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Intensity, Borderline Personality Disorders and Character Creation

The writer in me experiences many, many personality disorders in designing and growing characters I use in my books. I don't always have more than a kernel of that disorder, but sometimes, these can hit me square in the middle of my chest and I feel like a bug stuck on a pin in a collection, retired in a drawer at a museum. I can't escape the pain of knowing there's a big part of me in that character's flawed side, not their good side.

My new release involves the relationship between two high-intensity individuals. What might be a turnoff for one person in a relationship, becomes something totally attractive to another. In the beginning, neither one knows if they can trust their own judgment. They both have histories of making bad choices. In the end, they actually do know each other better than they thought, they rely on instincts that serve them well. There is always the Happily Ever After, of course, or it wouldn't be a romance.

“Here,
rising from the stupor of a love-lust indulgence, his heart still racing with
the intensity of their lovemaking, becoming as close as he possibly could be to
her, this magical angel who had stumbled into his life, he had no defense. Nor
did he seek cover. He was as engaged as he could be without wearing her skin.
But even that he would do if it would bring him more of the pleasure of her
being.”

I try not to show it, but I have a high intensity life and lifestyle. There are times when this serves me, and others when it can be destructive. I show up for both. I pay attention to both.

I can remember sitting at dinner during my college years, and someone was asking me why I analyzed people so much. “Why not just accept them for who they are?” I looked in horror at that person. It was like I was being asked why I breathed.

I suspect everyone does their own private analytical version, but perhaps some on a more subconscious level than others. I use them to create the thread of the personalities in the stories I write, so it is front and center for me. And yes, I make up stories all the time about people, which doesn't cause me a problem, unless it is someone I'm very close to and I'm wrong.

So, walking that tightrope of personality disorder, addiction to adrenaline and intensity, bleeds over into my personal life as well. I think writers, actors and other artists tend to have this happen to them frequently. I don't call it an occupational hazard. It's that we live in several different worlds, not just one. One world would not work for me. It would be boring. And none of them are less “real,” whatever that means.

Do I have to become like the character inside to write him or her? Does an actor need to become that person when they act? Or, is it possible to know the difference between where I stop and the character begins? And does it matter?


I guess that's what keeps me writing. I get to live in this character, in their world for a bit. I dress it up, dash it, reorganize it and then present it with a neat little bow, all put together the way the pieces should in a 1000 piece puzzle. I get to answer the question, “What if…” like I did the first time I wrote a story.

And I learn to have patience with myself and the process. I take off my robes of many colors and decompress, until the next fantasy. Now, isn't that all real, after all?

https://youtu.be/HjCSGhcywRc

  • You triggered a line of thought: The best actors but a little of themselves into their performance but not too much. It's the difference between John Wayne, whose character is always John Wayne, and Dustin Hoffman who becomes the character. I love John Wayne, by the way, but I watch his movies to see John Wayne. 🙂

    I also wanted to mention that I loved "The Host." Every time I see that pic, I remember how much I enjoyed the book.

    Writers share a bit of themselves. As CS Lewis said, "We read to know we're not alone." Writers provide that gift.

    • I love John Wayne and was watching him this morning in True Grit. And you are so right he does play John Wayne in his movies. I love my authors for providing us such wonderful gifts

    • Thanks, Judy. You hit another one of my faves too, John Wayne. Charlton Heston was like that as well. He came to our town to support his wife, who did beautiful oil paintings. But he was moses, God, and Ben Hur all rolled up into one. In my town.

      I also loved the quote from CS Lewis. Writing can be lonely, except for the friends we create in our stories. And like a true friend, we don't go ordering them around, but watch them develop and grow, like toddlers, wondering how they'll turn out and what they'll do with their lives. Thanks for being here, and for understanding what I'm talking about! Now I don't feel so alone!!

    • I love "The Quiet Man." But it's still John Wayne, only in Ireland. Two good things. 😀

      Charlton Heston is another bigger than life person, in a good way. I did not know that about his wife. How cool.

      Like a true friend, they surprise the heck out of you, once in a while, when they share something about themselves, and you're left gaping, "I didn't know that about you." And you love them more. Definitely not alone. 🙂

  • Your personality and quirks make you the wonderful person and writer that you are. I for one would never mind if you used my own quirks in one of your books as I would actually be honored you noticed them. I expect when I hang out with authors that they could use anything they see about me or things I do in their books. That would never bother me it actually would make me smile to see that and realize hey that's me even if my name is never used. When JM (Jennifer) Madden wrote the Pink Palace in her book I laughed my ass off is all I could see when I read it was the awesome picture of all of us that night.
    I love how authors but themselves and others in their books. Books are more real when they have parts of real people and places in them. I can't wait to read this new book of yours. I also can't wait to see you this week I adore getting to hang out with you and do not get to do it often enough as we live so far apart.
    Keep doing what your doing and I'll be here reading and pimping away. I love that you are always part of my Sunday's with these posts <3

    • Ah, thanks Karen. I'm so excited to see you as well, and so sorry I missed your mom at the last one in Nashville. That was so funny, that evening with the group. I think that was the first weekend I'd met you. That picture is still a treat for me to see. Yes, we take poetic license with all our friends, our readers, our families and co-workers. Like a patchwork quilt, isn't it? We take whole pieces of cloth and turn them into something else that doesn't look anything like the original. (In that respect, your secrets can remain secrets, LOL). Writing character-driven books, rather than plot-heavy books, makes me a lover, a hater and a student of people. All people. I pinch myself when I look at what I get to do every day, and that I can get paid to do it! I'm so glad I'm part of your Sundays, Karen!

  • A true artist lives in many different worlds and continues to create new worlds. We must be self-aware of our own evolution, our own strengths and weaknesses. I believe that when we embrace all of life, just the way it is without judgment, we transcend the all the minutia, achieve enlightenment and realize that we are co-creators with the universe. Having this belief system as a teenager made me quite the oddball, at least from the perspective of my fellow students. That's when I knew that I was on to something powerful. Masterful is the artist who can live in and maintain balance in all the different worlds.

    Thank you for your blog today my princess with all of it's wisdom and honesty.

    xoxoxoxox, YP

    • Well said. We are a complicated bunch, aren't we? I think having that wonderful outlook on life you developed early made you able to navigate all sorts of travels. I marvel at how many things you have done, the people you have met and become friends with. What a life filled with colorful characters. I'm honored to be counted among those.

      Now as for the balance, I know that's always desirable, but I can't really say I'm balanced. For me, that means I've grown my capacity to experience other worlds. I guess that's so I never feel really lost. So maybe it's not boredom I run away from, but the limited ability to only see things one world at a time. I think I dance through many of them every day! That way, I get to be teacher and student, parent and child. Lover and object of desire. That's where all my characters hang out…Thanks to you as well for your wisdom today…OXOXO YA

    • I'm constantly working on balance. That's a tough one my princess. Thank you for your kind words and your wonderful friendship. You add so much color in life. Thank you! xoxoxoxox, YP

    • Our friendship is indeed one of the most beautiful things of my life. Wonderful to share the creative passion of our collaborative works. The spice of life, and something I hope to have forever, my dear friend.

  • Interesting post Sharon. When I read I go to places I didn't know I wanted to go. I love a really happy ending. But, it's fun to see real life situations pop up. Some make me smile and some I think I know that's happened to so so.

    • The very best reason to read! So happy to have you along this journey. We do this together, spinner of tales, and the listener, reader. One does not exist without the other. So, thank you!

  • I love your Blog. Always interesting and new!

    • Thanks so much Terri. It truly is one of the most fun thing I do as an author. And I'm so gladdened to know they resonate with you too. I'll always be here for you to come back over and over again!