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  1. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Soze's crime

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by keysersoze, Mar 19, 2020.

    Crime for me is a metaphor for freedom. It is embracing of the possibility that I can create beyond the strictures of good and bad. This is the first full length narrative I am writing. I have written some stories, scenes, and poems before this. This is my attempt to reach out to something larger.

    I started amidst of a really bad time. Nothing had been going on for long and there seemed no hope in the future. I had been toying with the idea of writing something bigger but I did not feel confident at all. The drive was there. The skill wasn't. I decided I will run with this idea I have for a story. I did not know what form it'd take, I did not have any finality in my mind. I began thinking that I will take this to a conclusion, no matter what.

    It has been more than three years since I started in February of 2017. Seems like such a long time ago. Maybe I will tell the rest of it in posts to come. For now, I should get to this story I am writing.

    I feel a part of me is there in all the main characters I am writing. The protagonist is confused, wonders about possibilities and does not seem to want to decide for himself. The antagonist is someone powerful, in control, in charge, has a vision, a future planned and he needs the protagonist to acquisce to his demands. He would end up doing exactly as he is told without the interference of the femme fatale, the exotic dancer. She is the muse. And she is in the shadows. The play writing is to bring her to light. So, she does her thing, she provokes our protagonist in many many ways and gives him a glimpse of what it could be like to look at the world from beyond good and bad. But the protagonist can't be free just yet. He has a family to go to, to which he has been thoroughly dedicated all life long. But he is not valued, not seen for who he is. Drama in the second act unfolds and our protagonist finds himself unhinged from the shackles of middle class morality.

    Finally we come to the face off with the blackmailer and the protagonist finds a familiar face with the blackmailer. The blackmailer reveals his true intentions and the are more humiliating than the earlier blackmail. The blackmailer wanted to teach him a lesson. The protagonist reconsiders his options and kills the blackmailer in cold blood.

    A lot of aspects of this are uncertain. I am creating this journal to think out loud about my concerns and record my progress.

    Comments, suggestions, questions are welcome.
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Senior Member

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    Very intriguing.
     
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  3. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    To create a murderer out of someone seemingly innocent, I need to create a terribly corrupt world. This world needs to be real and important to the plot of the story. The protagonist inhabits two worlds, one at office which is a consultancy services and second his home. Both places are corrupt but here let's just focus on the first. Malpractice at work and cheating clients for their money is not sufficient corruption. It does not get weaved into the plot. The protagonist might believe that he has noticed lower level people adjust numbers to cause clients loss. Even leading to shutting down of businesses. He has information that he can report to the seniors. This might not be enough still. Some people blackmail others and get their work done by them. He did not think he would fall into the trap but he has now. The temptation of easy money was too much when only the higher level consultants were making money and that without doing any work. Is it enough to make the protagonist do insider trading? This is still fairly straight forward. I need to dig deeper into all that goes wrong in the world of Business management consultancies.
     
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  4. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    After much deliberation, I wrote this scene. The second act of the play. It is intense, yes. The conflict sounds very real. But there is no meat on the characters. The scene appears the bare minimum essential of the emotional line of the drama and also, kind of forced. Now I go back to writing and rambling about all things in and around the lives of these characters and how can they come together. The problems are exactly the same as they are with my singing. I can work only on very high notes and very low notes. There is no control over the middle part of the intensity. Even as characters converse, I need to hold information back. Characterization should happen with subtler things. Dialogue is there. But a character is more than just dialogue. A character is defined as much by things he does not say as he is by the things he does say. To create a repressed character, I need to make him hold a lot of things back. Now, if he holds so much back, what would he talk about. He would talk about what other people expect from him and how well he fares around other people's expectations. But others treat him badly because he is fundamentally absent from the scene. He expresses anguish and it is put down as sentimentality. I feel lost.
     
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  5. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    In effect, the majority of the play happens in the second scene. The first scene is more like an exposition into the story, establishing open ends etc. The last scene is crucial in the sense that it contains the ultimate flowering of the mc's personality into a violent criminal. In the second scene we see his utter domination and abuse by his family - the parents and the younger sister. And he takes all of it silently as the scene continues. Makes for an uninteresting read? Maybe, but making something interesting is not what you do in the first draft. The story must come out as it is. The characters allowed to be. In the later drafts I can give him a weak voice or even a louder voice without substance. But right now I need to know the extent of abuse that the family - the father for his personal ambitions, the mother for her possessive oedipal needs and the sister seeking freedom from the coercive family and turning that freedom into excuses for various indulgences. The moment I give the mc a voice, he will destroy everything. He has that capability. But. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . if I keep that voice away from him for a while, then I can build webs of emotions and expectations around him. How to silence this mad raving dog into a docile lovable creature? Maybe I should rather focus on the webs of emotions and expectations around him.

    AND read Harold Pinter.
     
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  6. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    The meat in fiction: where does it come from? The 'real stuff'? Think about it. You thought of a narrative. It is far far from its final form. You had an idea. Now you are working on it. How do you populate your world with real action? Okay, so the answer is you put some people in there, that's no rocket science. But what does it mean to put in some characters in there? Some names? Some professions? Some personalities? Some preferences, some habits? What? What makes a good, fleshed out character? No, it is not character change. Character change is overrated. It is in characterization where lies the real meat of fiction. A habit here, a trait there. In imagining proper characterization does a character grow increasingly real. Example?

    So she is an exotic dancer, so what? There are thousands of exotic dancers across the world. She is situated in the city of Mumbai. So what? There are hundreds of exotic dancers in Mumbai. She is 24 years old. So what? Most exotic dancers are women in their mid twenties. The manager at the bar where she dances is a lewd man. What else can be expected from this manager? She is a fierce woman. She has to be, otherwise she won't survive. She fears the eve teasers. They can be violent. She treats her customers as if they are not human, her customers treat her as if she is not a human. That's also rather obvious. She loves buying cheap fancy clothes. And make up and jewelry. Ha ha! Big fucking surprise! A woman who loves clothes and jewelry. She has been in the trade for eight years. Violent behaviour of men and treachery of women have hardened her. She is a treacherous woman too. She is adept at deception. She has a range of emotions to emote up her sleeve and she can emote at the drop of a hat. Yet, for all her deception she has not been able to hold on to any guy she trapped in her love net.

    When she meets a guy who is much too gullible and with him she overdoes her act, what will happen then? Do I have your attention now? Do I have your curiosity? It is characterization that is the meat of fiction. Characterize as much and as extensively as possible. Do I need separate notebooks for characterization of different characters? Or do I need a five subject notebook? Or separate notebooks? I'd like separate notebooks. For now I will make do with the one I have though. Can't buy during the lock down. I will get some after the lock down ends.

    Once characterization is sufficient, the drama will unfold by itself. That's what Lajos Egri said.
     
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  7. Xoic

    Xoic Senior Member

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    One thing I've found—if you start with a premise or theme in mind, often a more powerful and natural one will emerge in the writing and replace the original one.
     
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  8. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Yes. And then it becomes a beacon of light in the utter darkness where you are exploring your narrative. Any time the confusion grows too dense, I search for the premise. Where has it gone? What was it? Robert Mckee has a different name for it - the controlling idea. And he gives it a beautiful twist too. But I like the word premise more. I grew up studying science and engineering. Everything was predefined then and so stifling. Here, I can define things on my own terms, in my own way. That's so beautiful.
     
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  9. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Researching about corruption in financial markets is so damned boring. . . so much jargon and such twisted ways of saying things. This is really slog work. Let us see how this goes. I mean it is exciting also to find out how people who control money lie and how money can be so easily used to make more money. The lure of the scandal is real and so the language of it will have to be understood first. I have two characters discussing financial corruption. One who has done it and the other who knows nothing about it. How long will it take for me to change from the one who knows nothing to the one who has enough knowledge to actually commit the crime. Should I imagine that I am going to commit that crime myself? Will that help?
     
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  10. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Everything has collapsed. All this work, all this writing has been for nothing. The main character is not how I imagined him so far. This changes everything. The plot, the minor details of the plot, so much work... All of it is a complete waste now.

    The main character was earlier a person racked with despair. Everything was imagined around him and frankly speaking it was not materializing properly. Because the character was wrongly imagined. The character actually is a paranoid character. Funny that I changed his name at one point but did not change this. Now everything begins from the start. All the work of the plot is gone. Should I start with a new notebook? I think I should.

    To imagine everything from scratch after having imagined so much. Things will take shape faster this time, I suppose. Still it was a lot of work. And no use. I can't look back at the older notebooks. Just keep them aside and begin again.
     
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  11. Xoic

    Xoic Senior Member

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    I feel your pain bro. Time to chalk it up as a learning experience and move onto the next version. It wasn't for nothing though, you got ina lot of practice and learning.

    I've recently decided I can't write the novel I've been working on for about half a year or so. It was painful but necessary, and as a result I've been able to rethink my approach to writing in general and hopefully won't repeat the mistakes I made on that one.
     
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  12. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    I wrote 4 pages. It took me three years and one month to write these four pages.
     
  13. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    I wouldn't give up on something I have worked on for 18 months. Don't give up. Talk about it. Revive it. The story deserves it. You deserve it. Feeling low is a part of the process. Feeling disappointed too. Giving up should not be an option.

    My wife gave up on painting a year ago after having painted ever since she was seven. I persistently believed she would paint again. Today she was discussing the three colours she has decided to use after not having touched the brushes for over a year now.

    Do not give up. If you won't tell your story, no one will. No structural flaw is big enough for you to give up on the project. Talk. Talk about it.
     
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  14. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Senior Member

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    YES!! This will give it more LIFE, more detail and it will flow better. You don't necessarily have to explain all 35 steps in the crime to the reader, but if YOU, the writer know how it starts, develops, and ends, you'll be able to speak with authority on the page and the reader will respect that.

    That said, most financial crimes are really not that complicated. Bernie Madoff got away with it for such a long time because nobody would believe it. And the Securities and Exchange Commission department did not have any qualified staff - they couldn't compete with Wall Street salaries. Watch the movie, "The Big Short" or read the book. It's easy to cheat, lie, and steal when nobody in "charge" has the skills to tell what you're doing.
     
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  15. Xoic

    Xoic Senior Member

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    I made 2 major mistakes—first, the story is about me and my friends, and second, I told someone about it while it's still in development. And following John Gardner's advice I did heavily fictionalize the characters until they're almost unrecognizable, but still I need to either walk on eggshells (so as not to make anyone angry about the way they're portrayed), or write it the way I want to and destroy friendships.

    I'm not giving up, but I have learned what I needed from this project and won't make those mistakes again. In a sense that project was mostly just to get me back into writing after a 6 year hiatus—to get the juices flowing. It's definitely done that. I'm already in development on another project that uses many of the same ideas in very different form. I can already foresee a couple of problems coming up in this one as well, mostly stemming form the fact that it's based on an idea I came up with decades ago. But I think even if I abandon it at some point it still will serve as a massive learning experience and a lot of good practice in writing at a level far above what I used to. I think there are points in the growth of an artist where you need to make a few false starts and abandon them when you realize it. If I would force myself to finish one that I know is so deeply flawed it would waste a lot of time when I could be developing a new project hopefully without the flaws.

    And I'm definitely not saying I think you should do this, it's just my particular case. It sounds like your play doesn't suffer from the same kind of basic problems my novel idea did or that might also plague my new short story (different problems). In any event, as long as each of us are doing what we feel we must do I think we're growing and developing nicely, which sometimes involves some really bad roadblocks or pitfalls. Thank you for the concern, I appreciate it, and now I'll let your progress journal get back to being about your play.
     
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  16. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Everything fell magically into place. It was like one piece was wrong and it was not letting the rest of it work. Quite satisfying to have the structure of the whole story comfortably in place. I am going to wait for some time until the crime puzzle writing becomes clear to me. But this one is going solid. If things turn out well in the crime puzzle writing, I will have something of value in hand.

    In the mean time, I am starting a new project today. It is not new new, not completely new. In fact I have two more ideas beyond this one too. But officially I can say that I am beginning the work on this one today. I will also start cursory work on the next one at the same time. I think this is going to work - working on two projects at once. One with full focus and another casually. So, when one matures I will move the next one to full focus and find another one to just toy around.

    That said, the new idea is a college story based on the film Shawshank Redemption. This, I will write as a film. I now know better where to start, how to move in my story. Won't be as excruciating as the first one. I now know I have to think about a tentative storyline and work with greater focus on the characters. I will work on the characterization of the characters. I have two central characters, some five secondary characters and a few more. This would be a much bigger canvas. Also, the personality typing according to mbti personality structures helped in the last one. So, I am going to continue using those. It feels so much less pressure on this project than on the last one. This one is fresh. Yeah. Let's use the freshness of the project and move faster.

    Aim: write detailed characterizations of all 10 characters in next one week.
     
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  17. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Let us begin with the second project then. The last one took three years to acquire some form. How long will this one take? I wonder.

    Something interesting happened while writing today. The characters are beginning to have a voice of their own. Not very clear yet, but there is an inkling that they will be more substantial than the last work. I need to be willing to let them talk even at the risk of them sounding wooden. Still working on characterization. But this time characterization appears to be so much richer than the last time.

    Many scattered ideas also float in me mind. Need to keep writing them down as they arrive and pass. Sort of like fishing. Once I will have enough, I will take them to the cooking pan. Or pot. Yes, one big cooking pot. :)
     
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  18. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    The plot is shaping up fine. And it has happened so much faster as well. I think I am getting a hang of the craft. I can't explain what I understand but I do. I think this is what creative process should be like. I understand the process. But do not ask me to explain the process. The product of the process is desirable. The process itself is important just to me. The process is not for use. The product is for use.

    But the understanding of process is so important for me. Staying with a story feels so energizing. Last night I stayed several hours in my imagination. I have never done that in my life at a stretch. Wife slept in the next room. She is so supportive. Right now all the narratives I am writing are around the idea of a single individual challenging the system. But these are not hero's journey. I am not even sure if this is a redemption plot anymore. It seems more like a coming of age story. What perturbs me sometimes is my long held unexpressed opinions and resentments finding pleasant expression here and there in the narratives I am writing. I need to take care not to end up exaggerating them more than the needs of the story. But finding a vindication for long held stifled emotions is a pleasant surprise. Something very relieving. Earlier I thought that structured narrative won't allow that. But in reality structured narrative is freeing up so much space in my mind and my heart.
     
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  19. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    The second plot is not as similar to the first plot as I initially suspected. Yeah, they are different. Just because both have three scenes doesn't mean they are the same. There is a casual calmness in the first scene of the second plot that was not there in the first plot anywhere. It is a sign of greater confidence. But I wished initially that other subplots would move on their own. But they did not have as exciting plotlines as the two central characters. It will take a little longer to map out parallel plots that get tied up at the same point in the narrative. A little disheartened here. I need to study some more.
     
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  20. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    I have rejected two plotlines for the film. The first one was too scattered. The second one was too empty. Now a third plotline has appeared to me, with its own bunch of characters. Three characters so far. I have to populate this world but I also need to learn to trust the plot a little bit more. I have been stressing characters and characterization a bit much. Characters and characterizations can be worked out once the larger plotline is decided and a premise emerges. Working on characters without a premise is wasteful. One has to do it to make the narrative take roots in the mind. The writing of the film is going to take some time. I should allow myself time. I should read and research in the meantime and allow the creative process to unfold on its own.
     
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  21. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Did a lot of detailing to the first narrative today. Things are really getting out of control here. I feel an intense need to just cool down and distract myself into other narratives. Write the plots of the other ones, work towards finding a premise for those. But I did not. I stayed with the frustrating job of clearing out a lot of cluttered emotions. At the end of the day I still do not know where I stand. I am unearthing a lot of emotions here and the process is personally upsetting. I kept going and going today. But this way I will end up burning out faster than I'd realize. I have to limit myself to a few hours of writing every day and then take a break. Today I started working and then I kept on writing way into the night. I am not sure if it was really all that productive. Sometimes desperation really grips a person.

    Other narratives are interesting, sure. But the story I am currently working on is pulling me in. With a force. It happened a couple of months back too. This is a good thing. Yet I am scared. And then once I will be done, there will be no fruitful feedback. That frustration also awaits. The process of writing is emotionally taxing. I have to prepare myself for that. Run a long marathon. Write six hours every day and no more.

    Reading Stanislavski has helped with the writing and imagination process. I need to allow myself to understand creative process as understood by these masters and go the distance with what they say as well. Have to continue reading Story by McKee as well. I can do this. I can pull this off. Even if at the end of it all there is no feedback waiting for me, I can do this. I will do this. This effort will be worth it even if there is not light at the end of the tunnel right now. One day at a time. And record progress daily from now on. No matter if it goes productive or not. Keep track of work. It is serious. Things are taking shape. Do not mess things up now!
     
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  22. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Internet didn't work for two days. I am writing more regularly again. The need for a structure to the play is haunting. How do I do that? Thinking out loud here for a bit. A crime story works around a lot of revelations. I have some. I need some more. But arranging them, organizing them that they become an intriguing puzzle. How do I go about that? Currently the structure of the play is rather straight forward. Man starts paranoid. Girlfriend ignores his paranoia. Expresses despair. Works with the love interest, to solve the mystery established in the paranoia. Girlfriend accidentally reveals she used him. He argues with her why and she tells the story of her plight. He doubts if she is involved in his blackmail. Arguing with her again, he stumbles across the clue that leads him to the blackmailer. He wants to leave. She doesn't let him. Mutual offenses float. Her plight story is proved false. She abuses him. He is unaffected. She abuses his father, insinuates incestuous relations. He grabs her by the neck, throws her on the floor and leaves.

    The trouble is I do not have any clue about how to write the blackmail, the clues, and the investigation around it. I have always overlooked this part in stories. It does not come easily to me. I can't even find a notebook in my room if I lose it. How to write a sleuth, even if an amateur one? I have found some crime films. I will look at the detective process embedded in those films. Some writers are good at writing crime puzzles. I have some interesting stakes in my story. If I can figure out an investigation for my story, it might just bring enough space for emotions to breathe in the story. As of now all feelings are rather cluttered with one another in the narrative and no matter how I try to adjust one at some place and another somewhere else, some places are really cluttered while others are rather empty. Need to postpone writing again fora while until I am done analyzing Memento, LA Confidential, Double Indemnity, The Departed, Blade Runner and In Bruges.
     
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  23. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Ways to do insider trading

    get insider information from a law firm or an employee of a company involved.

    get insider information from a source that has insider information from one of the above sources.

    What kinds of insider information are available?

    Sale/purchase/merger of a company with another company.

    Sale/purchase of a large number of stocks of a company.

    circular trading by company executives to raise the price of stocks

    To make money either buy shares or buy options on share prices.

    This is a rudimentary understanding. I need to get a deeper understanding of insider trading.
     
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  24. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Looks like writing happens in periodic squirts for me. The in between period is of soul shattering despair. The metaphorical crime now makes sense. There is a lot that I need to kill in myself. That is why that first plot is a plot of murder.

    At the same time, I cannot keep myself from working on another project. I know the work becomes thin, diluted, but I need that variety. So tempted to start working on that real life based crime story. But I am not starting that one just yet. First I will finish the story with the prostitute and the gentleman. In the meanwhile, I am working on the college story as well.

    I am satisfied with the quality of writing lately. The quantity is an issue though. Increase in reading will lead to smoother writing process, I believe. The book on impressionism is really interesting. And I am a slow reader. So that book is going to last for a while. Reading about another art form is the best relaxation away from obsessing about writing that I have found so far. No pressure or tension to understand or learn anything. Just read on purely for pleasure. Every feeling is a bonus.
     
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  25. keysersoze

    keysersoze Active Member

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    Wrote a lot today. The need for a deeper understanding of psyche emerged out of nowhere. I realize I don't understand the human mind in as much detail as I imagined I do. I have been through a lot psychologically. But that hasn't really made me understand mental stress as a concept or as an experience. I was going through some psychological researches today for I found them quite inadequate in understanding what goes on with patient of a psychological ailment. One of my characters is coming out of a drug addiction. She would behave with uncharacteristic anxiety. Have I felt it? Yes. Did I have suitable coping mechanisms? Yes. My internal monologues were intense and I wrote a lot in those periods of anxiety and bitterness. But the character here is not a writer. That would defeat the purpose of having this character. :D :D So, she would go full throttle aggressive on the gentleman. How does a character do that?

    He had put her into a rehab and she has just ran away from there. She would complain about the place, the people. She says she doesn't want to live among civilized people. At the same time she has also made a break through in drug recovery. So she does not want to go back to her addict life either. Stuck in a limbo, she goes berserk on him. "I have no place, no one to go to anymore. And all of it is just because of you", she would scream.

    But he is calm as a deep well. But his calmness would only make sense against her madness. If she is not crazy enough then his calmness would just be flat and boring.
     
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