a study in writing bullies

From Psychology Today:

Studies reliably show that [bullies] have a distinctive cognitive make-up—a hostile attributional bias, a kind of paranoia. They perpetually attribute hostile intentions to others. The trouble is, they perceive provocation where it does not exist. That comes to justify their aggressive behavior. Say someone bumps them and they drop a book. Bullies don’t see it as an accident; they see it as a call to arms. These children act aggressively because they process social information inaccurately. They endorse revenge. [link]

I was bullied constantly from the first grade until I managed to escape high school early. I always considered school to be a form of hell, a juvenile detention program invented by a sadist that really ought to only be served to those children who had already committed some crime. I have been to twelve different schools before making it into community college. Some are worse than others, but wherever I went I had a talent for attracting bullies.

The more I think about writing my bully character for the ‘Villain Month’ event, the more I just really want to go kill someone. Which really was my reaction back in school, too. Funny (or not) how that doesn’t seem to go away.

The good side? Well, I’ve had experiences with this type of person. I know what a really, really nasty bully sounds like, the tactics they use. And my heroine has the same reaction to bullies that I did (aggravate them further and make them really want to kill you). The bad side? I don’t think I could ever empathize with them, or get into their head without feeling ill, oily. I once tried to write about such a depraved character once that I felt ill for a week afterward. So I’m researching them academically instead.

Psychology Today’s article is quite good. I’m feeling sick already.

The lengths I go for this novel…

villain: redaechyl: introduction

Redaechyl“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

Redaechyl

My least developed villain, the bully-antagonist that picks a fight and almost gets my hero executed for attacking a king’s favorite. He doesn’t even have a surname… not that I know of, anyway. I couldn’t even remember his first name without looking it up.

Here’s what I do know about him. This is the type of man that I can’t stand– I would probably kill him myself if you put me in a room with this guy for over five minutes. He’s the type that would kick over your sandcastle at the beach when you’re not looking, the schoolyard bully who will run to the teacher to tattle on a fight if it didn’t go his way, who would never miss a chance to jeer and point out your faults. Pretty, blond, tattooed Redaechyl, who wears specially made shirts and jackets to allow his large gray feathered wings the freedom to stretch and glide.

Wish me luck on this one. Just thinking about him makes my hackles rise.