Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stress and Fiction

Stress is a big part of everyday life. It comes in many forms, good and bad. If you're like me, you've probably seen lots of people stress and handle in in different ways.

But, have you ever really thought about the reasons people stress? That's what's currently on my mind. What exactly causes stress? Is it an overload of the brain's power? Is it putting too much on our plate at once and causing our body to freak out? What exactly is the underlying cause of stress?

I'm no psychology expert and I don't ever intend to be. I am in the business of studying people and their reactions, both as a writer and a teacher. I've taken one psychology course in high school and a couple education courses focused on the way the brain works. And yet, the answer to what causes us to stress still isn't clear to me.

Is it something innate or is it something learned?

Either way, it is clear to me that stress affects us in many ways. And therefore, it should affect our characters in many ways. Everything we face in our day to day lives is incorporated into what we write.

While writing (and reading) allows us to escape from reality, there are also many things we have to consider about fiction and reality. Fiction will always be rooted in some semblance of reality as long as people are the ones writing it.

How much of reality gets into your fiction?

1 comment:

  1. I saw a medical programme about stress recently and they said it came from the expectations people set for themselves or the ones that are set for them by other people. Like, if you're late, you know that stressing about it won't change anything, yet you do stress, because you think of the person waiting, of how you've been rude, of why you were late and maybe you could have avoided it, etc...

    About how much reality gets into my fiction, I'd say 'OMG, an awful lot!'. When I was writing my Space Pirates novel, it was all about my political questionning and trying to say something about choices. It needs a LOT of time to brew. There are ideas there, but they're not ready to be a real novel yet - mostly because of the dreadfully high standards I give myself on this one. Ahah, stress.

    With Tricia's story, I took a lot of anecdotes and situations that me or my friends have experienced. I love that is one is more about characters and their feelings, that I'm definitely talking about something I know and that my friends, when I show them tidbits go like 'Ahah, you've taken that bit from *me*!' and laugh.