Diagnosing Writers: 8 Types of Hollywood Madness

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“We all go a little mad sometimes,” according to Norman Bates, and writers more often than most. Maybe it’s because we’re borderline schizophrenic—hearing characters’ voices in our heads every day—or perhaps it’s a side-effect from the substances we need to achieve the constant nirvana demanded by our inner muses? Who knows.

Still, there are so many kinds of crazy that it’s important to distinguish the differences. If you’re a writer, here are the types (and symptoms) to watch out for, along with a few tips to improve your daily life.

1. The Jack Torrance 

All work and no play makes this type of writer a dull boy. Keep the liquor out of reach and try to immerse yourself in more social activities to remain sane. A winter retreat with the family might sound like a good opportunity to get some work done, but if your clairvoyant son starts having bad feelings about it, take his advice and cancel the trip.

2. The Catherine Tramell

Confident, calculated, and cool as an ice-pick, The Catherine Tramell is a rare find. Even under the most stressful circumstances your heart rate rarely reaches eighty-five BPM, so don’t blame your friends and lovers if they can’t tell when life is a tad bit stressful. Instead, listen to your instincts. Try opening up to the people around you—and not just with your legs.

3. The Mort Rainey

Admit it: buying that secluded cabin in the woods wasn’t your best idea. But c’mon, you weren’t thinking straight when you signed the papers, right? Sell it off, get over the ex, and find a nice place to settle down for a while (so long as it’s no where near Shooter’s Bay). Also, since you likely suffer from plagiarism-paranoia, join a support group and learn to get over the fact that no one’s trying to steal your ideas.

4. The Eddie Morra

Alcohol is one thing, but you tend to have a penchant for some of the stronger things in life. The sooner you check yourself into rehab and realize that you don’t need nootropic drugs to be a decent writer, the better.

5. The Barton Fink

Your biggest fear may entail separation from “the common man”, but that doesn’t mean you should turn down a $1,000-per-week gig writing screenplays in Tinsel Town. If you’re ever in need of inspiration, make friends with the person in the next hotel room over and see how things go. Or on second thought, don’t.

6. The Marquis de Sade

Extremely erotic and completely perverse, you have an unhealthy fixation toward everything sexual. On the plus side, you’re extremely resourceful and will stop at nothing to get your works published—an agent’s dream! If things take a turn for the worse and you lose your writing implements, don’t feel the need to resort to blood and feces; set yourself up with a Tumblr account and start channeling that talent into a blog.

7. The Grady Tripp

This type of writer is the one-hit wonder. A constant sufferer—and complainer—of writer’s block, it takes an odd combination of pressure and personal relationships to help break the dry spell. The only advice I have for The Grady Tripp is to give up your long, wandering manuscript and try a few short stories until you’re ready to tackle a full-length novel again.

8. The Marty Faranan

If your best friend is an unemployed actor who makes a living by kidnapping dogs and collecting ransoms for their safe return, there’s a good chance you’re The Marty Faranan type. There’s also a good chance you’re involved with homicidal thugs, and no amount of advice—in this blog post anyway—is going to help you. Godspeed.

D. Melhoff

D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Stoker, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.

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