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Thread: I've gone soft

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    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    I've gone soft

    I think I've lost my strength of character. Lately, I've been feeling rather wimpy. Lately I chicken out on things, general things, and I feel I've actually gone backwards in growth. It's a general sense of dread, or apathy, or unwillingness to commit to actions or decisions. I take forever to get around to everything.

    In short, I feel like a pushover. I don't know why.

    An example from my writing, is my villain, or lack thereof. I wimped out on writing a villain in my book. I introduced a character who was supposed to be a bad guy, but I feel he turned out a good guy. That's not what I wanted at all! He hasn't done anything bad, at all. In fact he's been rather nice and generous to people. Now, that could make for a really affecting villain when he does turn, but so far, I've wimped out. I don't want my characters to be harmed, I guess. I cut the whole mind-washing thing, and the whole back-stabbing thing, and I'm left with... a shining knight, really.

    I've really got to shape up, in my writing and my life. But how? Anyone have suggestions?

  2. #2
    Artist, Cartoonist & Dude Action Avenue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    I think I've lost my strength of character. Lately, I've been feeling rather wimpy. Lately I chicken out on things, general things, and I feel I've actually gone backwards in growth. It's a general sense of dread, or apathy, or unwillingness to commit to actions or decisions. I take forever to get around to everything.

    In short, I feel like a pushover. I don't know why.

    An example from my writing, is my villain, or lack thereof. I wimped out on writing a villain in my book. I introduced a character who was supposed to be a bad guy, but I feel he turned out a good guy. That's not what I wanted at all! He hasn't done anything bad, at all. In fact he's been rather nice and generous to people. Now, that could make for a really affecting villain when he does turn, but so far, I've wimped out. I don't want my characters to be harmed, I guess. I cut the whole mind-washing thing, and the whole back-stabbing thing, and I'm left with... a shining knight, really.

    I've really got to shape up, in my writing and my life. But how? Anyone have suggestions?
    Well, a couple of points from me. As far as your general tempo of your life goes, maybe you're feeling a little overwhelmed? That happens from time to time to me and also to my wife. In fact, my wife has taken on a few too many projects during the last month (in spite of my urging to dial it down a little) and now she's showing the byproduct of it: STRESS. Maybe you need to lighten your burdens a little bit? I don't know. It just seems that some individuals can actually "shrink" away from normal challenges when too many other things piled up on the "to do" list. Now in regards to writing, let me preface this by saying, I am not a novelist or anything close to it. I do a little blog writing and writing for my cartoons but that is about it. Perhaps, you just need to step back from your writing for a moment and regroup. Unless you have a deadline to hit, maybe a break from it for a week or two would be helpful. The best way I can relate to this for you is in my own experience. I am an artist and every once in a while I need to remember the basics. Even when I am actively engaged in creating an artwork or a cartoon, I try to make sure I am reading about techniques and practicing old techiques. That way I don't lose sight of how to do something while in the middle of working on it. I think there's always a danger of getting lost in the process of creating something, even something familiar, which can cause the project to get off track (hopefully just temporarily). Does that make sense? My wife is an aspiring writer and she owns a few books on plot building, effective characterizations, etc. Maybe you should go back & read about and practice the basics of building a sinister, nasty villain. There's never any shame, in my opinion, of studying the basics, even for us pros. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Action Avenue; September 3rd, 2012 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Clarity

  3. #3
    Registered User JimF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    Lately, I've been feeling rather wimpy. Lately I chicken out on things, general things, and I feel I've actually gone backwards in growth. It's a general sense of dread, or apathy, or unwillingness to commit to actions or decisions. I take forever to get around to everything.
    That sounds a little like I did when I was developing agoraphobia. I can in no way say it is the same in your case, but if you have reluctance or inability to do even minor mundane things it may be a sign. In my case I had great difficulty in simple things like checking my mail or going to the store. I suffered though 4 days of a painful gout flareup before going to the doctor. Things had to get much worse for me before I sought help. A combination medication and therapy worked for me in very short order. I held off getting treatment because I associated my behavior with a weak character, but the real character flaw was not admiting I had a problem.

    But that was me, you case my be different. as they say YMMV

    An example from my writing, is my villain, or lack thereof. I wimped out on writing a villain in my book. I introduced a character who was supposed to be a bad guy, but I feel he turned out a good guy. That's not what I wanted at all! He hasn't done anything bad, at all. In fact he's been rather nice and generous to people. Now, that could make for a really affecting villain when he does turn, but so far, I've wimped out. I don't want my characters to be harmed, I guess. I cut the whole mind-washing thing, and the whole back-stabbing thing, and I'm left with... a shining knight, really.

    I've really got to shape up, in my writing and my life. But how? Anyone have suggestions?

    As for you villiian, he is a hero from another perspective. Just think of that old addage a villian is the hero of his own story. He does really bad things for good reasons, even if those reasons only make sense to him.

    Jim

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    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    In short, I feel like a pushover. I don't know why.

    I've really got to shape up, in my writing and my life. But how? Anyone have suggestions?
    Hmm, worldview/paradigm shift? Anyway, we go through changes in life that fundamentally alter the individual that we are. Perhaps, you no longer are able to be captured by the notion of heroes and villains. Perhaps its because you realize that prior to acquiring such a label, heroes and villains were someone else...a person.

    I recommend rolling with that. Write a tale of exploration that went in search of the traditional things fictional adventures are centered around...only to find a deeper wisdom, maturity and inner peace than most are generally content with.

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    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    I definitely don't have too many commitments, seeing as I don't have a job or partner (living on a disability pension). I think it's just a sense of losing the passion for drama and conflict in fiction. Perhaps I'm afraid of drama and conflict in life, to some degree, so I've been keeping it out of my fiction. Perhaps it was just an instance of not seeing the problem in dropping so much of what I intended as the climax, and I have this nagging thought in the back of my head which moved to the front recently, and that's given me pause, and my nature of late - unadventurous, namely - has allowed it to grow.

    Thing is, the first book is genre fiction, and as such isn't intended to be Literary style. But it's closer to the latter than the former, since there's no Final Confrontation or any of that - something that I'm seeking to remedy. The second book is very definitely not Literary, much more Pulp, and definitely genre. It's gone a LOT smoother.

    Now that I know I have an issue, maybe I can work around it, weed out the anti-confidence so the confidence in myself can grow.

    I'll definitely absorb myself in the subject matter of story and the bit on conflict, climax, and antagonists/villains. That seems to have helped me before.

  6. #6
    Artist, Cartoonist & Dude Action Avenue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    I definitely don't have too many commitments, seeing as I don't have a job or partner (living on a disability pension). I think it's just a sense of losing the passion for drama and conflict in fiction. Perhaps I'm afraid of drama and conflict in life, to some degree, so I've been keeping it out of my fiction. Perhaps it was just an instance of not seeing the problem in dropping so much of what I intended as the climax, and I have this nagging thought in the back of my head which moved to the front recently, and that's given me pause, and my nature of late - unadventurous, namely - has allowed it to grow.

    Thing is, the first book is genre fiction, and as such isn't intended to be Literary style. But it's closer to the latter than the former, since there's no Final Confrontation or any of that - something that I'm seeking to remedy. The second book is very definitely not Literary, much more Pulp, and definitely genre. It's gone a LOT smoother.


    Now that I know I have an issue, maybe I can work around it, weed out the anti-confidence so the confidence in myself can grow.

    I'll definitely absorb myself in the subject matter of story and the bit on conflict, climax, and antagonists/villains. That seems to have helped me before.
    Well, good luck to you, SilentDan. My hope for you is that you can work through your issues, and I believe you will.

  7. #7
    Silent Dan, it sounds like sadness may be your malady. Focused physical exercise, and mental exercises have long been my own weapons against sadness and the doldrums. I have found my life moves along at a more healthy pace when I am able to maintain balance between my mind and my body. If I read too much, and neglect my body, then I cannot sleep, my concentration is blown, and I am a mess. the same goes for the opposite, seek balance, if possible, or at least strive for it. What do you have to lose?

  8. #8
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    I introduced a character who was supposed to be a bad guy, but I feel he turned out a good guy. That's not what I wanted at all! He hasn't done anything bad, at all. In fact he's been rather nice and generous to people. Now, that could make for a really affecting villain when he does turn
    I've underlined the last sentence as this was my initial thought.
    Some of the most notorious villains in history were charismatic, charming and very disarming. You could have the makings of a deliciously dark character once you're in a better frame of mind to explore those elements of his/your psyche.

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    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahnovitch View Post
    I've underlined the last sentence as this was my initial thought.
    Some of the most notorious villains in history were charismatic, charming and very disarming. You could have the makings of a deliciously dark character once you're in a better frame of mind to explore those elements of his/your psyche.
    That response is pretty much why I posted.

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    What is in a villain?

    A good friend once told me that a villain rarely sees him/her/itself as a villain. Whatever path any person takes is bound to come into conflict with someone's path. That does not make them a villain. Whatever side of the fence (if any) you are in will often dictate your enemies and friends. It is the same for the other party. There was never any good or bad people in this world to being with. There are only choices and those choices will, unfortunately, mark you until the very end. Unless of course, you decide to change.

    On another note, you seem to be the opposite of me. Whenever I am feeling down I retreat to my writings and none of the problems that I suffer follow me there. Whatever problems do arise from my fantasy world actually follow me into the real world. I often forget that I'm alive (0.o) And yes, I lose touch with reality every now and then. Tell me, have you lost your motivation? Unwillingness to decide and follow through is often a sign of failure of motivation or the will to act (I'm heavily into psychology but by no means an expert; but in short, I do have an idea on things). What keeps you going? I see that you attempt to stick to the rigid notion of what it means to be a villain and other things. You are actually doing yourself a disservice. Be free. Unbind yourself from these chains. They only serve to hinder your growth.

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    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    Not sure about the villain yet, but lately I've been feeling more confident about myself - especially as I passed my driving test first go (though it was with 8 non-critical errors, out of a maximum of 8... ). I think that'll have a positive effect on my writing. I've also started a new fantasy book, which is good because I've been trying to come up with one for a while now and failing to get anywhere with a couple aborted projects. So go me!

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    Artist, Cartoonist & Dude Action Avenue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    Not sure about the villain yet, but lately I've been feeling more confident about myself - especially as I passed my driving test first go (though it was with 8 non-critical errors, out of a maximum of 8... ). I think that'll have a positive effect on my writing. I've also started a new fantasy book, which is good because I've been trying to come up with one for a while now and failing to get anywhere with a couple aborted projects. So go me!
    It is great to hear you're feeling better and more confident. You're right: confidence is the key and having an appropriate amount of it will have an impact on everything you do. So, hang in there, Silent Dan, and good things will happen with your writing as long as you stick with it. Best regards for your continued success.....

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    Star Gawker ebusinesstutor's Avatar
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    Hey SilentDan,

    It sounds like it is time to stir things up.

    Try this:
    • Road trip - helps give perspective
    • Go on a retreat
    • Take up a new hobby
    • Join a community group that interests you


    When we get bogged time, it is time to make a change. A great book to look at about decision making is "Yes or No: The Guide To Better Decisions" by Spencer Johnson, author of the One Minute Manager series.

    The book is very slim and concise but very impactfull. It will help you make decisions about your life, your writing and your characters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    I think I've lost my strength of character. Lately, I've been feeling rather wimpy. Lately I chicken out on things, general things, and I feel I've actually gone backwards in growth. It's a general sense of dread, or apathy, or unwillingness to commit to actions or decisions. I take forever to get around to everything.

    In short, I feel like a pushover. I don't know why.

    An example from my writing, is my villain, or lack thereof. I wimped out on writing a villain in my book. I introduced a character who was supposed to be a bad guy, but I feel he turned out a good guy. That's not what I wanted at all! He hasn't done anything bad, at all. In fact he's been rather nice and generous to people. Now, that could make for a really affecting villain when he does turn, but so far, I've wimped out. I don't want my characters to be harmed, I guess. I cut the whole mind-washing thing, and the whole back-stabbing thing, and I'm left with... a shining knight, really.

    I've really got to shape up, in my writing and my life. But how? Anyone have suggestions?
    Man when we use to think about something and its too deeply then these problems arrive .
    I know these are all symptom of psychological disorder and please be stopped for some time .
    take a rest and think everything is okay and make your belief strong . I think it can solve your problem .
    Last edited by PeterWilliam; October 26th, 2012 at 03:18 PM. Reason: external link

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    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    I've investigated groups online, some even look alright (most not ideal but cover one of my primary interests, so there's that). I've been thinking of going on a road trip, but I don't have access to an *insured* car yet. I've been wanting to go up the coast for a weekend or so (especially because there's this fantastic girl who's open-minded and creative and fun and also willing to meet up). I just need the money (I am saving up).

    I've also rewritten the climax chapters entirely. And you know what? They are MUCH better this time. I'm getting them critiqued, though it'll be 2 weeks till I know what people say about them. But I can tell they're a vast improvement. What I had was a fizzled, limp climax - make your sex jokes if you want - and those chapters needed serious boot camp, which I did.

    And I feel better all-round now.

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