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EUOLogy #12: Psychological Anatomy of a Writer (Part Two of Threeish)

Okay, so, hopefully you’ve been waiting in eager anticipation since my last EUOLogy to read part two. I used something we call a ‘cliffhanger’ in the biz. It’s copyrighted. If you ever use one, make sure you pay me.

If you’ll recall, the second attribute I think has helped make a writer out of me is my nature as a peacemaker. Ever since I was a child, I tended to find myself in the middle of arguments. Often, I’m part of them. However, even when I’m not, you’ll often see me trying to smooth things over and make everyone get along. I can’t help it. I guess I just can’t stand the sight of blood.

Now, you may read this and think something like ‘Oh, how sweet. He’s such a good person!’ If you thought that, and you’re a young, single female, kindly stop reading before I disillusion you. My email address is available through links at the bottom. Yes, I’m a wonderful person, and you want to date with me! (Thanks, Space Ghost, for all the great relationship advice.)

To the rest of you, I’ll admit that there’s a dark side to this personality quirk of mine. I can be a bit manipulative. When I was younger, this often manifested itself in the way that I tried to get people to calm down and get along—and though this sounds benign, I think there’s a selfish element to it, too. I wanted the environment around me to be peaceful. However, making people get along isn’t the only way I’ve historically been manipulative.

I’ve always been rather good at getting people to feel the way I want them to. Some of you who know me may have heard me talk about this. I think I was much more insensitive about manipulation when I was younger. Now, I don’t think I was ever some kind of evil mastermind, pulling strings around me, making everyone do what I want. (Though sometimes I liked to think that I was.) I was, however, kind of rude in the way I would play with emotions, and how I would get the people in my life to do what I wanted them to. (Poor Sprig. To this day, I don’t know how he put up with an older brother like me.)

I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at this. Perhaps not. I did, after all, choose ‘Evil Undead OverLord’ as my nickname on the forums here. Either way, I haven’t lost my manipulator’s soul, I’ve just found a different way to channel it. I write books.

Ah, see, this DOES have something to do with writing. And you thought I was just rambling. Actually, I think this is one of the psychological traits that makes people become writers—this desire to, well, manipulate the audience. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I get a thrill out of making people believe that my characters are real, out of making readers feel what I want them to feel in the story. Honestly, one of the high points in my life comes when I pull off a plot twist that works or a character climax that provokes strong emotion.

I think this is a more healthy way to manipulate, since it isn’t focused on me. I don’t care if the readers love or hate me—but I want them to love or hate my characters. I want to make the audience laugh. I want to make them enjoy themselves. And sometimes, I want them to be really frustrated. If you don’t know how to produce these things in a reader, then you might have to work on your manipulation skills. Hire some henchmen and get to work.

(Part three still to come. After that . . . part four? Who knows! It’s more dramatic this way!)


|   Castellano