16

Jihad: Writing is about the human condition. But the human condition is a big, messed up gnarly thing - and guess what, if you're human, you're living it. Fiction is rarely about people with nice, stable well-adjusted lives who understand themselves and others, get along well, and are generally happy. Jihad doesn't usually mean "holy war" but ...


13

This is a big problem for me, because I don't really get the human condition to begin with. If you are human, then whatever your experience is by definition part of the human condition. The human condition does not refer to things that all humans experience. It refers to all things that (some) humans experience. My entire life can be described as only ...


9

If you like the sentimentalism, do that. It’s not good to let others tell you that you are too much this or too much that in your writing, but what is important is whether what you’ve written is up to your standards and special to you.


7

What you've been told is true... From a certain point of view Stories are interesting because they are about people, and people are interested in people and the relationships between them. However, this does not mean you have to understand more than others how human interactions work to write an interesting story. Not exactly, anyway. You reference ...


6

For Z to have value, then there is no going back to A. The path is instead A -> Z -> B where B is similar to A but includes the added experience from Z. In your example, the character is madly in love, she then finds out that she has been deceived, hence the murderous anger. The love interest then shows a deep repentance, guiding MC to feel the love ...


5

Maybe you are trying to write a type of story (Feelgood?) where your natural tendency to cynicism about humans would be a bad thing? How about trying something darker? E.g. Thomas Harris's "Silence of the Lambs" and his other books come to mind... But there's also much literature that doesn't go deep into the human mind. E.g. action, thriller, ...


4

Depressed characters are still interesting characters, but you have to write them that way. Speaking as somebody who suffers from dips into depression, you're absolutely right that writing a depressed character effectively, in a way that's interesting to read, is very challenging. It echoes the real-world struggles many depressed people face, in that you don'...


4

It's not necessary to "understand humanity" from the point of view of others; your own point of view is sufficient. Write what you know. Write as an outsider looking in. Write about your perceptions of other people, not how they appear to perceive themselves. Perhaps reading some classic examples of outsiders in fiction may increase your confidence ...


4

The human condition can be observed from different angles; yours is uncommon enough to be very interesting. Exploit that. You'll see things others are missing, and as you say, you sometimes see clearly through layers of deception that would cloud average people's perception. Since you are not entangled in these deceptions you don't have to be considerate, ...


4

Connection is important Your notion that the two stories don't connect is problematic. I think some kind of connection is important. The two stories need to have enough connections that they can authoritatively answer the question; why are we seeing both stories, and why are they in the same book and not in a book each? It doesn't have to be more than a ...


3

Mix and Match: I think you have a good set of tools there, but the key is how you use them. I would advise that you rarely ever use just one of these on it's own. Also, some of these can overlap - an action can be dealing with emotion, and internal thoughts can seep out in other ways. I wouldn't advise using italicized thoughts, unless they are specifically ...


3

Personally, I believe that it would seem kind of weird in the same story, and if they do not overlap/are completely separate, I would not recommend writing about them in the same book, but here are some options you can do if you want to include them both. Write them as two separate stories and note that they take place in the same world (mention characters ...


3

Death is Drama: Unless you're trying to be funny or ironic, death is drama. A hated rival dying. Your 112-year-old great-grandmother who's been out of it for 40 years dying. A completely unknown stranger dying alone except for a few nurses who don't even know the person's name. So there is little you can do to change the drama. But the story isn't so much ...


3

Do you understand space and time? No, you don’t. No one does — our knowledge of physics has not got to the point where it can explain what space or time really are. That doesn’t stop you from writing about everyday experiences of space and time — “I went down the road to the supermarket last Thursday”. In the same way, you can write about the human condition ...


2

I'm writing an answer to address a point I don't think anyone else has brought up, except in an oblique way. A lot of people are saying that "if you're human, you're experiencing the human condition". This is technically true but maybe not the most helpful way to answer the question: "But what is the human condition?" If you asked 100 ...


2

My older sister is a bipolar adult - around 35 years old. She's aware of it, she's been medicated for it, and frankly, I think she manages it very well 99% of the time. While it's true that she has triggers, I think it's probably more relevant to your writing to be aware of how certain situations could be defused or snowball into a complete disaster, so I'm ...


2

Point of View Depending on your chosen perspective some of your tools can or cannot be used. For instance, the third-person objective point of view does not do internalizations (thoughts) or visceral emotions (more about those below) at all, and every other point of view but the omniscient and the head-hopping can only do one POV character per scene. If, ...


2

This question identifies most of the obvious methods for showing character state, and the answer by DWKraus includes some good advice and examples. One method not specifically mentioned above is to note the perceptions of other characters. For example: John considered Alicia's appearance. She looks furious he thought, I'm glad I'm not the person negotiating ...


2

Ah, the pain of all artists. Whatever depiction of reality we create, it's a pale shadow of it. You'll never "get there", nobody does. But you can chase the perfection and approach it. You need two-pronged approach. The first prong is that you must think of your audience and relate them to you. You have your emotions unique to you, and whatever ...


2

when writing, write aloud - I mean taste the words - your ears help you taste them. When you feel finished, read out aloud the whole poem. Try to recite it - convey the feelings till fresh. You will feel then at once if smth is false or empty or flat - you can correct it - and go on with this writing rewriting procees until exausted. Returning days after you ...


1

I think the question is wrong to put extreme love and murderous intent at opposite ends of a spectrum and to suggest that there is a substantial distance between them. I think in fact that they are both expressions of intense emotional involvement with another, and you only have to read the newspapers occasionally to see how closely related murderer and ...


1

This is hard to do well, but when done well can be very funny indeed. I snuggest the works of Donald Westlake, particularly Dancing Aztecs, Bank Shot, A Spy in the Ointment, Plunder Squad, Easy Money, The Road to Ruin, Thieves Dozen,and Good Behavior. I suggest the works of Joe Gores, particularly 32 Cadillacs and Dead Skip. I suggest Mairelon the Magician ...


1

You should watch the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. It has a similar plot and unfolds in an equally zany way.


1

I'm assuming you're talking about someone other than the viewpoint character (where you would be able to show the internal reaction). How much other people would notice of someone hurting from a rejection depends both on the rejected person's personality and how close they are. If the rejected person reacts by becoming unusually quiet, withdrawn, sullen, ...


1

I largely depends in what type of personality they have. If they're the go-getter person who's optimistic, try to have them act normal in front of everyone, but there's an internal sob-fest going on. Or make them act all sullen and dull in front of people, but nobody can seem to cheer them up. Make them grump and agitated all the time. Or dramatic. Or just ...


1

I think this is a struggle for writers not just concerning depression, but emotions in general. In real life, moments where we pivot as people are few and far between. Most of the time change is more gradual. Often, especially with struggles like depression and addiction, we will gain ground, then lose it. However, I think sometimes it is okay to make such ...


1

It's hackneyed advice, but show, don't tell. We are very good at inferring each other's emotions, so if your characters behave naturally, the reader will know what's going on. As an exercise, try writing the scene with dialog alone. See how much you can convey by choice of words and tone. Then add in the minimum amount of action required and you will have a ...


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