1. SleepingGiant

    SleepingGiant New Member

    Sep 30, 2010
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    Evil vs Insane

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by SleepingGiant, Sep 11, 2012.

    Small part of my story involves a character that would be considered "evil" rather than insane.

    In the small section dealing with this character, I sort of want to peek at him and give the impression that solidifies this. Yes it is important to express he is evil, not insane.

    I'm trying to break the ice at this point but can't think of the right idea to spin a web from. I'm hoping someone has something, like a good single sentence to a few sentences that just makes it click.

    I'm not asking anyone to write for me, so don't get the wrong idea. I'm just hoping for something to give me some inspiration, a good metaphor or analogy maybe. It seems a very simple concept, maybe that's why it's bugging me. It seems so simple that I keep writing and deleting the first few sentences over and over... *sigh*

  2. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

    Jul 27, 2011
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    Seems simple to me - don't refer to the character with any of the stereotypical terminology - like "insane", "crazy", "psycho", etc. If you don't bring those into it, why would anyone think he was anything other than just plain evil?
  3. marktx

    marktx New Member

    Jun 21, 2012
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    Although you definitely want to stay away from the labels, I do recommend that you familiarize yourself with how psychopaths and sociopaths think and function. In the strictest sense, these pathologies are not "insane"--they are perfectly capable of functioning at a high level, have a clear sense of reality, and they know right from wrong. They just don't care about right and wrong, don't care about the needs of other people, and they will do whatever they wish to obtain what they want regardless of the cost to others.

    To get this across in your character, I would recommend creating a scene in which your character violates the rules of empathy and fair play in order to get what s/he wants. It doesn't have to be a major thing. Indeed, the smallest act of callousness and cruelty to fulfill a minor desire can speak volumes about the character.

    If you want to read a great fictional portrayal of how a psycho/sociopath (they're really pretty much the same thing) thinks, I recommend the entire "Tom Ripley" series (starting with "The Talented Mr. Ripley") by Patricia Highsmith. The movie was great, but the books get you into the psycho/sociopath mindset better than almost anything I have read.

    You may also want to read "Savage Spawn" by Jonathan Kellerman. Obviously, he is a bestselling novelist, but he is also a clinical psychologist, and this specific book is a non-fiction exploration of how these people think.
  4. MilesTro

    MilesTro Senior Member

    Sep 5, 2007
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    Another book you could is Dexter. In the book, you will learn a lot about why he is a psychopath and how he thinks. I only watched the showtime series, but he is a great memorable character.
  5. Zombie Writer

    Zombie Writer New Member

    Sep 9, 2012
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    Question is what is evil and what is the difference between insane. We can use comparisons, i.e. Jeffery Dahmler and Pablo Escobar. Both had committed evil acts but when we examine the two, we see that they are far different in their evils or more correctly to say in their reasoning. Dahmler had sought immortality by killing, torturing and eating his victims because of a warped idea in his head thus insane. Escobar killed, maimed and tortured to obtain power and control over his growing empire.
    Both committed evil acts but only one of them was truly "insane."

    Dunno if any of that helps, but I do understand that it's important to realize the difference between the two. Evil is the acts that men do and by definition of the ones the act is perpetrated against and how society views it. Insanity is the reason why. Some reasons are far more insane than others... and again, insanity has various levels of it's own.

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