I hear that a lot some days. “Channel your anger/lust/angst/wangst/unrequited emo/fishcakes into something fruitful.” Whether that means writing about it, or pouring it into a burst of artistic creativity or just arranging the garden/cleaning the catbox/roundhouse kicking the shit out of something. Apparently it’s better to do something with all that energy. (Something more productive than sitting around and stewing about it, anyway.)
Some emotions probably lend themselves better to this goal than others, though. Unfortunately I’m more of an emotional stewer. I’ll bottle it up and bottle it up and every once in a while it will leak out of me. Although, I’ll talk about it an awful lot. Diarrhea of the mouth and all that. I’m one of those people that does need to talk about the same subject over and over again, much to my friends’ dismay. I will happily beat that horse dead into the ground until the stick breaks, and even then I’ll probably be kneeling six inches in the mud, hammering at it with my fist until there is nothing left. (And whee, I even found a graphic to depict this!)
No – I don’t think it’s particularly healthy. I do know some writers who can happily take all that and push it into their writing, but I have a much harder time focusing on the words when I’m that agitated. When it comes down to it, I might take some of that hurt and fantasize some scenario where I come out on top, but I can’t say my heart ever really manages to believe it – so not very useful to me.
At Romantic Times last year, I sat in on a panel where a number of authors happily cackled about taking that asshole ex-boss of theirs and essentially putting them in their book – same name, same sort of physical appearance, and making them the Bad Guy. And by the end, the Bad Guy is quite cheerfully decimated or decapitated or pushed into a ditch witch and the day is saved.
(And off the cuff, mr myn had a call a few months ago where a guy actually *did* get caught in a ditch witch…really, really *not* pretty. Guy lost an entire leg and most of his intestines. And by lost, I mean, shredded down to nothing more than a bone and some hamburger. And then he died a week later. My point being, if you really need to kill someone off painfully, this is probably the way to write it up).
I’ll admit I’ve stuck the occasional ex-boyfriend/roommate/school bully into a piece here or there, usually just a name or a feature. Small details, but nothing too obvious. But it’s usually people many years removed from me. I’d be far less likely to write about things that are particularly fresh. For one thing, while I understand that writing things down can be healing (i.e. write down some secret and burn it or whatever), actually taking a manifestation of that anger and inserting it as a major character in a book probably just prolongs the internal issue at hand. Plus it pretty much is guaranteed to live on forever in that format, which means I’d probably never be able to move on – or that it would take a lot longer.
And what happens if I don’t kill the Bad Guy off in that first book? Now I’m stuck writing him up for a subsequent sequel. Which would kind of suck. And it’s the same reason I wouldn’t write in a real person for any sort of character type. Trying to take a character I love and rectify that against the vision of the real thing never works. (And I’ve seen cases where this has happened with other authors, and believe me, the character assassination is never pretty).
In either case, I’m sure I had a point to all this, but at the moment I can’t seem to remember what it was. I’ve been writing my ass off the last few days to catch up for NaNo – I’m lucky I can put two words together coherently, so let’s leave it at that, eh? Write what you know…but don’t write *who* you know. 🙂