- by Elaine Isaak
So this morning I attended Dr. D. P. Lyle’s presentation called the Autopsy of A Thriller in which he analyzed The Terminator in an engaging and useful way, which made me look forward to his afternoon presentation on The Pyschology of Character. I just returned from that, with the exact insight I needed to make one of my antagonists really zing.
At the panel, he used some interesting tools to examine internal conflict and the arenas of psychological investment for characters (and people). He used specific examples from Terminator (Sarah Conner) as well as Silence of the Lambs, which lead to a conversation about why a negative character who achieves little or no character change would still be compelling to the reader. An audience member noted that the contrast between the great development in Clarice Starling and the subtle, but still significant alteration in Hannibal Lechter himself (that he now has found someone to respect in Clarice) actually enhances the impact of both characters. Good stuff!
Dr. Lyle is a forensic specialist with a few books out for writers, and a popular speaker at conferences. I can totally see why. If you’re not familiar with him and his work, you can find out more at www.dplylemd.com