Don’t Fall Victim to Madness

The Mad Hatter's Tea PartyIn a little hacienda in Andalusia, a very wise thing was said.

‘The descent into the madness. Not that old chestnut.’

Stated by my friend Erica, at a Shortbreaders in Spain residential, who was lamenting on how easy it is to push your protagonist into ‘madness’ anytime he/she began acting out of character, and how we simply should not do this.

The writing situation gone wrong follows this path:

  1. Writing, writing, writing.
  2. All is well…actually, not it’s not.
  3. Things are getting a little boring in my narrative.
  4. Let’s make the character do something crazy.
  5. Wait, that’s totally not what he would normally do.
  6. Well, I’ll just turn this into a story about a character’s descent into madness.
  7. Easy-peasy.

We’ve all done it, and it’s not good writing. We feel like it’s justified because our shelves are filled with classic literature about character’s ‘descent into madness’. We tell ourselves, ‘If it was good enough for Shakespeare. It’s good enough for me.’

But, it’s not.

If the story is about mental illness. Then that’s fine.

If the story is about a character’s inability to cope with conflict. That’s fine.

If you’re simply pushing a story in an ‘interesting’ direction because you’re bored. That’s not fine.

All I’m saying is that before you send your character to Bedlam, take a break, and re-evaluate your story. There will be a hundred ways for you to turn the narrative around without reaching for the clichés.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in About Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Don’t Fall Victim to Madness

  1. Diane says:

    Well a lot of mine start of mad anyway but it’s a good point that you make.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s