The human psyche is capable of a whole range of emotions. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Awe, sadness, and envy.
However, society has determined that there are acceptable and unacceptable ways in which people should deal with their emotions. For example, you can’t pursue your happiness at the expense of someone else’s; you can’t express anger as anger would like to be expressed; you can’t just cry at the drop of a hat when you feel sad. Well, technically, the latter example is okay (compared to the potential crimes implied by the first two), but people will typically (at least silently) offer strong judgment if someone “randomly” breaks into tears.
So what are we to do with our emotions? How are we to process them in a healthy way?
Well, I’m glad you asked. That’s what I’d like to touch on today.
There are three possibilities here. The first is to pay way too much money for a therapist. But both of the other two boil down to “work out your emotions through characters in a story” (but please remember the separation between fiction and reality!), and these two options are what we will focus on today.
The Trial-and-error Method
In this method, give your character similar emotions to yours and as she goes about her day, she gives full vent to her emotions. Odds are, it’ll create a lot of narrative conflict. In fact, it is likely that the conflict will overflow to the point where you feel like things have escalated too far.
If this happens, the good news is that you worked through your emotions. Now “backspace” everything back to the point where things went too far. At this point, you can try again, dealing with the emotions in a different way (or, if you feel better, you can move on with your day). The point here is to repeat until you feel better and can move on with your day.
But there is another option.
The Go-with-it Method
This method is essentially identical to the previous one. However, the big difference here is that it makes you more easily connect fiction to real life. When your character makes things escalate too far, they have to deal with the consequences (just like you would if you’d done the same in real life). “Backspace” is too easy, and there’s no “backspace” in real life.
This is my preferred approach. In fact, hopefully, someday I’ll finish the novel I started as a result of my emotions–Swindled. I was dealing with the stress of COVID, and my wife and I came up with a ridiculous book idea. As I’m still dealing with related stresses, maybe it’s time to get back to it. Or maybe it’s time to start a brand new one, for which I have no title yet. But it’ll be related to these:
- Hidden Hate
- When Love is Hate
I really don’t like any of those titles, so we’ll see what happens. Additionally, I’m tempted to just disappear into my fantasy world for a while to deal with my emotions, but I guess time will tell.
Will you use the Trial-and-error method or the Go-with-it method?
That’s all for now. There’s not much to today’s post, because I need to work on some emotions myself; I wrote a post two weeks ago about how I’d write a little every day, and I’ve done no fiction writing since then. School and work and life have been kicking my butt. So I’ll talk to you next week. Hopefully, I’ll have had some thorough therapy time in the meantime.
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.