Monday, May 9, 2011

Are you an S or are you an M?

sadism |ˈsāˌdizəm|nounthe tendency to derive pleasure, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.• (in general use) deliberate cruelty.

masochism |ˈmasəˌkizəm; ˈmaz-|nounthe tendency to derive pleasure, from one's own pain or humiliation.• (in general use) the enjoyment of what appears to be painful or tiresome.

So, are you an S or are you an M?

I've read a lot of posts about whether writers are left/right brained, how to bring out creativity or meeting deadlines, writing vs. editing and the concept of writer's block.

...but don't writers write 'cause we love it? 'Cause we derive pleasure from it? do you see where I'm going with this?

Getting around those blockages, those aspects that we put off or avoid altogether, I think it comes down to what parts of writing get the serotonin flowing for each of us as writers.

Let's do S today and M next time :)

Writing is a sadistic process. You create these characters you love, you raise them up with family, relationships, success, love, happiness... and then you do your best to destroy them piece by piece. You have them lose their job, you kill their family, you have their spouse sleep with the coffee barista from around the corner.

...and as writers, we learn to love this. Sure, at first it's hard... so hard to do this. We want them to be happy. We want everything to go perfect and conflicts to be small and easily resolved... but when we work to become better writers, we quickly descend into the most depraved practices.

And that's okay. No one wants to read about perfect characters in a perfect world doing perfect things. That's boring. It makes readers angry 'cause life and people aren't perfect and we shake our heads, grip those pages hard enough to tear and we say, 'NO, this isn't real...', and at that moment, the writer has lost the reader. Sometimes for good.

So as writers, we learn to be sadistic. And we learn to love the rush of sadism, of the characters we love feeling as much pain as we can throw at them... and every time, every story, every re-write... we up those stakes. We inflict greater pain in more creative ways.

Sadism is the easiest to learn because it doesn't hurt us.

It becomes addictive, and so we write.

This is why there are so many writers. We're junkies for this rush, this ability to create beautiful worlds and beautiful characters and then burn them all to the ground.

Then we become just a little more human, a little more socially acceptable... and we write the climax where the main character succeeds in some way, is redeemed. And then we write the ending. Happy or not, either way, it has to be satisfying.

...and then we look for a new character to hurt, a new world to destroy. We look for that next hit of serotonin and we keep writing.

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