Saturday, November 13, 2010

PWELGAS and 7 Deadly Motives

All right, so you know from my last post that PWELGAS is an acronym for the Seven Deadly Sins (or Cardinal Sins).

When it comes to writing mysteries, there are only so many motives... there has to be a good reason for the victim to be killed, or readers will put the book down and not pick it up again.

Reasons for murder in mystery fiction can fall to some of the following:
-serial killer - psychological
-blackmail or some form of self-preservation or to prevent a secret from getting out
-heat of the moment - crime of passion

It strikes me that most of the above - plus the other motives for murder that I have not mentioned here - fall under the Seven Deadly Sins list, or PWELGAS if you will.  Just a reminder, the Seven Deadly Sins are:


I cannot imagine sloth being a motive for murder (but who knows?); however, the remaining six sins all strike me as good motives in one way or another.

My question to you is: do you have a favourite murder motive in crime fiction?  Does murder for one reason over another elicit sympathy for the villain, turn you off, is one motive harder to believe than others?

Let me know your thoughts on motives and the Seven Deadly Sins.


  1. My favorite motive is power and greed.
    The more horridness the murder is, the more I want him caught… so that means I pull for the protagonist even more.
    Unless the protagonist is the murderer then I will probably put the book down.

  2. Jeff: I'm guessing that power/greed play a role in the book you are working on? How is the writing going by the way?