Every writer should use the so-called Reflecting Writing technique. Reflective Writing is especially necessary and advantageous in the case of the author of a psychological novel. What is Reflecting Writing? At the end of the article, I include some links for you to learn more about this technique. It is not the same as keeping a diary, about which, the article "Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping Diary" is an excellent inventory of accredited opinions. It is not a Bullet Journal, either. Apparently, Reflective Writing is not very common among writers. At least in my case, it is indispensable. I have always done it. Only now, I know it has a name.
The influence of your research
When I write, I tend to get involved in the story and I do not mean to make it anecdotal, but to make it personal. The preparation of a story is a period in which I read everything I can about the subject. What I read affects me and leads me to think about it not only in terms of the story I am writing but also about what it has to do with my personal life.
My fantasy novel required a significant amount of reading and prolonged hours of reflection. There were three months in which I did nothing but thinking. The novel has to do with the mythical conception of life, the path of the hero, and the most ancient ideas about destiny, among many other topics. The reflections on this material, although they served me to connect distant concepts and give shape to the plot of the fantasy, also induced interior transformations including all my points of view regarding life and destiny. Undoubtedly, the writing of that novel had a great influence on my inner being, what I believe and what I do not.
Thinking about oneself
Currently, I find myself reading material related to my next two novels where the psychological treatment of the characters is the main axis of the plot. I have found that writing a psychological novel is doubly arduous. Its difficulty lies in that there are two lines of thought running through my mind simultaneously, the line that has to do with my character and the line related to myself as a person. Consequently, meditation on new information is very necessary.
In one of my projects, my character is a historical character. I am building his personality based on his actions that took place centuries ago. Because of the degree of subjectivity this implies, I am literally "inventing" a character. His personality, though, should be consistent. I am understanding and creating it through the readings of books and articles on psychology.
When reading about psychological analysis, it is almost inevitable to think about oneself, instead of thinking about the character being created. Sometimes, I find myself thinking of both at once. When I consider a piece of information from a book such as this excerpt, "the more unrealistic the goal for their abilities and environment the less esteem and more likely the Depression", I wonder what could be the unreachable goals of my character. At the same time, I am questioning myself, have I set goals for myself that were just too high? It is very difficult to distance oneself from the reading. As soon as I read about a psychopathological symptom, instead of focusing on the character I am building, the first thing I ask is, "What about me?" When I read "... in a state, prior to the depression, the lost object and the Self merge and the subject feels the loss of said object as a loss of the Self," my mind searches in the history of the character for clues that might indicate a moment of material loss or any unsuccessful aspiration that could trigger his depression. At the same time, in another part of my thoughts, I am seeking in my personal history, wondering even if it is okay or not to feel attachment to possessions.
Reading this kind of material to write a novel is very intense because it uncovers hidden things within us, such as deeply rooted feelings or conveniently forgotten episodes. As I read this type of information, the thoughts about my character and about myself are mixed. They occur simultaneously. They get blended. The danger, I face as a writer, is that I can lose objectivity and project onto the development of the character my own conflicts or ignore useful information (from the narrative point of view) because it hurts me in some way. In other words, I may fail in my goal of constructing a psychological profile for my character and end up with an incoherent personality formed by parts of me and parts of him, like a psychological Frankenstein.
Meditation to the rescue!
For these reasons, meditation is absolutely necessary whose written expression (Reflective Writing) clarifies, separates and helps to digest what has been read. Also, other advantages are obvious, such as organizing the gained knowledge, providing a sense of progress in the work of writing even though not one page of the book has been written yet. This tangible and intellectual organization of the information gives me a sense of seriousness and efficiency in the construction of the character, which drives the acquisition of greater knowledge, because we know we are building a character as coherent as possible.
I hope this is useful for your writing projects. Good Bye for now and remember, if you can dream of it, you can do it.
Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary. - https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/04/famous-writers-on-keeping-a-diary/
Reflective writing: a basic introduction - http://www.port.ac.uk/media/contacts-and-departments/student-support-services/ask/downloads/Reflective-writing---a-basic-introduction.pdf
A short guide to reflective writing - University of Birmingham - https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/libraryservices/library/skills/asc/documents/public/Short-Guide-Reflective-Writing.pdf
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