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PostSubject: What Is This?: About the Board   What Is This?: About the Board Icon_minitimeSun Nov 27, 2016 3:45 pm

A section of the forum dedicated to helping you write good characters!
All too often, people want to play a 'crazy' character, but they end up just... off-putting and sometimes even insulting to the people that actually have that character's condition.

Schizophrenia doesn't mean a person is likely to kill you in your sleep! Post-traumatic stress manifests in a variety of different ways! Bipolar disorder is actually surprisingly difficult to write for someone without it!
Even on a more mundane scale, there are certain ways that certain people with certain traits react to things.

But no matter how hard it all is or how ridiculous it all seems, we've got you covered.

From fixations to addictions to manias to the science behind speech styles and emotional processing, we here at Ash-Shallal will help you out with all your PSYCH101-related needs.
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PostSubject: Re: What Is This?: About the Board   What Is This?: About the Board Icon_minitimeTue Nov 29, 2016 1:36 am

Yes, lets talk a short walk down psych 101 lane--as there are many disorders that have been falsely glamorized or demonized on Fh.

One thing to note is that alot of behaviors can be learned via your environment. Or someone can be conditioned to act or behave a certain away according to positive/negative reinforcement or mimicking what they see.  Learned behaviors can line up with a disorder, but that doesn't technically mean one has it, because disorders lie on a spectrum. Exhibiting ONE or even two symptoms of a disorder don't mean its etched in stone that a character has it.

For example popular disorders that end up on characters on Fh

Anti-Social disorder:
This doesn't actually mean you're a hermit, or a loner. Anti-Social disorder actually means that you lack empathy, and your moral compass is skewed because of it; generally if someone has this disorder there's no regard for other people's feelings or welfare. [Sociopath and psychopath generally fall in line with this disorder. They're definitions are almost interchangeable at this point.]

Bipolar disorder:
This is a bit complex cuz its not just constant mood swings. There can be days where things are perfectly fine, and then days when someone experiences a manic high where things are moving fast cuz energy levels are high; or a manic low when your lethargic, everything is slow, and insomnia is real. These manic periods can last days, weeks, or even months, and intersect with or manifest as depression.

Depression: This is not just simply being sad all the time, or lashing out at someone because your upset. This is also a loss of motivation. Sleeping too much or too little. Eating too much or too little. It can be directly related to seasons,  your environment, the loss of a loved one, or even something you can't give a name too. Physically it can result in aches or pains. An inability to remember or focus on things. Disassociating.  Exhaustion; and a feeling numb or irritable.

Sadism: This is literally getting off on someone else's suffering.

A sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). Narcissists have a sense of entitlement, and lack basic empathy for others unless they can use that feeling to take advantage of others.

OCD:A preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism,and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility. People with OCD are preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.This can result in not being able to let things go; being unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value. It can also result in A reluctance to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things. And Generally those with OCD are  inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or religion

Addiction: Addiction is defined as obsessive thinking and compulsive need for drugs, alcohol, food, sex or anything despite the resulting negative consequences. Addiction includes the development of tolerance combined with withdrawal symptoms. So not only can one be addicted to the immaterial things, they can be addicted to people or situations as well.

And with every addiction there's a cycle
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PostSubject: Re: What Is This?: About the Board   What Is This?: About the Board Icon_minitimeTue Nov 29, 2016 11:44 am

I learned a lot today!
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PostSubject: Re: What Is This?: About the Board   What Is This?: About the Board Icon_minitimeWed Feb 08, 2017 5:36 pm

More pointers: Writing Likable Characters

Not everyone is a darling little butter pat. Some people are genuinely caustic and want your soul.
...And then? Well, then there's everyone in between, and likability is subjective so really anyone could rank anywhere here.
But that's not what this is about. Let me tell you a story.

So I have this character, Rabbi Isaac Guildenstern. He's a salty little burnt latke type of mf who uses Torah as an emotional crutch, has a persecution complex and thinks of himself as a bag of pond scum. He also paradoxically has an unhealthily inflated ego and will debate you (in English, German, Yiddish or Hebrew) and win. And then not verbally gloat, but it feels like he's emotionally gloating anyway.
I hate him. I also love him, but it's kind of like the love a mother has for her son, the high school dropout and serial arsonist.
(That's the general feeling that people tend to have about him, actually.)
As you can see, a character doesn't have to be wholesome for people to feel attached to them.

What's my secret? Internal consistency, and some well-crafted mental monologue.
This might not mesh with your personal writing style, which is okay. BUT IF IT DOES.

So the thing you need to know is that in general, people can be seduced into going along with anything that has enough internal consistency. Take Lolita, as an example: the story of a pedophile and his obsession with his stepdaughter. Objectively, unreliable narrator Humbert Humbert is a man with an unhealthy psyche and an unhealthy fixation. But because the way the novel is written favours his viewpoint, some readers come to sympathize with him and not with Lolita/Dolores, whom he fictionalizes to suit his fantasy and in general is anything but a good father to. But people have-- people have written essays in defense of this fuck! People have argued that he was the victim, which is consistent with how he tells us about the events that introduce him to us, but not necessarily with reality.
How does Nabokov do this? What's the secret to making people defend scumbags?
Justification. Humbert is straight batshit, but he's consistently batshit, and he succeeds at making the argument that his view of events is correct. And because Humbert's monologues are internally consistent and coherent, because he presents arguments people can be taken in by, because however fucked up a character he is he's still human, people end up writing essays in defense of him.

As long as your OC is psychologically consistent, written the way s/he's written for some purpose other than edgy shits and giggles, and you can stick with your guns, you should have no problems writing scumbags that people identify with and like.
Remember, you can justify anything if you go deeper into the reasons why.
And just writing 12 paragraphs of wolfspeak from the POV of a basic edgy bitch who communicates exclusively in manic laughs and apathy won't cut it. Give me a better account of the apathy than that they didn't care! And give me more facet to the character than death and not caring.

I have a character Ayomide who has a disorder that essentially dulls her ability to emote outside of certain hormonally-controlled parameters. Although she's been kind of icy on the whole, I've gone into detail about genuine efforts to compensate for her lack of emotional processing and about her reasoning for rejecting these efforts. She has killed people and felt no remorse before, but there has been justification, and she responded to events in her life as best she could given her condition. This is crucial: people usually still respond emotionally to events, even if it is directed inwardly, as with people who cannot feel empathy.
And people, when they don't respond the way you're used to, are not malevolent by default. If you can document it and present the world to which the character responds through their lens, as opposed to your lens as a minmaxing munchkin out for tasty, tasty scrub blood via your edgy, edgy powerhouse, you are well on your way to having a complete bastard of a likable character. Even shitty, overplayed villain dialogue is tolerable if reading the character can put a person in the right mindset.

Disclaimer: None of this works if you're an asshole OOC. Then people just see your asshole characters and assume them to be self-inserts, which is generally not good for you.
If you're an asshole or standoffish or reactionary and proud of it, then I've been wasting your time.
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