5 Ways To Write About Stalkers

5 Ways To Write About Stalkers


In this post, you will learn how to write about stalkers. These creepy characters don’t always have physical contact with the main character – but they have an emotional or psychological effect on them.

Evil often thrives online. Social media networks give cyberstalkers access to their victims. Technology gives them the power to harass or harm others.

The victim can be a stranger, someone they track online, or meet in a chat room. Someone they follow on Instagram or Tik Tok. Sometimes they become a Facebook fan.

Fiona Snyckers wrote a psychological thriller about this type of stalker. Now Following You shows how an online stalker disrupts a blogger’s life. This shadowy character puts her life at risk.

Caroline Kepnes’s classic You captures the perils of social media. A chance encounter between a young writer and a bookstore clerk leads to dark obsession.

Sometimes the target is close to the stalker. Meet Tara, a hard-working nurse and single mom. She is harassed by anonymous texts and calls. Sometimes she hears a hiss on the open line. Other times Linkin Park’s  Shadow of a Day plays.

Even though she is not in physical danger, Tara is terrified. Who is doing this? In the end, her stalker turns out to be her best friend.

The chilling tale is not fiction. It is the real-life ordeal of Tara Eade. (Watch it on Netflix’s Obsession: Dark Desires.) 

Online Obsessions

We hear of stalking experiences every day. The drama is not confined to movies. In most cases, the stalker is a spurned partner or spouse. Someone who can’t let go.

They will beg or bully, pester or plead. Whatever the emotion, it’s extreme. These stalkers seek either reconciliation or revenge. They may ‘toggle’ between the two extremes.

Read How Technology Has Changed Modern Fiction.

Silent Stalking   

Most victims are ignorant of the unwanted attention. The stalker’s interest in them is less obvious or hidden.

The victim not aware of them. They retweet everything the victim writes. They stare at their pictures without liking. They scroll LinkedIn and Facebook pages. They know where the victim works. They know everything.

Secret Admirer 

The erotomaniac wrongly believes someone is in love with them. They see ‘secret signals’ as proof. For example, a twitching curtain means the ‘loved one’ is thinking about them.

When rejected, they turn dangerous. Think Alex Forest, in Fatal Attraction. Think Jed Parry in Enduring Love.

According to Psychology Today few stalkers are psychopathic. That doesn’t mean they don’t cross the line.

5 Ways To Write About Stalkers

Create your stalker using these tips.

1. Choose a stalker type

  1. Narcissist. This entitled character believes they are omnipotent. They show no remorse.
  2. Borderline personality disorder. This unstable character may have self-image issues. They can’t always function in real life.
  3. Anti-social stalker. This lonely character is shy. They struggle with uncontrolled anger.

Read Personality Disorders – A Writer’s Resource.

2. Match Stalker To Victim

How has the stalker chosen a target? Is it an ex lover? A co-worker? A celebrity or influencer? Someone they know or a stranger?

Consider the stalker’s motivation. Do they worship the other person? Feel rejected? Want revenge? Does the target remind them of a dead lover? Or an absent parent?

Read Use Your Antagonist To Define Your Story Goal.

3. Start The Chase 

Is the stalking silent? Or intrusive? Does the stalker hide behind an online persona? Do they attack in real life?

Give your stalker a ‘calling card’. A black heart emoji in their posts. Anonymous weekly flower deliveries. Playing a song over the phone.

4. Focus On The Target

You can write your story from the stalker’s viewpoint. Or keep them in the background.

Whatever you choose, consider the victim’s reaction.

How  will they deal with the situation? An ex-wife may get a restraining order against a bullying ex-husband. But, a teenager may not be quick to get help.

Is the victim passive or a fighter? There doesn’t have to be violence, but there must be a confrontation. A face-off between protagonist and antagonist. Will the showdown be online or in a courtroom?

5. Avoid Clichés

Every made-for-TV psychodrama features a one-dimensional stalker. Someone who installs secret cameras in the victim’s home. The creep survives. The movie ends with them seeking fresh prey.

To avoid these clichés focus on theme. Does that perfect Instagram life hide something sinister? Is your story a cautionary tale?

Develop the stalker’s character. Perhaps they have an emotional wound. It  makes them susceptible to loss, jealousy, humiliation, and rage.

The Last Word

I hope these five ways to write about stalkers help you when you want to include them in your stories.

anthony ehlers Anthony Ehlers facilitates courses for Writers Write. He writes awesome blog posts and workbooks too.

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