Writing

Write in the Feels

Dead Fred Pen HolderFor my entire life, I have always struggled with other people. I have always felt like I was being used. I have always felt like I was the “undesirable” friend. I have always felt like there was something wrong with me. If I wanted to see my friends or hang out with someone, I had to initiate it. I had to go to them. I’m sure it’s happened, but I can’t remember someone coming to me just for my company. Recently, I was reminded of these feelings.

This is why I love reading and stories. The characters within them are completely honest. They hide nothing from you and bare every fiber of their being to the reader. And they have no second thoughts about it.

You don’t really need to know the story, it isn’t really relevant to the point of this post. What may be useful to know, though, is how I deal with these feelings. I don’t make passive aggressive Facebook posts, I don’t yell and scream, and I don’t initiate guilt trips. I used to stew. I used to sit on top of the feelings and brood, wondering how the person could be such an insensitive prick, or how that person could be comfortable coming to me only when they wanted something, or how someone I considered a friend could pretty much completely ignore me. I would scream inside my head. I would hate the world. I would plot intricate revenge. I would vent to my significant other. I even tried having a mature discourse with the person who upset me afterward I’ve cooled off, as insane as that sounds.

Not anymore (Well, that’s a minor lie; I still vent to my significant other). So what do I do now? I write.

Since I’ve started writing, I’ve realized that negative emotions can be just as creatively powerful as positive ones. The characters we write and create are human (or at the very least, they share some human qualities with us); they are not always going to be happy balls of reasonable sunshine. They have dark sides. They know hate, they know fear, they know pain, and they know jealousy. All of these feelings are among the most primal things a human can feel, and therefore we can all relate to them. Even if we don’t want it to, the dark little shadow that whispers jealous, hateful things to us from behind our conscious thought resonates with these feelings. It feeds on our negativity. It grows. Not only does it resonate with every evil and selfish part of our mind, it resonates with us as a whole. No matter how hard we try to deny it, there is a slavering, angry beast inside of all of us. No matter how hard we try to separate ourselves from it, that hateful beast is part of us.

So the next time you’re angry, remember that your characters are only a reflection of the author’s own humanity. Channel the hate and write something primal.

 

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3 thoughts on “Write in the Feels

  1. Wow. EVERYTHING in this post hit home for me. All of it.

    “They are not always going to be happy balls of reasonable sunshine.”

    I really struggle with this. I worry that there is too much primal. Usually the struggle is from a place of insecurity – when I feel like I’m supposed to be writing for other people instead of just for me. I get nervous that if people are reading for escapism, do they really want to read about such a dark character? Or maybe they’re expecting some ray of sunshine to come bursting in at the end… when sometimes, there *is* no happy ending? On my more confident days, I can remind myself that I’m certainly not the only person on the planet that can identify with a lack of a happy ending – and that there are people that aren’t always looking for a happy ending in fiction; that escapism doesn’t always mean happy balls of reasonable sunshine.

    Thanks for posting – I needed to read this today.

  2. One of the most compelling and interesting characters I’ve ever read about was a crippled torturer. Inquisitor Glokta. He was dark, shat himself regularly, could do little on his own, and regularly did AWFUL things to other people. He was one of the most vile characters I’ve ever read and I loved him.

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