Villains: The Psychopath or Sociopath

Villains: The Psychopath or Sociopath

By: Nicole Galloway-Miller No matter the genre, every story needs an antagonist, a character who works against the hero or heroine and thwarts his or her every move. When writing a villain, it is easy to turn to the tried and true clichés of evil in-laws, serial killers, and stalkers. These types of characters make excellent villains. When creating a realistic antagonist, an author must consider the character’s primary motivation. What separate mediocre villains from memorable ones is the reason the antagonist desires power, prestige or revenge. Oftentimes these goals are the result of mental illness. Psychology is a great resource for exploring the motivations of criminals. As a writer, being familiar with some common personality disorders and how they manifest is extremely beneficial. This information can be a big help during the characterization process. One of the most common diagnoses is Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), the psychopaths and sociopaths of the world. Symptoms of this mental illness include irritability, impulsivity, deception and a blatant disregard for social norms. Often people with this diagnosis are aggressive and do not feel remorseful or guilty. They have above-average intelligence and a wide variety of talents. When creating a villain with this disorder, it is important to remember that they exhibit these symptoms from an early age. In fact, many were juvenile delinquents. Psychologists disagree about the number of types of ASPD. Since the symptoms manifest themselves in many different ways, there is plenty of fodder for inspiration. Most sociopaths exhibit Jekyll and Hyde characteristics. On the surface, they are charming and pleasant. Underneath this façade lurks their true nature, aggressive and violent. Driven by a lust for control, attention, power and money, they are expert manipulators and can often get large groups of people to do what they want. Their ultimate weakness is that eventually these psychopaths can no longer maintain the act and turn violent and abusive. Sometimes the focus of their destructive tendencies is companionship. Aware that most people are tortured by doubt, guilt and inhibitions, sociopathic individuals create a relaxing, pleasant and safe environment. They tell them their partners, want those people want to hear and appear interested in their likes and dislikes. After some time, their true nature emerges. The psychopath becomes violent and abusive, lashes out at their significant others and shatters the peaceful environment. In other sociopaths, they are social and friendly in public and at home. Once at home, these individuals turn into monsters, abuse their families, and close friends. Since most people with ASPD are suspicious and paranoid, psychopaths may bully and antagonize coworkers they see as threats. Even when on their best behavior, sociopaths are unreliable, impulsive and moody. They often nurse...

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Gifts For Writers Part I

by Ditrie Sanchez   Have you ever found yourself struggling to remember which notepad, receipt or napkin you once scribbled a really cool idea on? Maybe, like me, you have a collection of notebooks of various sizes, shapes, bindings and colorings strewn all about the house. Or maybe you’ve noticed the ideas in one of your notebooks are too scattered and unorganized to make any sense of them. As a writer, you find that much of your world is constantly changing. One minute you’re researching World War II era American military clothing, the next you’re trying to pick the perfect color for your next unholy dragon. Organizing all of these fantastic but disparate ideas while not wreaking havoc on the naturally random creative flow is a skill every author needs to hone. Thankfully, now there is a tool to help.  The revolver journal, which is much less violent than it sounds, is basically a Transformer (lasers sold separately). Now, let’s say that you’re busy working on your military drama piece but out of the blue you think, egads! Coral blue is the perfect color for my giant metallic dragon of doom! With the revolver journal, all you have to do is fold it into your fantasy journal and copy it down. You don’t even need to leave the couch! Consider it the Rubik’s cube of journaling. It’s color coded, switchable and makes you look really cool at parties. Or nerdy. Same thing, really.   In the writing world, we are expected to write what we know. This means that if you’re writing about a subject and you don’t know anything about it, it’s time to do some research. Now, research can be done in quiet libraries whilst poring over various tomes of knowledge, or it can be conducted at home through the comfortable, if somewhat detached resources of the world wide web. However, the most effective research comes from hands-on experiences. Live interviews, taking tours of story locations, learning to use the tools of the trade that a character should know. Of course, this puts a certain group of writers at a researching disadvantage right off the bat. Science fiction and fantasy writers are no more able to visit their worlds or shoot their laser blasters than I’m able to sprout beans out of my nose (believe me, I’ve tried). However, I’ve discovered the one thing that can be a game changer for this poor, disadvantaged group of writers. And it comes in the form of a pen. A ray gun pen, to be more specific. (pyew, pyew, pyew!) Now science fiction and fantasy writers alike can revel in the chrome and lacquered goodness that befits any proper hero...

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Don’t Hide From Your Story!

It wakes you up in the middle of the night. It nudges you on the drive to work. Inside of you, somewhere in the dusty recesses of your mind, an idea is itching to be brought to life. You have a story waiting to be told, a story the world needs to hear. So why are you sitting here reading this post? In the time you’ve been Tweeting, updating Facebook statuses and surfing the internet, you could have written the first paragraph of your next best-selling novel. This is the problem all writers face at one time in their lives. Having the chutzpah to write every day come rain, snow, sunshine or zombie invasion is no small order. When it comes down to it, you’ve got to learn how to psyche yourself up to write. Here are a few ways you can do that: 1.) You will never have the time to write. Make the time. Pencil it in your calendar. Set an alarm. Stick a post-it note to your bathroom mirror. Do whatever it takes to get it done. 2.) It’s okay to write crap. That’s what first drafts are for. Even Stephen King writes first drafts. Say what you need to say and get it out. You can clean it up on the rewrite. 3.) Reward yourself. Writing is hard work. Recognize your accomplishments and use that as motivation to move forward. 4.) One day at a time. You will not write the best American novel in a day. Break down the project into smaller, bite-sized bits that you can achieve a day at a time. Don’t try to swallow an elephant. 5.) Build community. Stay in regular communication with writers and other creatives that motivate and inspire you. Feed off of each other’s energy. Spur each other on to greatness. (But remember, spending five hours chatting and zero time writing does not count. That, my friends, can be filed under procrastination.) Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms to the Writer. The mind of a writer is a cramped place, a barely contained cacophony of images, sights and sounds, ideas and things. But, what happens when the whirlwind stops and the dreams fade to the background and the words… don’t… flow?   A professional writer doesn’t have the luxury of writer’s block. That’s something you throw up when you’re a student and would rather go have a beer or six with friends. If you want to be paid to write, you become an adept in self-entertainment and finding inspiration. Every hour you sit and stare at a screen waiting for inspiration to strike you like lightning is an hour you’re not being paid. You might have better luck waiting for the lightning strike. So go make your own inspiration.   Literary history is littered with a cast of nefarious writer-types of dubious moral standing, plagued by psychological trauma or just plain weird. Learn about them – that maybe inspiration enough right there. A writer like Hunter S. Thompson might wander off after munching some mescaline and try to find a fountain of whiskey, upon discovery declaring it a fountain of youth. That works for him. I don’t recommend it for everyone. In fact, I don’t recommend it at all. Charles Bukowski (a personal favorite) might suggest a trip to the racetrack and a six-pack of watery American beer. Though it’s somewhat safer than the mighty Hunter S. Thompson’s idea of a good time, it’s still probably not for everyone.   I personally like Toy Stores. They’re packed with colors and shapes and sounds, all of it vying for your attention. It’s stuff designed to grab the attention of children with short attention spans. The flood of imagery and marketing and icons and logos will make you wildly agitated and confused. It’s good for you. You can’t help but subconsciously internalize some of the concepts. If a toy store visit doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, you’re not paying attention.   There’s always the bookstore… well, one less bookstore option these days, but there are still some out there. The shelves are backed with words and colors, images – all designed to hook you. Wander through your favorite genre section. See what’s being displayed in the end caps.   Something I think most fiction/creative writing professors would balk at (or at least deny most vehemently) is that you can get a powerful education in writing by listening to music. Perhaps not Lady Gaga, but tick-tock back a few decades and we see some lyrical brilliance, stuff that’s still sloshing around in the cultural consciousness. Though not a huge fan myself, Bob Dylan can...

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More Fiction!

You guessed it. We’re hungry for fiction! Spectacle Publishing is expanding and looking for full length manuscripts to publish. You’ve got one. We know you do. Polish it up and in the meantime send us a query! What we’re looking for specifically: Full length novels (70,000 words or more) Any Genre (but Halloween and Holiday books would be nice too!) Original, character driven stories in compelling settings. Stories that make you think. No clichés (unless they are damn clever) Remember: Do not email us the manuscript. Query first. These sites will help you write your query: http://www.poewar.com/how-to-write-a-query-letter/ http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx http://www.charlottedillon.com/query.html Spell-check your work! Take the time to read it over before you send it. Send us only your very best work. We want to publish your work, but we also want it to be successful. Our editors take great pains to make sure your work gets a fair review. If they like your work, they work with you, becoming a creative partner, getting your work in the best possible shape for success. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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