Study Psychology

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I keep an eye on current creative writing practices, even though I think that it’s shallow and inane. Yeah, I know, I’m a total snob about this. Egotistical. Et cetera.

But srsly

When the masses are saying, “Make sure that your characters act like real people,” I can’t help but scratch my cheek with a sense of bafflement. Okay. Yeah. Sure. Sounds solid.

BUT HOW DO REAL PEOPLE ACT?

I know it sounds silly on the surface, but it’s a legitimate question. When was the last time you went out of your way to watch real people, see what they do, and wonder why? (probably not since March 2020, snerk)

Which is why I say, “Study psychology.”

Personally, I like self help books, since they’re easier for individual study and are written with “real world application” in mind. I have a huge number of books on marriage and relationships, and also topics like manipulation, business, “how to be happy”, spirituality, etc (I’m a knowledge junkie, so I’ve never been all that picky). Heck, even developing an understanding of astrology will give you a good base for creating characters, not to mention the Myers-briggs personality types.

No, it doesn’t wrap up neatly for a bullet point in an article. You can’t churn out a story, look at it and say, “Yeah, that’s totally how real people act,” then give yourself a pat on the back. When it comes to truly understanding people, you never cross the finish line. People are beautifully complex and unique like that.

And ultimately, fictional characters are supposed to be larger than life anyway.

3 comments

  1. This post makes so much sense. I love it. I need to give fiction a chance I never have, but I totally agree with you. More people need to take learn a bit about psychology. I am a science student, but I am interested in psychology because it has helped me stop thinking there are set ways that people should act. This made me think about how we aren’t “allowed” to change and grow as people in current society, we really can not move past our pasts. I love the post.

    Liked by 1 person

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