?

Do you think giving a character and eating disorder or any disorder is harmful or helpful to them?

  1. Yes, it's cop out/lazy writing

    8.3%
  2. No, it can be interesting to see how it's done

    33.3%
  3. Maybe. Depends on how you write it.

    58.3%
  1. RavenAStorm

    RavenAStorm New Member

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    Character trait or contrived BS?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by RavenAStorm, Jul 26, 2017.

    So I have this character her name is Isabella Regina Rei. She goes by Isa for short. She's from a series I'm working on with a friend called Nola Style. I have everyone I was his backstory is worked out and the kind of struggles that they go through. I know that there are characters out there who have eating disorders however they only seem to be anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa which are both very very serious eating disorder's but I wanted to do something different.

    I thought about giving this character night time eating disorder. Which is basically when getting up to get a midnight snack becomes a compulsion. Of course that leads to weight gain and feeling guilty about eating binge eating episodes. I've also done my research on this topic as much as I can in my free time and I feel like this would be an eating disorder that would be relatively easy to write about. I want to know if the seems contrived or if this can actually work I mean I feel like personally I can however I am in an experienced writer. I wrote fanfiction and God was a terrible... going to something this serious I'm afraid that I'm going to those people who won't execute it correctly.

    One of my main goals with this Nola style series is to tackle real world problems. Now don't get me wrong the series of all dark and gritty with people with problems it's about people trying to lead good lives who just so happen to run into problems. Isa is one of those characters for some reason to me has been very very difficult to write. And I know the direction I want to go with her but at the same point in time I'm just not sure about this whole eating disorder thing and I'm like well I could go with the whole depression route I mean I myself do you have depression and they say write what you know.

    However, writing a Isa with depression would be like writing myself into a character. And I know there's no problem with the writing yourself into a character even putting pieces of your own personality into a character. That's just not something I want to do.

    Long story short do you think I could write a character with nighttime eating disorder or NED what do you think I should give her something else to struggle through? Thank you all in advance. I truly do appreciate it.
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    I don't see a problem with it but I'm not sure if it'll pack much mileage. Overeating or compulsive eating is pretty common, and while I think it can be compelling, stretching it into a full arc might be problematic. You can definitely pull it off, but the NED might do more work for you if it's a symptom of greater distress. There's probably only so many binge scenes you can write before the gag plays out.

    You might want to check out She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It's about a girl with a compulsive eating disorder (and a lot of other shit). It's a bestseller and a pretty good book, though I have a soft spot for it because it is set in my hometown of Westerly, Rhode Island. Lamb calls it "Easterly," but the girl lives on the same street I did, so the book literally took place in my backyard!
     
  3. RavenAStorm

    RavenAStorm New Member

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    Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback. I mean I wasn't intending on her arc to just be about eating disorders I mean there's a lot more that plays into it as well. There's stuff going on with her mom, stuff going on with her dad, family stuff in general, school, mental body image... the list goes on. I will definitely check out that book though. It sounds like it would be a good read and even greater resource.
     
    Homer Potvin likes this.
  4. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    I think you can definitely do it, but perhaps you can try shifting the focus at times to her other problems. That way, nothing will get stale, and you can see what parts you're good at writing and what parts you need to maybe work on some more.
    Even if the first draft doesn't seem very good, the second draft will probably get better. As you get more and more of an understanding of your MC and her problems you'll be able to write your story better.
     
  5. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    If you've done the research and you're committed to sticking to it, long story short: sure.

    Not clear on how writing a character with any kind of disorder would be contrived bullshit in the first place, honestly.
     
  6. Fiender_

    Fiender_ Active Member

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    As with most things, it comes down to "Can you do it well? Then do it." Which... is echoing what everyone else already said. :p
    I mean, I have a character whose arc/characterization involves their protective attitude towards their friends. It's a trait of the character and I (in my opinion) make it work in the context of the story. Even if "being protective of friends/loved ones" is a somewhat standard "contrived" trait.
     
  7. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    Being worried about getting it wrong is the first and biggest step towards getting it right.
     

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