Mental illness and writing characters

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When I write my fiction, it’s easy to get inside the characters’ heads, coming from my perspective. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and this can translate quite handily when I build a character. Hey, write what you know.

As a writer, I take on the form of omniscient narrator, master storyteller. That means that I have complete control over what my characters think and do. I almost write from a position of envy, because if I wanted to, I could completely take away a character’s mental illness. That would damage the narrative, but it is interesting to contemplate.

It gives a writer a sense of power to have complete control over these characters that they have created. In a way, I see it as projecting my desire to have control over my own head. Which is another thing entirely.

I think every writer will, at some level, transpose some of their own illness, or quirkiness, into their characters. This makes them more relatable, more believable. I’m not saying that every writer out there is mentally ill, but you can probably see it from where they’re standing. That’s what makes us all artists. Our lovable quirkiness.

But this is the realm of my fiction. In the end, it is medical treatment, and my profound faith in a higher power, that things can and are improving. Now if I could just finish the damn novel.

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