The ‘Write’ Way of Dealing with Psychology..?

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Can a work of fiction ever have real validity in dealing with the weightier issues lurking in the dark recesses of the human animal?

I asked myself that when I was challenged to ‘justify’ some of the real-life horrors that feature in my debut crime fiction novel ‘BiteMarks’ – an excerpt of which features prominently on the pages of Angie’s Diary as I write this short article.

The book deals variously with sexual violence, between consenting and non-consenting adults, paraphilia‘s, the nature of sexuality itself, isolation, racism, prejudice, bullying, depression, suicide…the list goes on.

The main character is a probationer police constable with a host of personal demons that haunt his waking and sleeping moments; he is also a ‘vampire’ – in a human, blood-fetishist or ‘sanguinarian‘ way – not in a supernatural sense. It is not a ‘light’ read, even if the underlying message is one of hope for redemption:

‘We cannot change our pasts, cannot take back the evils, small or large, that we have visited upon others, but we can choose not to be defined by our previous actions and so that is what I try to do each day.’

So why did I write it, and why do I feel that it has validity in a psychological sense? I wrote it because I am a former police constable who once lived an ‘alternative’ lifestyle which didn’t fit with that employers sense of how its employees should be, who experienced some of the issues raised in the book first-hand, and who watched others from afar.

The book is a work of fiction, but it is also an exploration and an extension of certain psychological aspects that have resonance with people from all backgrounds. How do I know? Because out of those people kind enough to review the novel so far; one lived through a childhood out of a horror movie, and another is a practising psychologist – both of them were appalled and moved in equal measure; neither of them are personally known to me.

I hold my hands up to shameless book-pimping in part, but I’d also be fascinated by your thoughts too – is fiction a valid way of furthering our understanding of our own psychology and identity?

The ‘Write’ Way of Dealing with Psychology..? was last modified: August 2nd, 2016 by Drew Cross

4 Responses to "The ‘Write’ Way of Dealing with Psychology..?"

  1. Dan Sutton  Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 22:28

    Agreed: fiction not only can but should explore psychological questions: the great thing about a fictional framework is that it allows the writer to set up a reality in which the psychological aspects that one wishes to explore can be framed perfectly. I explore various aspects of abnormal psychology in my science fiction story “The Hand of God”, also published on this website in three parts (although I have to admit that the story veers into hard science fiction about halfway through part three).

    Reply
    • Drew Cross  Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 21:04

      Science fiction is as close to real ‘predicting the future’ as the human mind can get, I reckon – so nothing at all wrong with that! I enjoy a good SF read too, so I’ll be hunting yours out a little later tonight.

      Reply
  2. Gabriel Constans  Friday, June 3, 2011 at 1:34

    You’ve answered your question with your question Drew. I agree. In many respects, it is easier for us to understand, identify and relate to different psychological realities with fictional characters, characteristics and stories, than it is through nonfiction or theoretical explanations. Thanks for your post.

    Reply
  3. Joyce White  Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 0:41

    What we once thought was fiction is now turning into fact. Even as far back as the cavemen, reality and fiction fill cave dwellings. Humans have a clear
    interest in what comes tomorrow, what comes after death, and how can we
    beat life.

    Reply

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