Where having a mental illness and writing for publication come into wild conflict…


55,000 words.  I have reached a critical point for the protagonist.  Hit by bad news a couple of months ago, with which she ‘rolled with the punches’, she is hit by another hit.

Having Bipolar and its connected weirdness when it comes to emotional response in a time of crisis makes this REALLY difficult to write about.  I forced out a chapter, but it doesn’t work.  It’s not who she is, to be basically, “Well, what do we do?”.

For me-I would shut down.  My brain would stop working for awhile.  My thoughts would be completely disjointed and unreasoned, and my outward emotion would become completely flat.  I would be like that until my brain ‘rebooted in safe mode’ (I have no idea what goes on in there or how it happens, but that’s my experience).  I would be intensely logical in dealing with the situation, almost inhumanly so.  All options would be on the table for consideration, and I would want to weigh them all.  I would want to get alone for awhile to think through it, then possibly seek some kind of assistance/advice.

The bad thing is…  I am not the person my protagonist is, nor have I experienced what she is experiencing.

She’s 18 years old.  Her parents were killed in a house fire which she thinks was caused by some nefarious entity.  She did her best to get through it, with the help of her best frioend and her best friend’s family.  She went ahead and began college, attending a few days/couple of weeks of classes.  She escorted a guy that sparked her interest home after he injured herself, but then got freaked out by unfamiliar things in the evening in the city, fell in a fountain that turned out to be a portal to another world, and while there, found out that she is somehow connected to the fae beings that live there.

She made it back to this world, reunited with the friend, went to a party with her friend, and they were drugged.  The friend has been kidnapped and taken through a portal.

Now she wakes up.  She’s a strong person, but good grief, she’s under a LOT of strain.  Does she shut down?  For how long?  What does she do with the guy who rescued her before she wound up through the portal as well?

I wrote a draft chapter.  It works, kind of.  If she is an emotionless robot.  Anyone  have any thing that might help?  Links to expressions of emotion, especially interior experience wourld really help me here. 

Thanks in advance!



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5 responses to “Where having a mental illness and writing for publication come into wild conflict…

  1. Speaking purely as one who has had similar things, if not those EXACT things, happen to me and being completely stressed out, I would most likely do one or more of a list of things.
    1. cry
    2. blow up at the very next person who asked how my relationship with whatzizname is doing.
    3. briefly consider calling the police, then reconsider based on the fact that they would probably think I was crazy
    4. wonder if I really was crazy.
    5. If the guy rescued me, I might feel obligated to return the favor.
    6. If 5, then I would probably be scared out of my wits and try to talk myself out of it.
    7. if 6, then I would probably go try to rescue him anyway, especially if he turned out to be really nice and if I felt responsible for him getting kidnapped in the first place.
    8. eventually, I would put on my “big girl boots” and use whatever knowledge I possessed from my own trip into this portal (always assuming it goes to the same place as the first one) to prepare myself.

  2. Grace E

    I would love to read the chapter draft! What you described in this post for someone who’s bipolar sounds like a logical introvert who’s very stressed…but on a more extreme level. I say this because I’m that introvert and sometimes I find myself needing to get away from the situation in order to comprehend it. I over analyze situations all the time which causes me to misinterpret people’s intentions. Sometimes emotionless can work for beginnings of stories…gives you time for character development throughout the story. I’m not a fiction writer (mostly because of time restraints) but I hope this helps!

    • Thank you! I’m actually hoping to have the rough draft of the book done in the next week or so. I will probably be posting some of it as a ‘teaser’, maybe three chapters or so. We’ll see soon. 🙂

  3. Wow. I’m an aspiring writer and I have bipolar disorder as well. I’ve written a few things, but never something as elaborate as what you’re writing, and I never thought about that issue. I guess it’s because my characters have always been a little weird and tortured, their emotional responses to trauma were always a little out of the box. But I can’t imagine how hard it would be to write a strong character in a time of crisis while putting aside your own emotional experience. I imagine it would be like trying to think with a different brain, one that has not been altered by a disorder. It’s hard to wrap your head around that… I don’t know what could help you but I really hope you find it! You really got me thinking there, thank you, and good luck!

    • It’s a challenge. Luckily, I have some great people in my life who are willing to give me real answers to questions that most don’t want to consider. I grilled them for an hour about what goes on, exactly, mentally, physically, and emotionally in a time of extreme crisis for them. I was able to take that and write the scene.

      A couple of pieces of unsolicited advice for you. 1: Read “writing fiction for dummies”. It’s a great resource and user friendly. I got it on kindle for… 12 dollars or something? 2: Google writing methods in general. I’m using my own version of one called the “snowflake method”. It really helps my scattered brain stay on task. 🙂

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