First things first: this topic is interesting to me because one of the top villains from my main series is a psychologist. Well, that and I just happen to think it’s an interesting subject.
But the point is, I’ve been thinking. If a certain set of characters in a piece of written work are meant to be realistic, I say they should show psychological perception to some degree, and be affected by it in another. But I feel this is also relevant to humanity as a whole. How does X thing make you feel? Can you be truly honest about it without actually experiencing it? If you were to experience it, how would it affect your behaviour?
Of course, this also has to do with how characters/people build their own identities in a big way. I think those are the two big elements of the mind to take into account when practicing fiction:
1. In what degree does a character react to certain psychological stimuli?
2. How do these stimuli affect their general behaviour, and in what scale?
This might sound confusing (if you’ve never read this blog before, do us all a favour and go look at one of the other posts real quick before attempting to make sense of this. Unless you’re really clever), so I might as well try to provide some kind of sensible example. Seeing how I’ve mentioned a character from my series, using him as an example seems relevant enough. Bear with me for a minute:
The character in question is motivated by a self-imposed goal of ‘curing’ any and all people around him of their ‘simple-mindedness’, which he considers anyone in the average range of intelligence to be afflicted by. The relevancy to what I just explained comes when he is introduced to the main cast of heroes, who share a belief that is pretty much the antithesis of his own: even if not everyone has a high IQ, that does not entitle ‘smarter’ people to manipulate anyone in any way, for there is far more to humanity than just that.
What Noyes– that’s the villain’s name, by the way– then experiences is something I’m truly interested in explaning, since he’s far from what one would call a ‘static villain’, i.e. his character is meant to suffer something like a constant transformation as the series goes along. What happens is that Noyes falls victim to the very thing he was ignorant of in his malignant crusade, which is to say: he comes to the realisation that, with all his intellect, he has fallen into complete neglect of the other ‘great aspect’ of humanity: emotion.
Even though Noyes had been studying psychology, he had allowed himself to become alienated to that regard after being bombarded by a streak of negative emotions, and turned to a new approach towards his field which exclusively involved the more cognitive, rational processes of the brain, so when the heroes try and reintroduce him to what could be called ‘hope’, he stops dead in his tracks and begins to think about the importance of emotions once more. At first it only makes him more dangerous, but as time goes by he gains a deeper understanding of the topic that leads to a more significant transformation of his character.
This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Did that make it any clearer, or did I just confuse the hell our of you? Shit. Well, I can’t really say I know how I would go about fixing that, so…
Man… I’ve just been out of it since I saw Tom Baker regenerate. I need to get my shit together and hopefully put up some kind of literature that actually makes sense before too much time passes.
Oh well. As something slightly more uplifting, it might interest you to know that my current NaNo outline involves a word-warring contest as an epic, climactic showdown.