You don’t have to be crazy to be a writer, but embracing your inner madness can definitely make you a better writer.
Why Embracing Your Inner Madness Makes You A Better Writer
While we all tend to avoid madness in real life, readers like to read about the strange, the perverted, the foolish, and the insane. This is because we can do it safely and vicariously. We also find out how people deal with the craziness in the books we read.
Drawing on your own inner reserves of crazy and pouring it into your writing can help you get in touch with this.
These three quotes from famous authors explain this perfectly:
- ‘Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.’ ~Allen Ginsberg
- ‘The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.’ ~Arthur Miller
- ‘Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.’ ~Paula Danziger
Make the madness count. Use it as fodder. Turn it into therapy by writing it out.
- Think of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you. Write it into your story by allowing it to happen to a character in that story.
- Take a moment of grief where you were not thinking clearly. Write it as a character in a story in first person present tense.
- Write about a moment where you took revenge on someone. Write it as if you are antagonist in a story.
- Think about the angriest you’ve ever been. Make a list of all the things you were feeling and all the things you wanted to do. Write about why you were angry.
- Make a list of the body language you’ve noticed when you’re feeling a bit crazy. Can you use it in a story?
Suggested reading: 9 Good Reasons For Your Character’s Bad Behaviour
Our Favourite Characters
Our favourite characters are always slightly crazy, perhaps a bit obsessed and unhinged. Maria Semple writes: ‘To make any kind of impact requires self-will bordering on madness.’
Make a list of your favourite characters and list their crazy behaviour. You will start to get a feeling of how this works. Don’t be afraid of the madness in fiction. Embrace it.
Some of the craziness you will find in your favourite characters includes them being: foolhardy, dogged, unforgiving, imprudent, irrational, unreasonable, illogical, absurd, silly, and wild.
More Madness Quotes From Famous Authors
- ‘The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.’ ~André Gide
- ‘The process of writing is a little like madness, a kind of possession not altogether benign.’ ~Joanne Harris
- ‘Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.’ ~Graham Greene
- ‘Writers are made–forged, really, in a kiln of their own madness and insecurities–over the course of many, many moons.’ ~Chuck Wendig
- ‘Creation which cannot express itself becomes madness.’ ~Anaïs Nin
- ‘My favourite part about being a writer is being totally lost inside a story, so immersed that your fictional life overtakes your real one. I love the madness of that, when the story is pouring out and you feel this crazy urgency to get it down before you lose it. It’s totally euphoric, and yes, completely wacko.’ ~Jandy Nelson
- ‘There was never a great genius without a touch of madness.’ ~Ben Jonson
- ‘Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression.’ ~Nick Flynn
- ‘We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.’ ~Henry James
- ‘May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.’ ~Neil Gaiman
I hope this post on embracing your inner madness makes you a better writer.
Use our Character Creation Kit to create great characters for your stories.
by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson
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