The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology Paperback – 30 Aug 2002
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About the Author
Katherine Ramsland holds three postgraduate degrees in psychology and has taught psychology and philosophy at Rutgers University for fifteen years. She has published twelve nonfiction works, including Bliss: Writing to Find Your True Self, and recently released Forensic Science of CSI and Cemetery Stories. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author has produced a very readable book, which goes into detail on personality disorders, character disorders and pschoses, among others, and not only reports findings on the "disorders" of the criminal mind, but also offers tips and ideas on how a writer can use both characters of "unstable mind" as well as the pschologists and criminologists who study and treat them.
Those of us who want to write about murder/homicide/serial-killing etc should definitely invest in this book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ramsland includes the liberal use of notorious examples from pop culture and media to illustrate various aspects of forensic psychology. From brief descriptions of individual assessment tools, to court testimony and strategy, she gives the writer/researcher answers to her many questions. Ramsland uses numerous colorful examples to illustrate her points, from real-life serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Daumer, to popular TV shows like "Law and Order" and the novels of Patricia Cornwell (The Body Farm) and Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal).
The Criminal Mind is written in clear, informal language, even given the necessary legal, forensic and psychological jargon defined throughout the book. This book is a must-have guide to help writers create truly human "bad guys" as well as believable mental health professionals.
My advice is:
If you are writing about forensic psychology in general read: "Dark Dreams" by Roy Hazelwood and or "Mindhunter" by John Douglas as well as "On-Scene Guide for Crisis Negotiators" by Lanceley. These books will teach you more than any how to book ever could. They have been invaluable to me.
If you are writing about a specific disorder: Browse through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders(DSM IV) if you don't know which disorder to use. After that, simply get a book about that specific disorder. Here are my reccomendations-
Dissociative identity Disorder (multiple personality)- "The Dissociative Identity Sourcebook", "Got Parts? An Insider's guide to Dissociative Identity disorder"
Post-Traumatic Stress- "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- A Victim's Guide To Healing and Recovery"
Scizophrenia- "Schizophrenia Symptoms Causes and Treatments"; "Mad in America" (this is more a history of schizophrenia in American medicine, but it is AMAZING and eye-opening.)
Addiction- "The Addictive Personality" by Nakkan. (One of my personal favorites) or anything by Terance Gorski.
And of course, get a book specific to the addiction. Just look, you'll be surprised at what's available! And, also watch A&E's show "Intervention". Seeing actual addicts will really add to your characters.
Basically, just get a specific book on what you to do. It will be much more helpful than this, which is okay, but basically just an overview. Just do a little research. Nothing can substitute for the real thing. Don't be afraid to buckle down and do a little digging and hard work. It will pay off immensly and give your work an air of truth that an over view like this can't provide. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience. Come to think of it, after this I think I'll creat a list on Listmania. I'll call it... A writer's guide to the mind. It'll have much more on it!
*And of course, all of these items are avaliable on Amazon.
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