Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Musings of a Lonely Writer! ----- Characters with Mental Illnesses or Perceived Mental Illnesses!

It has been a while since I’ve done a Musings of a Lonely Writer segment post and I’ve missed it but I’ve been forced to put it off for a while as I’ve been a tad busy and really had to think of a topic I found interesting enough to discuss as well. But I am so glad to be back and adding this topic to my Musings of a Lonely Writer segments.

So since I write mostly Young Adult Novels I’ve begun to wonder about this as when I’ve been looking at novels lately I’ve found quite a few with this similar theme, characters with mental illnesses or perceived mental illnesses and locked up in mental hospitals. I think if used appropriately it can give depth, challenges, anxieties and difficulties to a character just as nearly 1 in 5 real life Americans alone each year suffer from a mental illness but I find many of the stories aren’t like that but rather the character is locked away in as some say in the novels a loony bin, whack shack, or other derogatory term and they aren’t crazy but are there for some insane reason which really seems a way to just get the character where the authors wants them so the character can uncover some deep dark secret or conspiracy and get to the adventure of solving the issue.

I mean there was a story I contemplated writing that had three different possibilities of where the character is, either a mental hospital, living the life of a ballerina who looses her senses and leaves the ballet to live on an old farm or is whisked away to an alien planet and the same man is in all possibilities and she falls asleep in one only to awaken in one of the other three with no clue as to which is true and I leave the readers questioning her sanity and sometimes their own, or rather I was going to if I ever write the story, lol.

So you see even I’ve played with the idea of mental illness or perceived mental illness but stories now seem like they are trying to make the character have a perceived illness to make them interesting but the character falls flat as they are just too perfect and it’s the whole worlds conspiring against them kind of thing which I don’t really like. I would rather a character straight up have an illness even a little bit or make it more interesting as to why they are locked away not just because some insane government agency or person wants the main character gone as they are the key to saving the world or something.

So I am hoping that the perfectly perfect character locked in a mental hospital thing isn’t the next fade in YA literature unless it’s handled in away that makes it different and unique but I’ve yet to really see that.

This has been Musings of a Lonely Writer! If you have any thoughts on this topic please leave a comment in the comment section of this post! Keep Reading, Keep Writing, and Keep Inspiring!

Edit November 5, 2016:

So fellow blogger Jasmin Weaver left a comment on my Character Names Galore blog Musings of a Lonely Writer! ----- Characters with Mental Illnesses or Perceived Mental Illnesses! post and I replied but thought some of what I added should go under this edit so I better explain my views on this topic. If you want to read the comment go here:  http://namesaremygame.blogspot.in/2016/11/musings-of-lonely-writer-characters_1.html 

I try not to handle such weighty and complex subjects as mental illness unless I’m willing to put in the time and effort into doing plenty of research and interviewing professionals, ect. In a rare case I have had a character that slowly drove herself to insanity as did her mother through a serious of events but I never really tackled it straight on but rather from the sidelines kind of thing.

I don’t think every author tackles mental illness the same way as I have seen some that have handled weighty subjects as mental illness, sexual assault, murder, and suicide in as proper a way as one can with such subjects. But then there are authors that have romanticized it too much and made it only a perceived illness so as to not really get into it and handle it as a proper illness or disorder and to show it’s ok to have an illness, well its not what anyone is supposed to ever have but because of inherited imperfection people have such illness for the present time but not in the future, but show a person can live a fulfilling healthy life even with a mental illness or disorder.

I’ve seen two instances where it was handled oddly to me. First one the character was locked away in some big bad mental hospital but through some handsome orderly or something she finds out she’s a Princess from a different realm and isn’t crazy. Which I think romanticized it and didn’t handle illnesses in such a great way. The second story showed people locked away all willy-nilly for not choosing the right group of people to be with, a weird reason to lock people up in mental hospitals for.

I think mental illness and hospitals that house mentally ill individuals would be interesting but not to just entertain or to say someone needs an illness to be interesting or anything but rather to tackle a real issue but in a unique but honest way but I haven’t found a YA novel that does so fully but maybe just not fully to my satisfaction but I need to realize I can’t get my way when it comes to other peoples stories but I can only have a strong opinion, lol!

The blogger mentioned Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ or ‘Hamlet’ but I only read what was required Shakespeare reading in school so I never read those but I have heard of them and how those characters were.

What I find interesting is ‘A Tell-Tale Heart’ by Eagar Allen Poe which basically I like the narrator trying to convince everyone of his sanity but all the while his murderous activities were anything but sane. In those kinds of gothic literature novels of that era and later very much had a lot to do with insanity and manipulation into insanity which really was handled in a creepy but interesting way in my opinion.

The blogger Jasmin Weaver mentioned gaslighting and yes I have heard of the term gaslighting and even seen the 1944 movie which I was just talking about the other day, lol! I saw the movie some years ago and I found it to be really interesting how that was played out and how the phrase came to be and what it means. I even have a soon-to-be-written story called ‘The Gas Light Murders’ set in 1890’s London or I’m thinking of moving it to America but same era and my character is hearing about a rash of murders and as the investigation lands on her husband her sanity is called into question as little things and then big things begin to point to her as the murderer and she fears what she’ll do and worries for her sons life but as the story will unfold the lead detective begins to figure things out after basically being a victim of gaslighting and the reader figures out my main female lead has also been a victim of gaslighting by the real murderer who is closer to her home then she thought. The title of the story has to do with that phrase gaslighting but also the murderer leaves notes on gas lamps within the city to lead the detectives to his crimes and as a way to mock them as well.

So anyway I agreed with her that gaslighting would be an interesting take on mental illness but also psychological abuse.

If I have any further thoughts I’ll come back and edit again! If anyone has any thoughts on this post, edit, or comments again leave a comment in the comment section of this post!

Edit November 12, 2016:

The Gas Light Murders novel details have changed as I no longer want a murder mystery but am going with a different type of mystery so I won’t be incorporating murder or the gaslighting phrase in that novel now, so just wanted to say so, lol!

If I have any further thoughts I’ll come back and edit again! If anyone has any thoughts on this post, edit, or comments again leave a comment in the comment section of this post!

No comments:

Post a Comment