Monday, April 2, 2012

Sociopath Lite

In doing the research for this post, rather than develop questions, I found a sociopath questionnaire online and took it. I am happy to say, I’m considered a functional member of society, though I’d really like to see my score, not just receive a pass/fail grade. I mean, to what degree am I functional? A little? A lot? Then again, just worrying about that should tell me I’m fully functional, although mentally balanced might be the real question.

But what about the characters in my books? In all our books? While there’s no argument about bad guys being sociopaths, what about the good guys?  What about our main protagonists? Don’t they need to have a bit of a sociopathic flare to get to the bottom of a murder? Otherwise, they’d just dial 9-1-1 and turn it over to the police.  And where’s the fun in that?

So how does Odelia Grey, the main protagonist in my long-running Odelia Grey mystery series, stack up? While she’s no Dexter Morgan by a long shot, one might consider her a “functional sociopath” or “sociopath lite.”
Hide & Snoop
Coming Sept. 2012

She has regular run-ins with the law, even though the authorities are usually just questioning her or trying to protect her. She lies like a rug to get the information she needs and doesn’t shy away from reckless behavior in the pursuit of what she believes is right, choosing not to acknowledge or deal with the consequences until later. She’s a basket of anxiety when faced with guns, killers and sometimes the disapproval of her husband. She’s overweight, right there flaunting a social norm, and doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about what people think about that. Oh, and she’s a corpse magnet and is quick to point out it’s not her fault.

But even with a blush of sociopathic behavior, she’s my gal. The sleuth who started my writing career.

I recently turned in Hide & Snoop, the 7th Odelia Grey novel, to my publisher, and am working on book 8. I'm under contract for 12 books total in the series. Maybe, just for kicks, I should ramp up Odelia's inner sociopath for the last few books and see what happens. Although, I draw the line at bone saws and blood sample trophies.


Anonymous said...

Odelia is no sociopath. From what I understand sociopaths are unable to emphathize with others. Odelia definitely has empathetic qualities.

Meredith Cole said...

She doesn't sound like a sociopath--just a woman with a little bad luck and a lot of smarts, Sue Ann.

lil Gluckstern said...

Over the years, I learned that smart, creative, and educated people often test "positive" for sociopathy, because they tend to think "outside the box." With her intuitive kind of thinking, as many detective heroes, she would test that way, but she is definitely a white hat :)