by Kassandra Lamb
This week, I’m hanging out again over at Jami Gold’s place with a follow-up to last week’s post—Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Other Bad Guys and Gals—in which I described psychopaths and narcissists.
Today’s post is aimed at writers, but I think readers will find it interesting as well. It will help you know, while reading a book, whether the author actually did their research, or are they just going along with the common myths and misconceptions about these disturbed individuals.
Plus we have a new release, a collection of short stories (with a bonus novella) from Kirsten Weiss.
8 Do’s and Don’ts When Portraying Psychopaths and Narcissists
In last week’s post, I talked about various motivations that “normal” people might have for becoming villains, and also described psychopaths and narcissists—how they tend to act and what circumstances create them.
Today, I want to address some of the common mistakes I see some authors making when presenting their antagonists.
So here are some do’s and don’t’s (and a couple of can’s and should’s 🙂 ).
1. Whatever you do, don’t portray a psychopath, or even a narcissist, as having a “normal” childhood. Normal childhoods do not produce adults that are this messed up.
They might contend that their childhood was just fine, but this is either denial on their part, or a lack of understanding of what “normal” really is.
A psychopathic character may very likely have a psychopath for a parent, and that parent, or perhaps both parents, also would likely be abusive. Or one parent may be harsh and overbearing, while the other is weaker and more dependent. There are other possibilities for back stories as well, but keep in mind the two main factors: someone handed down the psychopathic genes (could be a grandparent; the genes can skip a generation) and some seriously bad stuff happened in childhood. (For more on the origins of this disorder, see The Making of a Psychopath.)
2. Don’t have a full-blown psychopath suddenly develop remorse and empathy because they fall in love. First of all, a full-blown psychopath is not capable of love as most people experience it. They may latch onto someone and believe that they love them, but it will be a self-centered, need-based attachment, with little or no concern for the partner’s feelings or needs…READ MORE
And to lighten the mood a bit, here’s Kirsten Weiss’s new release, starring her metaphysical detective’s sidekick, a sentient gargoyle with a French accent!
The Gargoyle Chronicles: A Riga Hayworth Mystery (Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mystery Book 8)
Brigitte is Nevada’s bravest and most brilliant gargoyle – and there’s no better sidekick for metaphysical detective, Riga Hayworth, when it comes to solving supernatural crimes.
In this quirky collection of urban fantasy short stories, Kirsten Weiss takes Brigitte and Riga on a series of twisting adventures and brings readers behind the scenes of the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery novels.
These thirteen stories include the new Riga Hayworth novella, The Chaotic Detective!
In “Brigitte and the Gambler,” Brigitte must protect the unluckiest man in Nevada. In “Riga and the Spirit of the Cemetery,” the pair stake out a cemetery to catch a serial killer. And in “A Tarot Tale,” we learn Brigitte’s secret history. Traveling through time and the world’s darkest corners, from the bottom of Lake Tahoe to a sinister Vegas theater, there’s no scene too strange for the indefatigable metaphysical detective and her familiar, Brigitte the Gargoyle.
If you like kick-butt heroines, you’ll love Brigitte and Riga!
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kass is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
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