1. R.G. Williams

    R.G. Williams New Member

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    Getting inside a characters mind

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by R.G. Williams, May 27, 2019.

    What book or books have you read that really get's you inside the mind of the character? Books that show you the inner workings of their thought process and decision making/development.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us Active Member

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    I don’t have an example of an existing book, but I think I did this pretty well in my work in progress novel. The point of view character only knows as much as the reader, meaning that they have to figure things out together, if that makes sense. There’s one part where it shows the character slowly remembering an old friend from before the apocalypse:

    Winnie… his sister… his little sister… his five-year-old, little sister… she’s dead… oh my God, she’s dead!

    Don’t know if this helps, but I hope it does :).
     
  3. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Hi, and welcome to the forum. :)

    In my opinion, most good books get us inside the mind of the character, so we get to know this person by how he/she thinks, feels, reacts and makes decisions. What sorts of books, in particular, do you like to read, or are planning to write? I'd be happy to name a few of the ones you might like—ones that contain strong characters whom I empathise with.
     
  4. R.G. Williams

    R.G. Williams New Member

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    I want to read a book that follows a characters path to insanity. A book that really gets inside the thought process of the character so you can see how his/her decision making devolves. I want to read something that makes me sympathize with the character despite their psychosis. I want to read a story about someone who goes from being completely normal to an absolute madman.
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    OMG. Well, the absolute best book I've ever read that covers this topic, is, fortunately, now available on Kindle (and maybe other formats as well.) I read it back in the early 70s, and it made me seriously doubt my own sanity by the end. It's a cracker. I haven't checked the USA Amazon site, but this is certainly available on the UK site.
    It Happened in Boston? Kindle Edition
    by Russell H. Greenan (Author)
     
  6. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Book Witch Contributor

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    i mean, Marbles is the perfect fit for it... but its a non-fiction. Its a memoir about a cartoonist who suffers from Manic Depression, and though her artwork shows her descent into madness. like its interesting to see her artwork on a normal day, and then her artwork when she is completely "gone" from reality (she kept a drawing journal and a lot of her artwork is in the book). Its a graphic novel and shows her process from being diagnosed. to being on meds, to quitting her meds, then going back to them
     
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  7. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    Most books get inside the character's mind but some are more intense than others.
    Try Thomas Harris's first book in the series of "Hannibal". It might be called "Hannibal Rising".

    But you might have to hit google and do some research.
     
  8. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    For that you might need many books.

    It helps if you separate different dimensions of characters mind. Like:
    - Character arch. The development of characters inner and outer mind during the story.
    - Character type by narrative division of work. (Protagonist, antagonist.... Start by reading about monomyth go to the characters via that.)
    - Character type by social stereotypes. (Read The Art of Character by David Corbet.)
    - Socio psychological dimension of character. (Read socio psychology.)
    - Inner psychology dimensions of character. (Read psychology.)
    - Historical, anthropological, sociological, professional, social, economical... dimensions of character. (Read...)
    - And so on....

    And get some real life experience and direct knowledge.

    You need tens of books. Several clinical descriptions about exactly that kind of psychosis which you mean. Several memoirs. Several fiction books with same kind of character. Several....
     
  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    It's not a book, but the short story "Yellow Wallpaper" I believe does this. It's been years since I read it and I can't remember the author, but it is a fairly well known piece of writing and I bet you can find it online. Good luck.
     
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  10. punkyeleven

    punkyeleven Member

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    How about The Shining? It's a classic, but parts written from Jack's perspective are nicely done and they show you how the hotel made him insane. Although it wasn't exactly a mental illness.
     
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  11. DifeTig

    DifeTig Active Member

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    Hmmm gonna have to check that one out. My memoir is about my bi polar mom and my time in school in New Olreans in the 90s, when it was still segregated. Thanks for the recommendation!
     
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