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A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 9/8/2008 2:01 PM PDT
Interesting idea! Making your character mentally ill could add drama to your story, because living with mental illness can lead to conflict -- the meat AND the juice of every story. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different flavors of "mentally ill." You might start by researching mental illness on the web. NAMI: the National Alliance on Mental Illness has a pretty good website. ( You could also look into the DSM (Diagnostic something-or-other), which is what mental health professionals use to make diagnoses. You can find info here: Once you choose an illness, you'll want to find out a lot about the kind of mental illness you want your character to have. There's also a lot of literature out there written by people who identify as mentally ill. I know of at least one writer who has a zine about living with mental illness -- it's called "Functionally Ill," and you can get your hands on it by sending an email to robotmad at gmail dot com. Reading or hearing from people living with mental illness will help make sure your portrayal of your character is authentic, and avoids stereotypes. From a writer's point of view, you might consider writing in the first person. Then you don't have to worry about how to "describe" your character -- you can narrate the story from his point of view. A mentally ill narrator would probably be considered an "unreliable" narrator in some ways -- that is, you would expect the reader to perceive or judge things differently from how the narrator presents them. This is a really fun challenge for a writer. For a great example of an unreliable (and possibly mentally ill, depending on your viewpoint!) narrator, read Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" -- one of my favorite books ever.
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Posted: 9/8/2008 1:53 PM PDT
It does yeah thanks hun The main charecter is not hounded by the Mafia, he works for the company as the heads right hand man. No the baddie which is the head of the company has OCD and I think I'm doing him well. I was thinking about giving the main guy schizophernia?? I'm not sure if it'll work or not??
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Posted: 9/8/2008 1:43 PM PDT
If you give him a mental illness you'll have to first of all decide what illness and how it would affect his life and the story. Is he being hounded by the Mafia? That could cause him to have a nervous breakdown. Or will he have the illness before he gets in trouble? Some stories work because the main character is perfectly 'normal' at the start and the reader sees him/her slowly cracking up. It can be interesting to watch something happening to a character that they themselves are unaware of. The best way to discrib your character's illness is to show how it manifests itself in everyday life. Best not to tell the reader what is wrong - let them find out for themselves. If this is a trilogy it might be an idea to let the character spiral out of control and then gradually get it back together. On the other hand it could be something the character copes with in everyday life. Obsessive Compusive Disorder is always an interesting one. Unless the illness adds something to the story or character it might not work. Try to find other books that have mentally ill characters and see how those authors use it. Hope this helps in some way. Good luck.
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Posted: 9/8/2008 1:14 PM PDT
The main male charecter in my trilogy is an average charecter But for the last few weeks, my head as been pulling me towards the direction of making him mentally ill. I'm not sure how yet and I'm not sure why but it has been pulling me there. Has anyone any suggestions as how I could make him mentally ill How could I approach it?? How would I describe him, make him believable?? And is it a good idea to make it something that really develops into something else?? Any tips or suggestions or critism would be very helpful. He's about 5"8, in his twenties, blondy/brown hair, hazel eyes. He works for a music production company. A sinister one, who get their own way by mafia style He has his own house and is in love with his best friend. CAN ANYONE HELP?? At all??
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