Justice (Deck of Lies, #1)

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The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2)

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Death (Deck of Lies, #3)

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Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4)

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Hope's Rebellion

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How Common Are Sociopaths, Really?

You find them all the time in books, lurking around. They are charming, they are sexy, they are dangerous. The hot but scary sociopath has become a common story trope. But how common is this person in life? Do you stand any chance of really knowing a sociopath…and has pop media made this way more of a thing than it actually is?

Devil's Snare

In story, the sociopath is often highly attractive, intriguing, alluring and mysterious. They are here to draw in the hero, to weave a sexy spell and ultimately, to be bested by the hero. Outsmarted and outmatched at last.

It was probably quite titillating once upon a time, but now it has become rather shopworn. Some writers combat this by trying to do something new with their sociopath. Often, a twist is employed where no one, even the reader, knows if this person is really a sociopath.

And from a statistics standpoint, probably not.

What About Your Friends?

Everyone has pretty much met someone they suspect of being a sociopath. If you want to get down to it, millions of people are sociopaths, psychopaths or have some other antisocial personality disorder. However, there are billions of people on the planet. Only about 1 to 4 percent of the entire world population can fit into one of these classifications. That's an extremely small amount of people.

At best, you will encounter a sociopath, psychopath or someone with an antisocial personality disorder at a ratio of 1:100, being very generous about it. Lots of people do not actually know, really know, 100 different people well. The chances of actually meeting and knowing a sociopath are very small…certainly, a lot smaller than all the stories out there that heavily feature such personality types would have you believe.

Fixing the Trope

People with personality types like sociopaths and psychopaths definitely make for compelling storytelling. But they don’t make for very realistic storytelling. Most readers, the vast majority of them in fact, never have and never will encounter one of these personality types.

Most people are not so easy to pinpoint. Often, people don't fit into a diagnosis or personality type. The best characters are highly fleshed out and have many different traits, both positive and others that are less so. Sometimes, it's best to avoid trying to make characters fit a specific disorder and simply write them more like real people...who continue to defy all logic and easy labeling.

Characters don't need to fit a trope or a type, because most human beings don't.

The Simp Best Friend

He's always there to wipe the tears off the heroine's cheeks, the backup date when the dream date falls through, the ear she can tell all her secrets to. He's hot in a low key way and there is no question that he's hopelessly in love with the main female character, who is utterly clueless to his affection. He's the simp best friend and…he kinda sucks. There may be no good way to put him in your story. Maybe he doesn't belong at all.



 Nice Guys Finish Last

He's in the friend zone but he's hopelessly in love with said friend, a girl who is typically under the spell of a much cooler guy. He listens to her, he notices everything about her and for reasons, he doesn't make a move until well after the aforementioned dreamboat cool guy breaks her heart.

On the surface, this all seems pretty romantic. He finally makes his move right at the end of the story and just like that, the girl suddenly sees him for the first time. They kiss at last. What a happy ending.

Except that it's not. Because this character trope is super stale and honestly, unattractive. In the real world, the platonic best friend is very rarely a super hot, totally sweet and slavishly devoted would-be romantic interest. This is something that is far more common in fiction than in life.

So…should this tired trope be retired altogether? Is it time to blacklist this guy from stories or what?

Fixing the Trope 

The simp best friend has become a super common trope in stories, and that means it’s predictable. To make your story feel less boring, some a new way to use this trope. Flip expectations by finding some new way to use this character.

It’s okay to use common story tropes, but if you use them in a new way readers will appreciate it. They’ll think they know what’s coming. If you can surprise them with what actually happens, they’ll love it. Readers like having their expectations subverted. Try it and find out how much better the story becomes when you take those common tropes and change them all around.