)4. Insanity Is Overrated
Mostly a writer will use 'insanity' as a shorthand way of saying he doesn't know what makes the villain tick. Avoid this particular shortcut at all costs.
There are a lot of 'insane' villains out there, but you can count the good ones on the fingers of one hand.
Insanity should not be 'avoided'. It should be researched. In fact, all characters need to be researched on some level. I dislike the use of blanket warnings, Elliot which is why I'm responding to your message. I understand your point but I think there is a more important message regarding 'shortcuts'. Beginners to the craft do not always do their homework and I can't stress the importance of a well-researched character (or plotline). Therefore, if your character's motivations stem from a personality disorder, that disorder should be researched and understood by the author. A poorly researched character is (IMHO) akin to fingernails screeching down a blackboard. *shivers*
Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />