As a writer, I use character quirks from real life to develop my fictional characters. I have encountered in real life, a character that is the most outrageous personality type that I have ever seen. This person would make the writers on "Desperate Housewives" blush with shame. Now from a writers point of view, this is a gold mine of material, BUT, nobody would believe that this character could ever possibly exist! Any advise out there as to how to use this character type in a credible way. Characteristics include, chronic lying, getting people fired with no cause, undermining normal business processes, creating false emails, and on and on....
Sounds like a spy, or an agent provocateur. Why would they lie continually (insecurity is boring) intelligence agencies do it all the time. Why would he want to get someone sacked? Unless of course he was trying to isolate someone, or ruin their business/livelihood.
Oh there are lots of twists going on here, but I think I should develop this story before I discuss it any further. My creativity is jumping up and down right now, so I don't want to miss out on this.....
Sounds to me like you've got a real money-maker and you are already on the right track, i.e.: change the names to protect the guilty, use the corporate background setting, write up everything you've seen and heard, and call it fiction even though you know it is not.
And, of course, it is your societal responsibility to give the readers what they want at the end of the story. Along with all the other misery you can think up for him, maybe have him end up in prison with a 240 pound cellmate named Bubba.
If he is unbelievable as one character how about trying to split up the character traits and make him into two or more characters. This will help to disguise the him as well in case he is not too happy at being portrayed in the way you might want to write it.
I thought about the splitting up character trick. But I just wanted to find some way to capture my jaw dropping, stunned, "I just can't believe I heard that?" kind of reaction. Splitting up the character would dilute that feeling.
I'd go for farce with this character, like people have advised. For inspiration, see the Sot-Weed Factor, Confederacy of Dunces, or Catch-22. All have countless examples of the unbelievable and comic becoming poignant commentary about serious subjects like war, history, personal responsibility, etc.
The strength of your farce will lie in the complexity and accuracy of the analogy between the character you write and the human condition this person you know manifests. Don't, however, expect all of your readers to understand the analogy without help though. This doesn't mean explain things explicitly, rather, think of ways to creatively hint at what you are really talking about. It's more rewarding to discover than be told, and it's this discovery of the subtler meanings that will leave the reader with a lasting connection to your character and story/novel.
Also, when considering this person you know: notice what they choose to be self-aware about and consider why. Often times we create inventive ways to manipulate other or simply distract ourselves and these are two very different enterprises set out upon for distinctly different reasons. Think about this person you know and meditate upon the underlying reasons why they are the way they are.
Lots of good ideas from others. Hopefully mine help too.
Thank you for some great insight on this character. I am a firm believer of letting a situation be discovered. This character is extremely manipulative with a very scary lack of remorse. Myself and others still find the boldness and inventiveness to be quite disturbing. You know the feeling you had when you first heard about a chainsaw murder, you have a hard time believing the situation because it is so beyond the norm. I have a very intuitive personality, especially for recognizing aberrant behavior, so the character saw me as a nemesis. I would readily call his bluff, but this would cause a massive escalation in his bad behavior.
But all that said, I just have to develop this fictional character in a wonderful thriller mystery... Thanks
If I were trying to do that I'd make I'd factor in/explain some of the traits of one of clinical disorders, "personality disorders". I'd find a way to work in some of the traits, work in the ways that a person with a personality disorder (like narcissism) can sometimes seem very normal, and then work in the ways they stray way off from what's normal.
There are people who do have a personality disorder and who do do the kinds of thing you're describing. It is hard to believe that they can be the way they are or do the things they do, but they're real. Explaining it (or subtly working it in that this is the root of the person's behavior) would probably helpmake the character believable (and give yet further "color" to the development of that character).
Thanks Lisa HW, Yes I think you have a great point here. The psychology of the character is very much the root of his problems. And yes we have seen narcissism, paranoid tendencies, revenge, and creative lying that would make your head spin. So by using a protagonist in the story that explains the psychology of the character, this would explain a lot of the unbelievable. Thanks for your insite, very helpful.