1. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Character with Psychopathic Delusions

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ChaosReigns, May 17, 2013.

    How would i go about conveying that my character suffers from Psychopathic Delusions? i have realised that whilst writing my main horror piece, this vital character trait has been neglected. id like to do this without much disruption to the flow of my story.

    Brief Overview of story

    MC is a Private investigator (or believes to be) and is sent to check out a 'spirit disturbance' (he is gifted with a spirit sense) and finds himself in a large hospital like building going through a series of rooms, and after one point, where he has been knocked out and poked around by a scientist, is lead to believe that if he survives the next few weeks training he has got into the FBI. at the end i want the character to find out that the whole time he has be dosed up to the nines on medication in a sanitarium, and the entirety of the story in his mind is force fed lies to keep him quiet
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you want the reader to know as it is happening that it is all a delusion? Or is it revealed to us at the end? If it's the latter, you'd just treat it as you would if you were writing it actually happening, and the only question is the form of the reveal.

    If it's the former, I think you still have to write it as if it were actually happening, because from your character's perspective, it is. If you want us to know that it is all a delusion, then you'd have to write other scenes where people are discussing it or preparing the medications, etc.
     
  3. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Yes i do want the reader to know that this is the case. thing is, im not sure wheter to reveal at the end or let the audience know.

    the latter of the two will mean an entire reworking of the whole damned thing, which i have got to a damned well good level already, and i feel that if i put this in, it may disrupt everything i have already put down. ive also got to consider my beta reader/editor, as he has been patient enough with me so far and is as much up to speed as possible with what is written...
     
  4. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shutter Island type story?
     
  5. ChaosReigns
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    cant say ive read that... ive also been told its a bit Clive Barker like in its current form with how its been written
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it often works well to reveal it at the end -- I'm thinking of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie that was out a few years ago, where it turns out he's in a mental institution. The name is escaping me, but it was a well known movie and I'm sure everyone knows it.

    It's up to you. I think it would be more difficult to do it well if the reader knows as its happening that he's hallucinating, but I'm sure it could be done.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shutter Island!! Erebh posted as I was composing and typing. Great minds...
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    but it could be worth a shot right? ill give it a go, shouldnt be too difficult, especially as i have it split into apparent flashbacks and these rooms, it does mean that my A5 notebook is now redundant if i do shuffle it around... unless i finish writing it without the added scientist bits then put them in later

    Feel free to keep posting on the thread
     
  9. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Are you talking about psychotic delusions...? as when some one is behaving in a disorganized or catatonic manner: like behaving as though something is happening that just is not. Like running down the street yelling for everyone to run and hide because the aliens have landed.

    Because psychopathy is a very different animal. Many psychopaths are quite personable even charming, who make good impressions on people. But these behaviors are mere imitations of how they have seen normal people acting. This is what is called the mask of sanity. Psychopaths are glib and superficially charming, with a grandiosity and a need for constant stimulation. They lie continuously and are always ready for a bit of manipulation. They have a complete lack of remorse, and are callousness with very poor control over their behavior. They are irresponsible and fail to accept responsibility for their own actions.

    Psychotic disorders like Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Delusional Disorder, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Shared Psychotic Disorder, Psychotic Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition, Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder, are probably what you are talking about.

    Schizophrenia is probably the most common cause of strange and/or delusional behavior.
     
  10. ChaosReigns
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    Firstly thanks for sharing this information, its very useful, and i wish there was some way i could show you what i am doing, but im trying to keep it as far out of the interweb as possible to keep it a real possibility for publishing (at a later date)

    as of yet, i am undecided on how to play this, which is why i think i need to get it all ordered and structured. but yes it could be a possibility... the building he is in (the deluded state) does appear to be a hospital of sorts (he gets a brief chance to look out a window here) it may be that i could break it by putting references to a normal psychosis all the way through this to put the reader off. and i do intend to make it apparant schizophrenia at some point too, as there is a second character who comes in that makes him believe that what he see's is normal, yet he finds it totally weird

    unfortunately, it does appear that my MC is rather complicated, the more i look at him from this angle and how i want to pose this
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely! You should do whatever you feel is right for the story. Even if everybody on a forum said it was a bad a idea. (In which case you might want to reconsider, but if, upon reflection, you still feel it is what is needed for your story, then you should still do it.)

    You're the author. It's your vision that you need to get onto paper. You're the only one who really knows what your vision is. Don't let anyone interfere with that. The advice to take is that which is directed toward things that are in the way of expressing your vision.
     
  12. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Thanks for that, ive finished the next "section" to the original, which i will type up and send to my beta to check then i will go back and write out the previous parts again while that gets checked. im glad i bought some new red pens to scribble over my stuff with, i may need the new colour more than i thought
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to say, I'm confused by your term "Psychopathic Delusions". As Nee posted, there's psychotic delusions (whether natural or artificially induced), but psychopaths are a totally different thing. So I would strongly suggest you do some research on what it is you're actually talking about. I'm assuming you mean artificially induced psychotic delusions. The one thing you don't want to do is think you're describing something and it turns out you're out in left field and thus your story makes no sense.
     
  14. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    Exactly what I was thinking!

    I'm going to throw in with Nee and shadowwalker about the "psychopathic delusions" thing. I think it was just ignorance (lack of information) of the terms that caused this to be used instead of the proper one. As such, I think no more needs to be said on the subject.

    As far as my two cents goes, I think you should wait until the end to reveal this is all a delusion. That's a large part of the horror of the situation, is it not? You mean to rattle your audience and make them question their own realities, even if just for a minute. Shutter Island (if it's also a book, I've no idea; I've only seen the movie and enjoyed it) is something you should definitely find to get an idea of how to do this. Present the false reality to where there are no questions of its validity and slowly, up to the big reveal, start adding more and more cracks that make the reader wonder what reality is.
     
  15. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Shutter Island is the third movie they made from Dennis Lehane's novels. The other two are: Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. Which were all done quite well, although Lehane goes much further into the character motivations in his novels--which in the end makes them a bit more tragic than the movies are.
     
  16. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I like the Shutter Island take on it. Don't reveal it until the end. The reader will feel blindsided with a great plot twist! :D
     
  17. ChaosReigns
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    hmm, you guys may have sparked a pretty good idea which means i dont have to shuffle it all around
     
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  18. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    this may help you out with the psychopathic behavior.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare_Psychopathy_Checklist

    Sounds more like mind control then psychopathy. Might want to research that.
     
  19. ChaosReigns
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    i get what you mean when you say that, but what i am trying to elude to, is the fact that this guys a Schizo, without actually saying it outright... and its medically induced delusions that are warped by the schizophrenia
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or maybe "this guy is schizophrenic"...
     
  21. ChaosReigns
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    yeah... any which way its the same thing...

    getting back on topic

    how should it be played out?
     
  22. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    You absolutely must learn as much as you can tolerate about schizophrenia. You don't need to become an expert but you do need to know a good deal more than you know now--or you will look like a complete fool. The level of understand within the reading public is rather higher than was the case in the 70's and 80's. For instance, we know now that not only does schizophrenia have a genetic component but (scarily enough) it also seems to have--or may be triggered by--some viral infections. Another thing readers are likely to know these days, is that it is extremely rare for schizophrenics to perpetrate violence upon other people (other than in a tangential way: by accident) but, they are many times more likely to commit suicide than you'd expect to see in the average population.

    By knowing more about schizophrenia much of your quandary over how to portray your character within this story will be pretty much solved.
     
  23. ChaosReigns
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    i have a feeling it may be better that i finish writing it and research and add after, i dont think ill need to change much in order to make it work... ill also speak to my beta more too, he has schizophrenia, but luckily now is under control, he may be able to shed some more light on the subject from a more personal experience
     
  24. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Well, it is much harder to rewrite a story to fit what reality is actually like than it is just to research what particulars you need to write it correctly in the first place.

    I would definitely talk to your friend with schizophrenia, but the nature of schizophrenia is such that you need to do at least some research to get some (usable scientific) perspective because it messes so much with the way this person will perceived reality.
     
  25. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Glad to help, Chaos. :)
     

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