How Writers Write · Musings · My Writing

Deep Thoughts From a Writer in Pajamas

Writer in her PJs

Today is a sleepy day. I have a headache. I’m tired. It’s one of those days that could easily slide by with no writing getting done…especially since it’s already nearly 3:00 P.M. and I haven’t done much of anything. True, it is a Saturday. But if anything, that’s why I SHOULD be writing…

Sigh. Gotta do it. Just gotta. That is why I sat down to write this post. I thought to myself, “The least I can do is write a blog post.” I felt like having a list of followers, even a few, helped me – helps me – to be accountable.

Today I checked the stats on my blog (for pretty much the first time). I found out that the most popular posts are those that have some psychological aspect to them, such as my post “Confessions”, which is more personal, my post about the psychology of writing one’s gender opposite, and also my posts about writers helping others writers. People want to read about things that will help them, and things that will connect with them. They want to find something out, get help with a problem, or feel something – to walk away from a movie, book, or what-have-you and not be able to forget it, because of how it made them feel.

I am a big feeling person. It’s hard in this tough world. I always want people to pour out their hearts to me and I really like pouring out my heart to others. It makes me feel closer to people. It reminds me of how immensely I love them. And when it’s responded to with their own heart outpour given back to me, I feel loved, grateful, helpful, and satisfied in life.

We all need that human connection. We all need love. Without it, life is a meaningless train ride of passing landscapes and people that die and never come back. It’s just…not as satisfying. So we try to find love in this world. We are always trying to find it. Even those serial killer crazy people out there want it, in my opinion.

So today my question is, what makes people feel certain ways. What motivates people. I took a sociology class once and it posed intriguing, rare questions like this. I studied the psychology of people waiting in lines for one essay and it was lots of fun. Gave me perspective. Psychology likes to give names and theories to how people tick. I only took one Intro Psych. class in college; I would have taken more if I’d had more credits to spread out and less requirements to fulfill. But I don’t think psychology and science are the only ways to find out what make people tick.

Honestly, I think going out there and living life is how you will gain understanding of why people do what they do. This has been on my mind lately in the book I’m writing. It’s the second draft of an epic fantasy, so there is a lot of plot and action, and sometimes it is a struggle to figure out how to develop my characters’ relationships with each other while still keeping up a good pace.

One writer friend of mine in my critique group said something to the effect of,

If you have to make your characters stop and talk just to get character development and relationship, instead of having them grow as the story moves along, then you’re doing something wrong.

I thought about that. It made me feel guilty and angry and sad. But it also inspired me to make my writing better. Sometimes I think my writing is good, but with all the changes my second draft is going through, whoa…I don’t know anymore, sometimes. (Yes I used ‘sometimes’ twice. So? I’m letting it go this time).

So my mind has been on character motivations. Why do they do what they do? I think if I could answer this question, then the scenes of character and relationships development would flow better, and would happen alongside the moving plot, instead of being side-steps off-road.

What do you all think? I’d really like to keep studying this topic, both for writing and just for general interest. Writers – How do you make character motivations clear? How do you develop the relationships in your story?

And – what makes you tick? What moves you? What are the strong motivators in your life that make you act and feel and be who yo are, as opposed to being a different way?

I’m also studying this because writing is about life; stories are about life. If I can understand what moves and motivates myself, then putting those feelings into my stories will give my writing the ‘ring of truth’, or ‘special sauce’ it needs.

Over and out,

Chaitanya

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