I've been doing a lot of thinking about crazy people this week -- not because the people around me are crazy -- I'm pretty sure they're not, but I'm struggling with a character in my current manuscript. She has no feelings -- does she have Asperger's Syndrome? Maybe, even thought the DSM-V has removed it, effective May 2013. "Autism spectrum disorder" doesn't have the same ring.
There could be a plot thread here -- what if my character created the diagnosis of Asperger's for herself so she could get state benefits? What happens if the syndrome is no longer in the DSM-V? Hmmm -- interesting premise but I can her you all out there yawning.
What if I make her a psychopath? What is a psychoath? "A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse."
OK, but she's not antisocial or aggressive or perverted.
Maybe she's sociopath -- ah -- now we're getting warmer. Our girl has no conscience she cannot love, she can do anything and feel no guilt. She's spontaneous, complex, and talented but doesn't care what happens to the people around her. Her goal is to dominate the people and "win".
Time to re-read The Sociopath Next Door (interesting reviews on Goodreads.... hmmm)
I recall something I read years ago -- an actress playing Salome is presented with the head of John the Baptist on a platter -- how does she react?
She recoils in horror, had to her mouth. (Cliche.)
She laughs manically. (Cliche.)
She acts as if she'd gone mad -- tearing of hair, wild eyes. (Bad acting)
She acts as if the severed head is the cutest puppy she ever saw. (perfect - and - scene).
Crazy behavior is normal behavior taken out of context...