Let Your Characters Say Everything
Hope you’re enjoying July! If you’re on vacation — have a great one! If you’re going on vacation soon — have fun! If you aren’t taking vacation — have fun any which way you can! I’m on a quasi-vacation, so I figured I’d share some posts I wrote a couple of years ago that work any time. Enjoy!
During the summer I have clients who begin creative writing projects. Maybe it’s the long days. The lazy days. The inspiration of being outdoors more, and seeing the world differently. Maybe it’s a trip that inspired them.
I’m reposting a post I first put up in August of 2013. It got a great response, and I put it up from time to time, as well as send it to clients in the arts. It refers to two of the areas I’m involved in. It’s about writers, but it can definitely apply to many different creative areas. Enjoy!
Writers & analysts? What do they have in common?
I began a study on the similarities between writers and analysts with a mentor/professor/writing partner/student/friend of mine a number of years ago.
At the age of 92, this mentor was a scientist, psychoanalyst and writer. She had lived the most amazing life and we were discussing working together to write her memoir. She decided against it because “my story isn’t that interesting.” Believe me, it was more than interesting. Way more than just “interesting”. Fascinating & riveting are only a few of the words that come to mind. To her, the stories she heard from students & patients were far more interesting. She focused on those and her scientific and psychoanalytic papers.
During our “Wednesdays With Mentor” we talked much about writing and psychoanalysis and the connections between the two, and I wrote a paper with some beginning thoughts on the topic for a class I took with her. I’ve often thought of her since she died a few years ago. During the last few months of study, writing and new experiences & projects, I realized a number of things I wish I could share with her now. So, I’m going to write them here and hope that the thoughts are helpful to others out there somewhere. Who knows? Maybe somewhere out there in the universe she’s reading & nodding.
A great analyst and a great writer of characters have much in common when it comes to their patients & characters. Great analysts can “hold” and accept their patients feelings and thoughts. ALL of them. The good, the bad the ugly, the terrifying, the revolting, repugnant, hateful, murderous, loving, sexual, erotic, happy, euphoric, sad, suicidal, dangerous, destructive, enraged, fun and funny.
A great analyst can hear them, know them, feel them, accept them and tolerate their discomfort of being with the feelings, as well as her own. They can have all their own feelings and tolerate all of their patients’ feelings.
To write great characters you must be able to do the same. Your characters can’t keep any secrets from you. You must know them better than you know yourself (counter intuitive perhaps, but true.) You must be able to know your characters deepest, darkest secrets and fears – and not recoil from them.
You must accept your characters, along with their thoughts and feelings, so they may truly live. Only then will they be real, on the page, in the imagination, on the screen.
Those characters that leave you cold? Indifferent? Who fade from memory as soon as you close the book, the device, leave the theater? They had secrets from themselves and from the people who created them. Their secrets render them invisible in your psyche and memory.
“Say everything” is what an analyst will tell you in your sessions, from the very beginning. Allow and assist your characters to say everything to you. Know them. Only then will your audience know them.
The truth will set them free. Be able to accept, and tolerate, their truth. In return, the process can, and often will, set you free.
Your life is like no other℠ (and your creative works won’t be either…)
Kiki aka Coach Kiki
aka Rebecca Kiki Weingarten, M.Sc.Ed, MFA
Have a question you’d like answered? Or an issue you’d like some thoughts on? Ask away.
© 2018 TradeCraft Coaching & Rebecca K. Weingarten Please note that all posts are for entertainment purposes. It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of medical or psychological care. You are always encouraged to check and confirm the information with other sources and through direct professional contact.