First, read the exercise. Second, read the text that follows–it’s quoted from a blog entry I wrote more than a year ago. Finally, grab paper and pen and get to work!
Pick a fictional character (one you’ve already created, one from someone else’s work, or one you create for the purpose). Next pick a mental illness you wish to explore through that character; don’t go with something garish and flashy (in other words, don’t immediately think “serial killer”). Use one of the sites or articles linked to below to research the illness. Take notes. Look for case histories if you can find them. Next, free-write for at least ten minutes on how that illness developed in the character’s life. Then free-write for ten minutes on how that illness affects the character’s everyday life today. Finally, free-write for ten minutes listing out any ideas this gives you for interesting character quirks, plot developments, themes, etc. Then go back through this material and cross out anything that sounds trite or obvious, or that clashes with what you’ve learned about that illness.
Did you come up with anything interesting?
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