Antagonists in the making – The disappointing realisation of what people do when they are threatened, and how it can provide gold for your writing.
I was out celebrating a family member’s birthday recently. It was a big deal for me – I’ve been living on the opposite side of the country for most of my life, out of reach from extended family, so getting to share a special event like this was close to my heart.
We celebrated in a small country town – and consequently the people attending were also from small towns… and a few things that had been said about me (behind my back) got back during the night. Which was confusing because everyone was so lovely. Well, to my face anyway.
The things they had said were by no means true; and managed to upset my family to the point of tears. I was a little urked, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t register what some twenty or thirty something thought of me, especially when their idea of a great time was going out on the weekend to get so wasted they could barely stand. It says a lot for their integrity, and frankly I couldn’t be bothered putting stock in the opinions of people who are destructive and do little with their lives. As I’ve stated before a brush with cancer has taught me to value the time I have left on this world, and follow my passion…
(Unleash my inner bitch for a mini rant! My feelings were hurt and I feel protective over my family, so be prepared for my wrath… over-dramatic much?)
But what a great character study for my writing – those two-faced gossip mongers.
We’ve all experienced the passive aggressive nature of others. How someone is inevitably threatened by you in some manner: maybe you are closer to their friend than they are, or have a better body shape, or appear to be genuinely happy or successful. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter – you have no control over what triggers these types of people to turn nasty. It’s the mean girl syndrome. Gender doesn’t play a part in this type of behaviour, but I’ve seen it a lot in the female of our species – what is it that make girls want to tear other girls down?
Most of the time they are probably not even aware they are doing it. An underhanded way of manipulating things to place them in the centre of attention and cast you in a bad light.
It has given me renewed vigour with a story arc I was having trouble with. I needed something to amp up the motivations of a certain character, and now I have it. Granted it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to experience, especially at my age – I left high school behind 30 years ago. But I continue to find inspiration in real life for my writing all the time. Snippets of overheard conversations, personalities, physical descriptors… people watching can be a valuable tool to offer relief to writers block.
From a party that was straight from the script of a CW television show, it has reminded me why I sometimes prefer fictional characters over real ones. And how little patience I have for fakers.
Experiences, both good and bad are fantastic tools for your arsenal. Be vigilant writers and make that manuscript gold!