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advice requests > Help with a story?

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message 1: by Maddie (new)

Maddie James (maddiejames) | 1 comments I can't give you the words, those need to come from you. Hit on the emotion and think about how he will feel, react, think. Get inside his head. I wouldn't worry about people thinking you are a depressed freak...it's fiction. I kill people in my books sometimes but I don't want to kill anyone. Let that go and write the emotion. Your character has a lot going on. Focus on him. Just some thoughts that came to me at way too early this a.m... good luck.


message 2: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Personally,

I would research depression itself to get a handle on the issue. After I feel I know the subject well, I would then look for true story scenarios of not only suicides, but near misses to see what the families experienced, observed, what the survivors said about their illness, etc and so forth. Then I would write or revise the story, incorporating what I can of what I've learned about depression.

I have, more than once, researched a small issue for two days or more simply to write a single two or three-line paragraph. The devil's in the details, but attention to details is what separates great writers from the not-so-great--in my humble opinion.

Mari


message 3: by A.J. (last edited Dec 08, 2008 07:05AM) (new)

A.J. Yes, research.

Suicide is almost always an outcome of depression, not merely a response to sad events. Sadness is not depression.

Google "DSM IV depression" to get diagnostic criteria for depression. (DSM is Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association; this contains the diagnostic criteria psychiatrists use to define depression.)

Your character need not suffer all these sad events. What you get if the dog dies, the bottle done run off and the wife is empty is sentimentality: an attempt to provoke an emotional reaction by yanking heartstrings with external events, rather than by developing your characters internally. Avoid sentimentality. Internalize his motives.


message 4: by Henrik (new)

Henrik | 5 comments Perhaps you can have the character looking at something extremely simple--like, say, he really ought to open a bottle of something--and have him "hanging there", him not really having the energy to even pull that off, and his mind then wandering from there?

Just a suggestion. Many depressed persons really can't even get around to make daily life's workings done.


message 5: by J. (new)

J. Yandell (jbelindayandell) | 7 comments Good comments from everyone, particularly from Andrew about depression not being just a response to "sad" events. You can, however, have a character that has been suffering from depression already who is faced with a series of events that nudge him to the edge.

But let me ask... is suicide the point of your story, or is the story in these specific events? If you are just trying to get to the suicide, then you don't really need to heap on these events. I've suffered depression on and off all of my life. When someone is in the grips of a really deep depression, even walking to the refrigerator and finding the milk has soured can be the last straw. When you are depressed, that sour milk can be interpreted as a great big "f-ck you" from the universe.

Symptoms of depression include an intense lack of energy, an inability to enjoy anything, a certainty that things are never going to improve, feelings of isolation -- "no one will miss me if I do it." It's not that a depressed person thinks dying is a good idea -- it's the intense desire to simply stop the pain, the sadness, and an inability to think of any other option, or to believe that any other option would work.

But you gotta get yourself in the character's head. Imagine you are in pain that never ends. Imagine that you are exhausted by the smallest actions. Imagine that you have called every friend and family member you know, and have gotten nothing but their answering machines.... What do you feel when you get sad?


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