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  1. Were-Ah

    Were-Ah New Member

    Jun 4, 2011
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    Shock! The secondary character has a Delusional Disorder!?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Were-Ah, Jun 4, 2011.

    How to pull off the twist of a secondary character having a delusional disorder?

    My comic project is a comedic Haunted House story with a cast of characters that I think break the mold a bit: a succubus who is afraid of sex, a demon who studies religion and cries every time he watches the Passion of the Christ, the flighty artist mother with a secret of the Otherworld kind, my MC, the product of that Otherworld secret but with no cool Changeling powers to show for it, and . . .

    Marica. The obligatory angsty Catholic vampires, who whines about not being able to go too mass during the summer months. You know, burning hot sun and all. Anyway, she's the MC and his mother's roommate about two years before they move into the Haunted House. She explains that her ‘possessive brother’ forcibly changed her into a vampire just a little bit after the American Civil War. So she's a plantation princess, we're talking Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind kind of plantation princess. She sews her own clothes, so she has a small wardrobe of outfits straight off the Gone with the Wind screen. And she never wears modern clothes. Ever.

    To make an already long story short, said 'possessive brother' comes, finally finds Marica and is terribly confused. "Wait . . . we were born in Chicago, in the 60's. 1960's. Y'know, free love? She was just always obsessed with Gone with Wind and I changed her into a vamp because she wanted to be one too," are you seeing a pattern here? 'Cause I am.

    Turns out the resident vampire has a later in life delusional disorder. Undiagnosed by a professional, but y'know, most people diagnose themselves these days anyway.

    She shows some major features of the disorder after all that, but I've already written a small wall. So.

    My question is this; how should I show that I didn't totally pull this out of my butt later in the story? Should I drop subtle hints anytime she comes into the mainframe, like for character development? If so, do you have any good examples of how to do so?

    And even if I dropped subtle hints, I'm worried that they would be too subtle, as none of the characters have ever read the book save Marica. So the gang seeing similarities is probably out? And I've read the book almost as many times as she had, attended lectures, done reports, done countless hours of research . . . I know the book, basically. I know that few people have read the book, unfortunately.

    Thanks in advance! Sorry if I'm managed to screw up or bore anyone.
  2. Krall

    Krall New Member

    Jun 4, 2011
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    Olney, the home of the pancake race.
    You really ought to drop hints, otherwise such a revelation would come out of no where. Making the hints too direct could be a problem though - that way the reader would see the revelation coming and wouldn't be surprised when it did. You need to drop hints that skirt the issue, suggesting something but nothing too specific.

    Ideally the hints will make no collective sense until the revelation, when the reader will be able to retroactively "connect the dots", making for a good "Of course! Why didn't I realise this before!" moment.
  3. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer

    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Ideally, the hints should be subtle things that the readers doesn't catch at first, but that stick in their minds just enough to be remembered after the reveal, so they think: "Ohh! Of course! Why didn't I see that??"

    How to do that? Well, yes, that's always the tricky bit :cool:

    You'll also need to show (not just tell) who is being truthful here. If someone you don't know (but have heard bad things about) is directly contradicting someone you know well (and haven't known to be a liar)... natural inclination is to believe the latter. The other characters, and the readers, will need a compelling reason to believe the brother.

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