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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why do we forget?

Sigmund Freud wrote a book called Psychopathology of Everyday Life in this book he writes about the different reasons people forget things such as: names, foreign words, order of words, and other things. The book is quite hard to read and really taxes my mind, but all the same very fascinating. He breaks down different instances in which either he or someone he is talking to forgets something to try and figure out why they have forgotten the particular thing. It is amazing how he works through this and comes to a conclusion. Generally it is attributed to the unconscious mind thinking of something else or remembering something else that then interferes with the thought process. 

The reason I bring this up is because of how he thinks through everything and anything that could have caused the problem. He then evaluates the person and really gets inside the mind and situation. He is an investigator investigating the mind of the subject. I think we as writers at times need to be investigators of our characters and their stories.

I was also the other day helping my son plan a campaign for a game. He was talking about the situation that brought the adventures to the certain local and explained that bandits were harassing the land. The interesting part was he did not want the bandits in a particular tower that he wanted the adventures to clear out he instead wanted it full of "vermin." I asked him why the bandits had not already cleared it out. We investigated this further and decided that the bandits would have already done so and so they had to be nixed from the adventure.

In writing about our characters we need to evaluate why they do what they do and if it doesn't make sense it is time ti nix it. We need to analyze and experiment with them. Test them here and there to see what they would do. 

How do you test your characters?


  1. Hummm....and here I thought it was my old age all along. Very encouraging!

    On a serious note, I am fortunate to have a job where I can observe interaction between people constantly. This gives me excellent fodder for my characters.

  2. i hear you...when you write longer pieces as well it can become more difficult as you have to evaluate these to keep them consistant...

  3. I believe if there is someting or somone in your life that you want to "Forget" your subconcious plays a big part. One can easily put soemthing to the back of their minds until they feel ready to deal with it.

    Have a grand day.

  4. I like the idea of actually analyzing why something has or has not happened in relation to our characters. There is a book by Dennis L. McKiernan where one of the characters thinks through everything. "If this happens here then this will happen which will cause this." and so on. At one point the character is able to come up with a string of events that if someone sneezes the moon will explode. I find this is good practice when creating characters.

  5. Very interesting thoughts...this will help a lot! Thanks!

  6. I just popped by from QQE to say hi, but I'm really glad to find your blog. :-)

    The bandits vs. vermin problem is one that pops up in various forms in my WiP and is possibly reason number one why I write everything chronologically.

    I'd hate writing a stunning scene about someone wiping out the vermin and then a beautiful battle wiping out the bandits in a different story line, only to figure out that the bandits would have wiped out the vermin and the first group would have wiped the bandits, leaving group two free to do what they want... It.. gets... hairy.

    Especially when I go into the emotional versions of the above.



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