Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Arc of Neurosis and Why We Love It

How insightful Patti’s post was on Monday, when she spoke of the mysteries of desire. I saw immediate application to my own WIPs.

She made the point that the author must know what the protagonist’s desires are—even if the protag doesn’t know them yet. In other words, the author probably won’t be successful in creating a compelling story arc if the author doesn’t know what the protag can’t live without.

Of course the character’s recognition of the goal may emerge as out of a mist instead of being a gold ring just out of reach. But I was reminded of how the struggle often is the character against herself, and not against outward obstacles.

The apostle James astutely observed that a “a double-minded person is unstable in all his ways.” Such instability is rich fodder for a writer—we love to describe unstable people! 

But the original Greek is even more insightful. The word translated “doubleminded” isn’t just about indecision. It’s dipsuche—two-souled. And the person who has two souls warring against each other—why, that’s any writer’s dream.

Which novels have you read that effectively described such double-souled people? Were they ever able to integrate those two souls?

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