Am I Too Dramatic?

This is a question that keeps popping up in my mind. In UpMeDownMe I have a lot of drama surrounding mental illness and packed into one year. The sad thing about this is that it is based on what I’ve gone through in a year, toned down even. Molly Parker ends with someone dying. Both revolve around very broken individuals.

So I wonder, am I too dramatic? Do I always lean toward the extremes?

Yes.

There’s a reason why. In normal everyday life a person is not really tested. No one knows the limits that the individual has and where they break or where they power through. In UpMeDownMe, the narrator confronts a gruesome suicidal situation and handles it as though it was everyday life. Most of his life is rather non-frightening except for his own suicide attempts. His limits are always tested and he passes.

In Molly Parker, she gets pushed to the extremes of sexual experimentation down to flesh-hook suspension and ultimately autoerotic asphyxiation that leads to death. She finds her limits and runs. She loses herself and in time finds herself again. But I push her to her limits and break her wide open by showing what’s next in her hedonism.

I like breaking people in the end. Breaking people shows their true colors, what they do next shows their growth and what they’ll truly become.

It’s part of my own philosophy of life. The life never tested is one that mingles in mediocrity. Maybe it’s because I’m tested yearly. Maybe it’s because I can be having a good day one day and then spend the next week in hell. But for whatever the reason, I think that pushing normal people to their breaking point is the way to see who they are. Otherwise, they’re just going about their day. In the end, I don’t want to read about someone eating a sandwich.

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7 responses to “Am I Too Dramatic?

  1. It’s a difficult one to answer. I went through so much a few years back from the extremes of obsession with someone to the deepest depths of depression. It’s why I wrote my book. Key thing is when you are going through that you look around at everyone ‘normal’ and wonder how the hell they go through everyday talking about the mundane things
    Arran

    • I already have that problem. Being pretty fucked up myself, I have no clue how people just go from one mundane thing to another. I went from being severely ill to being wrapped up in a web of phone calls where everyone thought I was a drug addict. That’s… normal for me.

      • It does get better, the mind reaches a trigger point where you realise that this can’t go on. just don’t be afraid to reach out for help, it’s always there even if you can’t see it. I nearly finished it all a year ago but thankfully I got help from my Doctor…changed person now.

        hang in there

  2. You make a good point with this – I agree that reading a character on a dramatic downslide and then see them pick themselves up is a really good way to build a strong character. It can get a little boring (and in some cases unrealistic) to see someone just drifting easily through life. I also like the idea that it’s what the characters do after you break them down that shows their true nature. Nice post 🙂

    • Thanks. I just wonder since for all the other book ideas floating around in my head I break people as well. Molly Parker is broken in the beginning and at the end. My narrator breaks down for a small passage when it’s indicated that Rachel kills herself down the line. I have very dramatic moments that destroy the character and then they pick themselves up. I was just wondering how realistic this is in writing or if it’s just going to be my thing when writing.

  3. I think it could be both – I’d prefer to read about someone who has been through/is going through a difficult time in their lives over an Average Joe who somehow knows how to deal with everything. And, maybe it’s just me, but I believe going over the top in writing isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve put my characters through the proverbial wringer in a way I doubt would ever really happen, but I think it sometimes takes a little too much drama to really hit home. And at any rate, if it is just your thing when writing, then I’d say it’s a good style to have – I for one have enjoyed your UpMeDownMe and Molly Parker novels, so take it in your stride and roll with it 🙂

    • Thanks, I try to be dramatic without going over the top. Rachel dying seemed right, it seemed like something the story built toward. One person survived to tell the story of her, and the other didn’t. It’s something I’m going to focus on in the rewrite, focusing more on her as part of the novel, even more so than she already is.

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