3 ways the author temperament hinders our writing – post at Authors Electric

aecharsCharacters and personality. Not the ones in your books: I’m talking about you, the brain that’s parked snugly behind your eyes and the temperament that feels the urge to write. Sometimes our human wiring is not ideal for creating the kind of havoc we need for stories – which is quite amusing in its own way.

Anyway, I’m enjoying this conundrum today at Authors Electric – do jump the gap and see.

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  1. #1 by Viv on May 11, 2013 - 7:42 am

    I seem like a mild-mannered, kind-hearted writer till you realise I tortured and crucified a much loved character almost to death but certainly into profound and lasting PTSD.

    • #2 by rozmorris @NailYourNovel @ByRozMorris on May 11, 2013 - 1:20 pm

      Viv, why does that not surprise me? I always suspected you had a vivid red inner life…

      • #3 by Viv on May 11, 2013 - 3:28 pm

        The Moth’s Kiss that was launched last night with much partying is full of some of my inner darkness. Some was written in the wake of some horrible betrayals, as catharsis.
        I even managed to shock myself.

  2. #6 by philipparees on May 11, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    I wrote a longish comment on this but it has disappeared, or not been approved? On an alternative tack to that original… I always felt Fay Weldon’s dreadful gum-booted not to say jack booted women , country witches, double bubble were all constructed out of fantasies of what she would herself be like if only she dared. She didn’t dare ( well not wholly) and put them in books instead. To quote a famous ‘We must learn to dream gentlemen’…I have a whole episode of ‘Hustle’ just awaiting combing out!

    • #7 by rozmorris @NailYourNovel @ByRozMorris on May 11, 2013 - 2:02 pm

      Hi Philippa – I just found your comment on Google Circles – and indeed have answered it. I was rather surprised it was even possible to hold a conversation there, but that possibly betrays my disinclination to use it as a platform.
      Gosh, it’s a long time since I read a Fay Weldon novel. I remember liking her prose, but not her rather superior attitude.

  3. #8 by Carol Riggs on May 11, 2013 - 3:30 pm

    I went forth and visited! Best wishes on your upcoming book–it sounds like a great food-for-thought, braingear-turning kind of read for writers. :)

  4. #10 by philipparees on May 11, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    I have some good stories. She was a near neighbour for awhile. That TV adaptation about a wife’s revenge (Cant remember the title…) so carefully ingeniously plotted and pretty well fail safe. Terrifying. I think Dennis Waterman played the out of his depth husband whose wife could have devoured him for breakfast but instead systematically dismembered and eviscerated. Quite a lot looked realistic

    The superior attitude? That was revealed in many ways .remind me when we next meet.

    • #11 by Viv on May 11, 2013 - 5:23 pm

      Fay Weldon’s She-devil (life and loves of) rings as bell.

  5. #14 by acflory on May 12, 2013 - 7:32 am

    I really enjoyed that post. Tried to comment but couldn’t find where blogspot hides it. In writing about my aliens I had to unleash my inner psychopath. Some of the things I came up with are so horrible I actually worried that readers would think I was a real psychopath. :(

    • #15 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on May 12, 2013 - 5:49 pm

      Blogspot is not the easiest platform, at front end or back. Glad to have your comment here!
      I was talking to Joanna Penn the other day about the dubious things we do to characters, and how friends look askance once they discover how brutal and lurid our imaginations can be. But readers don’t always want to stick with safe characters. They like to explore the edges of human experience, and that can mean nasty people..

      • #16 by acflory on May 13, 2013 - 12:10 am

        lol – I’ve been fascinated with nasty/broken people since I read Crime and Punishment at the age of 12. Then there was Raistlin, the not quite 100% evil mage I fell in love with through the Dragonlance books. And Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy 7 games, and…

        -cough- Yes, I certainly haven’t stuck to nice, safe characters. :)

      • #17 by Debbie on May 13, 2013 - 3:43 pm

        As I said on the AE blog, I drag my poor characters through hell and they come up fighting. I seem to have no moral compass at all when it comes to devising ever-new depths to plumb in fiction. But that’s real life, isn’t it? You can’t just write the nice bits. I was so worried what people would think and say about me but when I finally “came out” locally with paperbacks (as opposed to be an anonymous ebook writer), I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction. Readers don’t think I’m a closet freak or some kind of psychopath at all – they are quite able to make the distinction between fact and fiction.

  6. #18 by philipparees on May 12, 2013 - 8:23 am

    Acflory’s comment reminds me of a role play exercise ( and isn’t role play what all fiction writers are into?) that a post grad group at University was requested to formulate ( a teaching strategy it was supposed to be) and we played it so convincingly ( and thereby illustrated the hypocrisy of the course’s professed ethic…making allowances for adult lives… when measured against its actual practices…holding to deadlines and penalizing late essays) that we were almost kicked out! Severe measures and disapproval all round…

    So it amounts to ‘you have the licence to write/think/imagine anything but not so well that you implicate yourself. In short ‘do it but not too well’!

    • #19 by Roz Morris @ByRozMorris on May 12, 2013 - 5:51 pm

      Ah, but is that the difference between an experience broadcast in public versus one communicated in private? On the page, it’s you and the writer. No one need know how deep it goes into the corners of the psyche.

  7. #20 by philipparees on May 12, 2013 - 6:04 pm

    A fair distinction you draw, but there was a lesson for the course organisers ( and by analogy for writers) that if you offer liberty ( to yourself or to others) be prepared to pay the price in opprobrium or applause! The ‘performance’ was not to the public but the closed group under instruction and supposed to benefit, not upstage the tutors ( who were livid) Writers often face the same kind of lesson, upside down, hoisted on own petard…

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