RPG Forums Online

Article - A Word on Pariomisia

A collective resource for students including links to helpful ideas, great tips, writings by various sources including our instructors, lectures and seminars.
User avatar
Ninmast
Lil' Miss Martyr
Posts: 12854
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:44 am
Contact:

Article - A Word on Pariomisia

Postby Ninmast » Fri May 15, 2009 2:33 am

A WORD ON PARIOMISIA



    Little Suzie, her parents had called her. Always Little Suzie. She hated them for it, even more so when she entered early adolescence and her powers appeared. Her parents didn't know and she kept it well-hidden, but how infuriating it was to have such power and to still be called Little Suzie! Her parents didn't know, but she'd show them … She'd show them as the shadows solidified around their wrists, bound them to the bed posts and she lit a simple match and burned the house to the ground.

    No one would call her Little Suzie again. She had made sure of it.


More than a few would consider this an excellent background for a character. Unfortunately, it isn't. It is overused, overemotional and overdramatized. It is tacky and self-absorbed. That's why today, I'd like to have a little word with you about Pariomisia, otherwise known as, “I want my mommy … dead!”

Pariomisia, or an intense hatred of parents, is not a plot device. It's not a cool little standby for making a colorful character biography. It's not even the natural reaction to a normal or even abnormal childhood. It is a disorder, and unless your character is clinically insane – which nine times out of ten, it shouldn't be – this should not be a part of your character background. The goal of this writing is to outline three different ways that Pariomisia can strike a character background and how you can overcome it.

The first style of Pariomisia is also the most innocent. It is also less that of the character and more your own suffering under the disorder. In this scenario, nobody murders the parents. Instead, they die in some horrific crash, perhaps Suzie was the only survivor, somehow miraculously completely uninjured, or perhaps she was somewhere else. Either way, Suzie met with one of three results. She was shipped off to live with mean caregivers, which usually translates back into another form of Pariomisia we'll get into, she blames herself for the entire incident regardless of how much of a hand she did or did not play in it and devolves into an angsty, self-butchering emo, or third, she runs off and grows up on her own without outside involvement and grows into a reclusive near-animal.

The solution to this first version is simple and serviceable. When Suzie comes into a new home, and she will, foster parents, even next of kin, are selected very carefully in order to provide the best, most stable home for the child. All you must do is reflect this accordingly. Some ideas for it to still influence the character are perhaps the last thing they were talking about was an important cause to the parents, and Suzie takes it up when she becomes old enough, or goes into science to try to find a solution to keep accidents like that from happening again. Perhaps she even suffered some sort of injury, perhaps became a paraplegic, or was terribly scarred, and turned to science to find a cure.

The second style may seem very similar, but it has far different contexts. In this scenario, the parents are brutally murdered by a third party and the child is present to witness it or arrives soon after, but for some reason isn't also killed, which is never explained. They grow up to become hateful, spiteful and distrusting and generally hunt the perceived cause to oblivion. Unfortunately, the successfulness of this particular method depends entirely on its uniqueness and a core stiff enough to avoid spiraling down into hate and spite. Batman pulled it off. You're not Batman.

Does that mean this background can't have its uses? Not at all, but make sure it actually serves its purpose. Recently, I read a character where it was mentioned in passing, like getting the newspaper, and then moved right along without it ever actually contributing anything to the character. It was a null point, empty, devoid of meaning. He might as well have lost a rock for all the effect it had on him. It was a space-filler, nothing more. It has become more a perceived mandatory than an actually contributing portion of the story, and this should be avoided. Use it as a last resort, and then make it count, make it mean something to the character, make them stronger for it. Don't leave them to angst away in a corner.

The third and final style of Pariomisia involves the child, herself, ruthlessly slaughtering her parents. This usually occurs at a young age when the child first begins displaying their powers or psychoses, such as with Suzie at the beginning of the paper. Usually the motivation is something simple, a misinterpreted goodwill or the parents were cold and apathetic while the child was beaten on in school. Typically, however, the natural response is not to commit mass murder. The concept that this is a natural, normal reaction has gotten drastically out of hand and this is by far the most unacceptable and overused background out of the three types of Pariomisia.

Many children deal with parents who they believe to be uncaring, simply because that's the nature of the flawed perceptions of children. None of them commit mass murder of the entire family and run off to become genius superwarriors. The ones that actually are the children of neglectful parents are often taken out of their custody long before such an event occurs. The small, virtually nonexistent percentage of children living under neglectful parents who successfully kill the entire family are immediately tracked down and placed in protective wards and administered psychiatric help. No, you are not going to run off and hide in the woods. At eight years old, you're not that clever, however much you may believe yourself to be. The adults are smarter, you're not the first runaway kid they've had to track down, and they WILL find you.

So I've provided usable methods for the other two backgrounds and I promised to do so for all three. How can you use this third background theme effectively? Use it as a spring into growing up in a mental institution, medication, shock therapy. Perhaps he was hearing voices that told him to kill, kill, kill, and all this time, they had him labeled with schizophrenia, but it's really demons, and they possess him and their powers become his powers while he's possessed, have a nice Jeckel and Hyde going for you there. Or maybe he really was insane and he's an escapee. Whatever the case, make sure there actually is a cause and the character didn't just snap and get off scott free.

That's three problems and three solutions, but don't let that convince you that you can use these backgrounds out of hand just because you have some examples of how to do it right. The wholesale murder of an entire family as a keystone to a character's background and resulting personality should only be used as a last resort, regardless of how it is done. It should not be a convenient stand-by. Other background themes should be considered first, such as growing up rich, growing up poor, growing up normally, perhaps a private school, perhaps something big happened in public school. There are literally countless options out there available to you, so make sure you use them. However, if you feel you absolutely must resort to Pariomisia, I hope you listen to this guide and that it helps you do so tastefully and realistically.

Thank you.

Ninmast
<center>Image</center>
User avatar
Alias
Explorer
Explorer
Posts: 1622
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:10 am
Location: EST (GMT -5)
Contact:

Postby Alias » Fri May 15, 2009 3:19 am

Just out of interest, where did you get the term 'pariomisia'?
<center>Image</center>
User avatar
Ninmast
Lil' Miss Martyr
Posts: 12854
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:44 am
Contact:

Postby Ninmast » Fri May 15, 2009 3:22 am

A lot of research on the different parts. It was as near as I could come to the word I wanted. Pario literally means parent or parents, and misia is an intense hatred of something, much like its counterparts -phobia and -philia in intensity.
<center>Image</center>
User avatar
Alias
Explorer
Explorer
Posts: 1622
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:10 am
Location: EST (GMT -5)
Contact:

Postby Alias » Fri May 15, 2009 3:27 am

I wont impede your creativity, but I'd suggest spelling it out in the title, and giving the definition in the first line of the article. Otherwise the title isn't... clear, and a lot of time the title is what convinces someone that what they are about to read is relevant. I'm coming from the perspective of scientific articles, but I think that convention applies here as well.

"The Ins and Outs of Familial Slaughter in Character Background" or somesuch. Maybe. "Pariomisia" does sound less morbid though.
<center>Image</center>
User avatar
Ninmast
Lil' Miss Martyr
Posts: 12854
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:44 am
Contact:

Postby Ninmast » Fri May 15, 2009 3:32 am

I wanted to emphasize the impression that it's a clinical disorder rather than risk making it sound appealing, and then I explain in the first paragraph what it is.
<center>Image</center>

Return to “Library”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron