One of our favourite things as authors is to create antagonists and to explore the dark side of our protagonists. We encourage writers to understand plausible causes for extreme, irrational, and strange behaviours. This helps readers identify with characters.
We like to read about the troubled, the deviants, the obsessed and the depraved. This is therapeutic. We deal with our dark side by learning about their lives – how they walk, talk, eat, play, manipulate, and work.
If we write about someone who has a psychological problem, we need to research the disorder. The DSM-IV is an excellent reference for psychological disorders. We can paint our characters in shades of grey using this book.
Often, abnormal behaviour is triggered by a life-changing crisis. This is an excellent way to start a book. If we put our characters in one of these situations, we have a story. It gives us something to build on. We understand motivations when we relate to this pain.
Stress Scale Life Change Value
1. Death of a spouse 100%
2. Divorce 73%
3. Marital separation 65%
4. Jail term 63%
5. Death of a family member 63%
6. Illness 53%
7. Marriage 50%
8. Fired from job 47%
9. Retirement 45%
If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.
© Amanda Patterson
If you enjoyed this post, read:
- Psychopath or Sociopath – What’s the difference?
- All About Writing Crime Fiction – Five Reasons to Write Crime
- Five Fabulous Tips for First Time Crime Writers
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