What does it mean for me to keep it real — It starts like this:
I love to live in fantasyland, where truth and reality take a back seat to my dream world, where keeping it real is walking in the shoes of a psychopath, a Dexter-like character that sees murder and blood as justice because he decides a particular person is evil. I find respite in the world of make-believe where the spirits of my characters lust for payback, vengeance, greed, and despise honesty and goodness. Truth is not an accepted fact born from some moral treatise, something that is not a lie, something that really takes place. Truth is something made up in my mind. That which is real is something fake. I take perception and mold it into deception, and my walls of deception are never torn a part. In my imagination, I complicate everyone’s beliefs and forge new paths of thinking. My aim is confusion, not pockets of clarity.
Then a text message lights up my cell phone: “Hey, Aunt Pat, Happy Birthday!”
My illusion dissolves. Another reality enters.
I’m writing another short story, this one about a psychopath. I try to walk in his shoes, explore what avenues of thought prompt certain behaviors, and needle my way into his life space, the total opposite of mine. I empathize. I want the readers to wander in my alternate world, and hopefully enjoy it. Like Michael Black, (listing authors in the ladykillers blog) I don’t want my scenes to strain credibility, and much the same as Lois Wilson, I want to maintain my character’s integrity. Similar to Carole Price, I want to stay true to what is important to me—keeping the psychology in the story. With this, like Hannah Jayne, I need to wrap and surround my character in an environment that keeps him real, and to share with the readers, as Sharan Newman, noted, the real story about the world I know. I live in the minds of my characters for a while, like most of you authors I’m sure. That’s when I find “keeping it real” blurs.
How do I create an actualized psychopath? What trait is the most important; what behavior most pronounced? What does he/she think about in those lonely–if he/she has one, moments? Besides reading books like The Psychopath Next Door,(Martha Stout) or Bullies, Bastards and Bitches (Jessica Page Morrell), The Criminal Mind (Katherine Ramsland), and add in Lonliness as a Way of Life (Thomas Dumm) for affect of the lonely situation, what steps would I take? I could interview a known psychopath like in Silence of the Lambs. I think the most difficult aspect of this type of research is making a list of priorities, psychological priorities in the way the pyschopath thinks; thoughts that lead to certain behaviors. Behaviors that build to a specific action.