# 31 - Harnessing My Creativity

I'm having a hard time harnessing my creativity.

I haven't been writing again lately. I just have a hard time keeping my focus. I keep coming back to this idea for a book I want to write that I think could be really great, but I have no idea how to write it.

Basically, I want to write about someone who has lost touch with reality. The story I want to write is much deeper and more complex than that, but that is the real issue I need to tackle in order to have a chance at writing this book.


My husband and I just watched a movie called "The Fountain." I looked up some information on the movie after we watched it, and it is supposedly a story that interweaves the distant past, the present, and the far (and I emphasize FAR) future. That's not what I saw when I watched it. What I saw was a man who went crazy because he was on the brink of discovering a cure for his wife's fatal condition right when she dies. I saw him having delusions, thinking he was in the distant past trying to save a queen from dying, and at other times, hallucinating about trying to save a dying tree in a very warped and strange kind of world. While watching the movie, I felt that it portrayed psychosis solely from the perspective of the person who is delusional. While very interesting and thought-provoking, I felt it was just too hard to understand. Yes, that leaves the viewer/reader to draw their own conclusions and is very artistic and everything, but I don't think that is the most effective way to tell the story.


I have actually experienced a time in my life recently where I completely lost touch with reality and had to be hospitalized. That's all I'm going to tell you about my personal life, but I tell you that to say simply that I feel I can write on the topic of psychosis from a perspective of personal experience.

My original thought was to write the book in a fully omniscient point of view, but I've scrapped that idea. Although it does let the reader see everything that's going on at once, it's just too detached. There's just no way to get the feeling of the characters and really delve into their experience that way.

So here's the question - how do you write it in a way that portrays what it's like, while still having it make sense enough to the reader for them to get something out of it? I don't think writing it solely from the psychotic person's perspective would be the best way to go because it's just too darn confusing. Although, I think it could be very powerful if I could pull it off. "The Fountain" was very confusing, but after watching it through to the end and talking it over with my husband, I felt I understood what was going on. My interpretation wasn't at all like the writers had in mind, but maybe that's the best kind of art.

If I were to write it from any other perspective, I couldn't get the true feeling of what's happening inside the main character, and therefore I would lose a lot of the effect and meaning of what I'm trying to portray.

One option is to tell the story in the William Faulkner fashion. "My mother is a fish." is the chapter that comes to mind. Each chapter contains the thoughts and perspective of another person in the story, so that all the different characters' thoughts, perspectives, experiences, and beliefs can be shown. Unlike the 3rd person limited omniscient viewpoint, Faulkner actually writes each chapter in 1st person; each character gets to talk in their own voice in their own respective chapters.

The most conventional way to write the story would be to use limited 3rd person, where the character whose "head we are in" changes, but the story is never told by them in the "I" fashion; it is always in 3rd person. I just don't know if I could really tell the story this way without it sounding too modern and mundane.

I don't know; I'm just rambling at this point. If anyone has any thoughts or advice on the subject, feel free to pipe in. Hopefully now that I've dumped some of my thoughts on the subject out on the page here, I'll be able to get back to work on my other projects and finally finish a first draft.


  1. Wow, you're really wanting to tackle what seems to me one of the very hardest subjects to write about! Not really being a writer, I don't have much writing advice. I was just thinking if I were to read a book about the subject, I think the most beneficial thing for me to get out of it would be that people who experience psychosis are very real, normal people. Actually, I have an idea.... I'll email you.

  2. Wow! Half-way through your post, I was thinking, "I'm going to tell her to read The Sound and the Fury. That'll help!" and I felt all cool and and literary (you were talking about the Sound and the Fury, right? I think he does the first person thing in As I Lay Dying" too - I have it on my shelf but still haven't read it). But, I guess you already know all about that...another example is a short story (you've probably already heard of it and read it) called "The Yellow WallPaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It's really interesting - it's written from the perspective of a woman who is locked up in a room and how she starts to lose her mind. The thing that fascinates me is how the author shows her progression.

    Well, that's all my advice. You've picked a tough subject, but I think you could do a really good job! I'll be interested to hear about your progress!

  3. Heather, I was actually thinking of As I Lay Dying. I haven't read The Sound and the Fury, but it sounds like it would be a good one to read. I have read The Yellow Wallpaper, but it's been a long time. I should go back and revisit it.

  4. My advice--just take it for whatever it's worth--is to write it in the voice that comes to you. If first person from many people makes the most sense, do it. Other people have done it, so why can't you? Your first purpose is to communicate your story in the best way you can, and if that means going against the norm, oh well. I've found that whenever I try to force a story into a particular format, it's never quite as good as it could have been if I'd just written it in the way that felt "right."

  5. That sounds very interesting. :) I wish I had some advice for you but I don't. Like Ronda said, write it in the way that it comes to you.


  6. The Sound and the Fury is intense. I haven't read it in years, but the perspectives are...well, just to give you an idea, one of perspectives is of a mentally retarded man (knowing that will help you get through the first part, trust me). If you're interested, I'd be more than happy to lend you my copy!


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