I'm obviously ONE of those, possibly two... Certainly not all three... misattributing inclinations aside.
I am a writer, so I KNOW my ABCs. I am a statistician, so I probably am okay at COUNTING. But apparently I don't know my days of the week... or something like that... It's not very surprising really. My friend Natalie used to tell me I was the smartest person she knew who couldn't tell left from right.
What am I talking about? Let me e'splain... SUNDAY I did a non-lettered blog because I was going to feature Lee Libro on Tuesday... As you can see from the side bar, I am featuring Lee on the 15th... until yesterday morning I was COMPLETELY convinced that TUESDAY was the 15th. I moved forward with my faulty thinking, and now I HAVE to figure out a day where one of my writer guests can double up with a letter.
So while I LIED to you, it wasn't intentional. And while I'm a lunatic, that isn't the whole story. But I am definitely 100% LOOPY.... so here we go... L. And why NOT talk about liars, lunatics and loopy people? As characters they have definite uses.
Lying isn't ACTUALLY something that comes naturally to me... it doesn't occur to me. Lies of omission maybe—there are some things I prefer to avoid dealing with, and keeping quiet works to that effect sometimes. My husband swears it's still a lie, and it is, but I figure there is a distinction, because if I am asked something straight up, I ALWAYS fess up.
So I hadn't thought about lying characters very much... manipulaters? Sure... story skewers, yeah, but liars? HOW LIBERATING! It was Elizabeth who opened my eyes... Her advice? All the suspects in a mystery should tell at least one lie, she said. BRILLIANT! What makes someone look more suspicious than being caught in a lie? NOTHING! Yet there are a LOT of reasonable reasons to lie. A person might be embarrassed about something. They might be protecting someone. They might be like me and just sometimes think it is easier to not say anything because they aren't prepared for the can of worms it would open.
Yes, mysteries definitely need some liars.
Some people just perceive things wrong... they make faulty assumptions, or their working vision of how the world works is wrong. I LOVE characters who are living under a faulty understanding of the world. I think the most brilliant portrayal of that is Humbert Humbert of Lolita. He is a pedophile... a child molester. Yet he presents his helpless state as if he really believes he can't help himself. He is so horrible, but he hasn't a clue—it is amazing writing. And in the end, he finally has some inkling of the devastation he's caused... sure, he's feeling sorry for himself, but you get the idea his pain includes some self-realization that hurts a lot.
I think other psychiatric disorders are equally interesting. The books I've read that include dementia are often BRILLIANT. Depression is depressing, of course, but if there is a working through of something, it is also profound. Likewise with addiction. I think crazy people are among my character favorites...
You know what REALLY bugs me? A book where NONE of the characters have a sense of humor. I don't care HOW DARK the book, if the book is devoid of smart alecs, goof balls, or ridiculous shenanigans of any sort, chances are, it will not be nearly as dear to me as a book which allows a chuckle now and then to release the tension.
It's probably because in real life people who take themselves too seriously wear on me. They make me tired. I have some I love (my mother, for instance) but they are SO HARD to spend much time with. So likewise, in books, I'd like either a few relief characters, or else a humorous angle to the personality of the MC.