Psychology and characters

It’s a fact of life that if you marry a therapist, you get to hear about all sorts of psychological issues, theories and concepts. That’s how I heard about the Karpman Triangle.

Basically, Stephen Karpman (creator of the Karpman Triangle) explained that human beings go into one of the three unhealthy positions of the Triangle when conflict occurs. You either rescue, perpetrate or become the victim. He argued that none of them are healthy, rather they are all co-dependent…but, the point to us writers (yeah, sorry, I took a while to get to it), is that our characters should also go into these positions–at least, if they’re realistic.

Now, the neat thing is this post by Shawn Coyne on just this issue. He’s come up with this great exercise on how to use the Karpman Triangle to develop great characters.

“…focus on the imaginary people you’ve invented. Think about how each one of them would play one of these three roles when faced with a direct conflict.

How would he play the victim of someone else or a power out of his personal control?

How would he become the perpetrator, the character that loses his composure and unloads a bucket of bile on another character?

How would he play the rescuer, the character that steps in between these two combative forces and sides with the victim?”

Then he follows with an excellent example of just how to do that. Love it. What a fantastic idea, using psychology to get to know our characters better.

Thanks for the awesome post, Shawn!


Writing Part-time

I have a DayJob. Which means I write when I can. I squeeze it in when there’s time. I hope that the muse is inspired then, that there are no doggie emergencies or phone calls so I don’t have to run away halfway through.

That’s why I found this post by Ali Luke so helpful. How to make the most out of my writing time. 17 ideas. Awesome.

Number 8 works for me. If I leave home and go to a favourite coffee shop, there are no doggies to walk, no phones, no undone laundry. I can just write and I focus.

Number 15 was another issue. I’ve learned that I need to write first and do the Media/blog thing last. Otherwise, I won’t do write. My blog can be a monster that sucks away my time. I start reading other posts, checking in what others are doing, looking at other blogs and, before I know it, hours have passed and I have to get away from the computer. No writing has happened.

Number 16 is another really good one. I like to edit my work and that scene that’s flat and empty and numbing all at once can bounce around in my head while I do something else. Believe it or not the back of my mind is looking at it while I do something else. If I’m patient, my subconscious will keep looking until it comes up with a great idea for the setting, a comeback, a great way to present a character or a twist that will bring that piece of the book to life.

What about you? Do any of these work for you?