My Guide began really as a fanfic guide for writing about US comic characters, where 'Insanity' in used as a general excuse far too often and with no thought whatsoever, so I thought a blanket 'Do Not Use' was best. There are far too many poorly thought out comic villains as is <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
I assumed your guide stemmed from your experiences with writing fanfic and, as I stated, I understand your point. I was merely adding a different perspective.
Sure, many forms of insanity can come across well and create a very chilling read - but the best villains are those who truly believe they are acting for the noblest motives, and will justify any atrocity because their goal is more important to them than the means used to get there.
They are the best because - with one tiny mental slip - they could be any of us... Our friends, our neighbours, even ourselves... Now that is scary <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
I may not have explained it well, Faralas, but I did think about it <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
I never meant to imply otherwise, Elliot. And I apologize if my message implicated you did not explain your theory.
Any subject that is not 'understood' [misunderstood] by the general public, is usually quite chilling. I think that's where the tenor of suspense comes into play. It could be mental illness, which we, as a society tend to treat as an embarrassment rather than the disease that it is or it could be cultural differences by way of religious rituals. General society does not embrace ideas they do not a) understand; b) that requires a new way of thinking [i.e., change]; or c) that are foreign to them. Insanity happens to be one of them. And because of that, it's been exploited by many authors. So, to some extent, I agree with your statement.
In general I would say that while it is less true for other writers, even a well-researched form of insanity is still in some ways a means of excusing the villain for their actions, or at the least making those actions more palatable to the reader.
I think the point I was trying to make (and did so poorly) was that the author should not 'excuse' any behavior. If the 'insanity' issue has been well-researched and employed as a literary device, the reader shouldn't jump to the conclusion that it's being used as an 'excuse'. If anything it should add depth to that villain or antagonist (and even, in some cases, the protagonist). That's all I was saying.
This thread has certainly gotten busy! LOL There are 15 or so messages I haven't even read yet. I better get busy. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />