!

    Diane

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  41. Fascinating. I'm going to go read the post again.

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  42. Thank you Diane for hijacking my blog with your interesting topic. You did a great job responding to the readers.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by and to all those of you who took the time to leave your comments.

    Lee

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  43. Awe Lee...Thank you for having me on your wonderful "tossing Out There" blog! It's been FUN! :)

    Diane Kratz!

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  44. Hi Diane and Lee - really interesting post - I enjoy listening to the tv series' where profiling comes in and they discuss it - now when I get back to reading I must pay more attention - perhaps I do without realising it!

    Cheers to you both - have good weeks .. Hilary

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  45. I would have been a crime fiction fan had fantasy not pulled me away :)

    I love the idea of profiling in criminology. I don't think I've the smarts for it, but it fascinates me nonetheless.

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  46. Hilary and Jamie,

    Every book you've ever read has profiling in them. Descriptive data such as hair, eye, skin color, sex, etc… is the first step of profiling and what writers do to describe their characters.

    The crime scene is a setting in a book. The victim (s), profiler, and villain are the characters. Writers give them a personality and we link them to one another (the plot of the book). That's what profiling is all about.

    Professionals use big words, inductive, deductive, but basically profiling tells a story about the crime, the victim, the perpetrator. It is very inert resting stuff and I LOVE crime fiction.

    I'm elated to have had so many responses here from everyone!
    Thanks for stopping by,
    Diane Kratz

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