One of a writer’s favorite things as an author is to create antagonists and to explore their dark side. It’s very helpful to understand the plausible causes for strange behaviors, extreme and irrational actions. As a reader, it helps us identify with the character and their life issues.
As readers, we love to read about the troubles characters go through. It makes us feel better about our own lives and the issues we face. We like to read about the obsessed, deviants, and depraved. It’s therapeutic. We deal with our dark side by learning about their lives – how they walk, talk, eat, play, manipulate, and work.
We need to research a character who has a psychological problem and understand the disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV ) is an excellent reference for psychological disorders.
10 Good Reasons For Your Character’s Bad Behavior
Very often, abnormal behavior is triggered by life-changing stress and crisis. It’s a great way to begin a book. You catch the reader’s empathy right away. We all have life issues, and identifying with your character is a great way to hook your reader. This is an excellent way to start a book. If we put our characters in one of these situations, we have a story. It gives us something to build on. We understand motivations when we relate to this pain.
Stress Scale – Life Change Value
Death of a spouse – 100%
Divorce – 73%
Marital separation – 65%
Jail term – 63%
Death of a family member – 63%
Illness – 53%
Marriage – 50%
Fired from job – 47%
Retirement – 45%