Adventures in Writing: Negative Influences

So, I sort of missed Masturbation Monday this week, but that’s okay! It’s been stressful because I’m doing two jobs, sometimes three, at once and something had to give. 

Since I am going through an extra busy week, I thought I would chat about negative influences and how to use them in a positive way with your story writing. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, people love to be miserable. I cannot figure out why, though. It completely befuddles me. They also love to do their best to drag you into their misery and hold you hostage until you’re just as down and out as they are. 

I do my best to be a good influence to everyone. Dr. J., Oleander Plume, and I, among others in the #TwitterTribe are constantly helping one another to find the silver lining in our dark clouds. I have allowed myself to wallow in misery and let me tell you, it’s so much easier to get out of when you give yourself permission to 1. wallow in misery and 2. allow others to pull you out of it. 

When one of us is going through this, the first thing I say is ‘Remember how you are feeling RIGHT NOW, this moment, in this misery or pain or emotional upheaval’. Why do I want people to remember? Because you can use it in your story. You can write it out, pour your emotions into a character, and people will feel what you felt, what your character felt, when they read those words. They may even reach for a box of tissues and if you can get them to do that, you know you’ve hit the honey pot. 

Use the negative things people say and do around you. Give those traits to a character. They don’t even have to be the villain or antagonist of the story. There’s always one person who’s negative in your life – and if you say ‘no there isn’t’, well, I’m sorry to say, it might be you. 

I tell people I try to be good. That’s all I want in life. I want to be good. I want to do good things. I want to help people get their dreams realized. I want to pump them up and pimp out what they create from being uplifted and feeling like they can do anything.  

Are you feeling down and out like you’re being swallowed up by the darkest clouds imaginable? Write it out. Paint it. Sculpt. Do something to remove those negative thoughts outside of your mind. Use them to your advantage. Did someone say something to you that put you in that mood? Did you absorb someone else’s emotional madness and are caught in their sticky web of sorrow? Even if you end up not using what you create from these emotions, putting them to good use will help you remove them. 

You can rephrase the backhanded compliment someone said to you in a story to create conflict and emotional attachment with your readers. While I prefer lighthearted, adventurous, everyone gets happy stories lately, you’ve got to have something for those characters to fight for, to yearn for – because otherwise, it may not grab your reader by the collar and hold them there. 

I consider lots of my stories and characters to be fluffy because they tend to get what they want. Especially when I’m writing shorts here on the blog. However, they do have emotions and backgrounds. They do have thoughts and desires. So, while they aren’t all fluffy, they are full of fluff. It’s difficult to write complicated characters when writing short, but it can be done. Don’t sell yourself short.  

What is happening to you today? This week? This month? This year? Have you been documenting the feelings and events of your life? You should. They say ‘write what you know’ and we all know how we are feeling more often than not. Grab those feelings and shove them into a box, keep them ready to be used to bring your readers to tears from either pain or joy, to make them laugh out loud so people give them the side-eye on the subway. 

What are you working on that will make me feel for your characters today? 

 

4 comments

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    • drjauthor on September 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    Hooray for silver lining seekers. Great advice here for writers, Mischa! xoxox

    1. Ah, you know me – trying to help seems to be in my DNA. ?

  1. Well said, I agree using what others do and say are great ways to build interesting characters. It is a challenge to stay out of the negative murk, but as you said, use that for material too. Great post.

  2. As a silver lining kind of girl, I approve this message. ??And also it’s yet another thing I adore about you. ??

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