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Thread: Opening up while writing

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by JasoninNV View Post
    Here's a more specific example. I know someone in real life that has a very rare form of a condition of the eyes.
    If I were to say create a character with that same condition, you don't find that creepy? Weird? Upsetting?
    The generalization I'm getting is to go with it I guess haha.

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    The bottom line is you can't afford to not use stuff like that if it means improving your work.

    Here's how I look at it: I don't always feel comfortable with the kinds of things I find myself incorporating. For whatever reason. Sometimes its a little close to something in real life, other times you worry about offending or upsetting people, or maybe it's just weird/creepy/whatever. There'll always be a good reason not to write about something.

    I'm a big believer that you don't pick your ideas, your ideas pick you. That is to say you don't actually get to pick and choose whether to use something your brain formulates that works, because the overwhelming chances are you won't find anything better.

    Consider a character like Captain Hook. Imagine if Barry had felt concerned about the idea of building a character around a hooked hand. It's pretty weird, right? Arguably a potential landmine (would be today anyway) because 'demonizing disabilities blah blah' but the thing is the hooked hand isn't just an incidental character quirk, it's also the entire backstory (Peter Pan cut off Hook's hand once and fed it to the crocodile) and the source of much of Hook's villainy. It might have been possible to achieve the same effect through having a peg-leg or a missing eye, sure, but Captain Eyepatch doesn't have quite the same ring to it and, more crucially, it's not the same character. With this stuff, things are usually more than the sum of their parts.

    Did Barry happen to know somebody with a hooked hand in real life? No idea, maybe not, but if we imagine that he had - if that was where the concept originated - would he have/should he have felt apprehensive about using it? What if the 'real life Hook' was actually a really nice person? What if it was his father? I would say that doesn't matter. The writer's prerogative is in embellishment and imagination. Prospective readers who don't understand that have no business reading fiction in the first place.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  2. #22
    Like I said; write what you know.
    And if you know about an interesting physical debilitation from a friend, then use that too.
    They prolly won't read it anyhow.
    Just write the best story you can, even if it is derivative of real life.

  3. #23
    Music Guru Trollheart's Avatar
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    Absolutely. In The Long Game, I have a character, a main one - possibly the main one - confined to a wheelchair, and pretty bitter about it. The reason for this becomes clearer towards the end of the novel. However the reason I've written a disabled character is, among many others, that over the last fifteen years or so I've become much more familiar with the plight of the disabled (inasmuch as anyone who isn't actually physically disabled themselves can be, as an observer really only) since my sister became afflicted with MS, and I watched it slowly take everything from her. Now, this character is basically nasty and rude, but that's not my sister. However I do know someone else, very peripherally indeed, who acted like that and was also in a wheelchair, so it's more an amalgam of her struggles with disability and his nasty attitude. I doubt either would recognise themselves (the latter isn't even an acquaintance, never mind a friend) but if she did, for instance, then I'd just say that living with her through almost two decades of her having MS, caring for her and basically doing everything - and I mean everything - for her has given me a new slant on the challenges disabled people face every day. I doubt she'd take offence.
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

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  4. #24
    Chronic pain is often a factor that is overlooked.
    Chronic pain warps a person.

  5. #25
    Board Moderator J.T. Chris's Avatar
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    See, I don't worry about this because I don't think anybody that I know would read my drivel. If only they did.
    "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" - W.B. Yeats
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