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CM24

Christian Writing and the Struggle with Mental/Emotional Illness

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One of the big themes in my stories are Christian and non-Christian characters who have to endure and fight through various mental and emotional problems, while hopefully finding God and doing His will along the way. I've done quite a bit of research, myself being my primary case study as it were, but does anyone here have any other advice, questions, or comments?

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This sounds like a good story!! 

 

What kind of mental illness are you thinking about? Are you want experiences? Testimony? Perhaps a little more information would be good. I have personally dealt with postpartum. 

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Yes, this does like a good story.  For advice, I would that you would tell the stories as though you yourself were the character.

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I'm including major depression, dissociative identity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder as the main illnesses. I also have a couple of characters with Asperger's disorder and high-functioning autism, and another who might be bipolar. I might include others, too, but we'll see.

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1 minute ago, suspensewriter said:

Yes, this does like a good story.  For advice, I would that you would tell the stories as though you yourself were the character.

Yes, that's what I'm trying to do, especially since I have first-hand experience with many of these illnesses. They tend to fascinate me, too; the human mind and heart are so incredibly complex!

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Yes, it is, but I'm confident I can handle them all with enough help. It also helps that not all of the characters appear or go through their struggles at the same times; my novel series is spread out over a time period of a little less than two millenia.

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I think you'll have to be very clear what your focus is for this novel, what the storyline is, the Global Life Value arc, the way you'll achieve narrative velocity to grab the interest of readers and propel them through. I think it might be hard but can be done.

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10 minutes ago, Johne said:

I think you'll have to be very clear what your focus is for this novel, what the storyline is, the Global Life Value arc, the way you'll achieve narrative velocity to grab the interest of readers and propel them through. I think it might be hard but can be done.

I understand the first two, but I'm a bit confused as to "Global Life Value arc". Do you mean how all life, mental challenges or no, has value, or are you talking about the value the narrative has with being able to be valid on a global scale? Or both, maybe?

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1 hour ago, Johne said:

narrative velocity

 

I like this the best!  I've got to use it, but I can't think of where?

 

1 hour ago, CM24 said:

Global Life Value arc

 

As for this... I think you're about to get a lecture on "Story Grid"?

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6 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

As for this... I think you're about to get a lecture on "Story Grid"?


Ahahaha. 

The Global Life Value of which I speak refers to the shift of value in scenes from the beginning to the end. According to Robert McKee and Shawn Coyne and others, every scene must turn on the Global Life Value of the genre of the story.
 

Quote

 

When you analyze the draft of your manuscript using the Story Grid Spreadsheet, you’ll notice that Shawn Coyne has created columns for the story event, value shift, polarity shift and turning point. This is so that you can easily see whether your scenes work. If there’s no turning point, there’s no value shift. If there’s no value shift, you haven’t written a scene. You’ve written a passage of exposition in which nothing is happening. Too many of these and your reader will lose interest.

On the spreadsheet, the Guardians of the Galaxy scene would look like this:
image.png.da17637c1171a90c31b039e33577f9cd.png

Notice I’ve listed the value as safe to unsafe whereas above I talked about life to death. That’s because safety is on the life > death spectrum of value. If Peter is no longer safe, he has moved closer to the death value and further from the life value. 


 



This is how that looks for a Thriller (according, as SW intuits, to the theory of the Story Grid):

Quote

 

“The Thriller is an arch-plot (Hero’s Journey) external genre combining the primal genres (Action, Horror, and Crime)….The thriller…concerns the individual coping with omnipresent and often difficult to even comprehend antagonism. The external becomes internal, forcing the protagonist to make fundamental choices to unleash critical gifts..” —Shawn Coyne

The Thriller is about excitement and the need to avoid both death and damnation. While Crime stories usually end at justice or injustice, and Horror and Action stories usually end at life or death, the Thriller protagonist is pushed to their limits. Toward damnation.

 

image.png.a3e2d20a05b08de3499b9fab252ae599.png

A Thriller need not reach actual damnation, but the potential and the vehicle for damnation must be expressed.

 

 


 

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21 hours ago, CM24 said:

One of the big themes in my stories are Christian and non-Christian characters who have to endure and fight through various mental and emotional problems, while hopefully finding God and doing His will along the way. I've done quite a bit of research, myself being my primary case study as it were, but does anyone here have any other advice, questions, or comments?

(Before reading the rest, I want you to know, I like the idea. Just don't see how you plan to do this.)

 

Yes, I did read your post that said your series takes place over millennia, but how are you working that concept? The illnesses you included, (although I don't consider autism an illness. It's a different mindset. Healthy, not ill, but different), all effect people for large portions of their lives. Chronic depression being the one least likely to change. How are you going to have readers care about these characters, if you only have but so many books in the series, yet the series takes us through 2000 years?

 

And man! Have to applaud you on this massive undertaking, because I can't imagine learning enough history to pass this off as a natural progression.

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

Have to applaud you on this massive undertaking

Applause from here as well. We'd be delighted to read some bits and pieces that you post in Criticism and Feedback.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Spaulding said:

(Before reading the rest, I want you to know, I like the idea. Just don't see how you plan to do this.)

 

Yes, I did read your post that said your series takes place over millennia, but how are you working that concept? The illnesses you included, (although I don't consider autism an illness. It's a different mindset. Healthy, not ill, but different), all effect people for large portions of their lives. Chronic depression being the one least likely to change. How are you going to have readers care about these characters, if you only have but so many books in the series, yet the series takes us through 2000 years?

 

And man! Have to applaud you on this massive undertaking, because I can't imagine learning enough history to pass this off as a natural progression.

Before I address the overall question here, I don't necessarily consider autism an illness either, myself being on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum. It definitely has its challenges, but to an extent, I agree it is just a different way of perceiving the world and thinking about or responding to it.

 

As for the story itself, at least two books, the history behind the first couple of stories I'm writing, take place over time periods of centuries, and some of those characters and their challenges continue through the majority of the timeline. Other characters don't survive to modern day, but the challenges of their genetics or the problems in their families are carried on through the circumstances of the lives of their descendants. It is a massive undertaking, and I admit it's intimidating now that you've pointed it out, but that's part of what's so exciting and fulfilling about my stories, too. It's so fascinating and fun seeing all of these challenges work out and come together.

Edited by CM24
Additions and a Correction
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Spaulding said:

(Before reading the rest, I want you to know, I like the idea. Just don't see how you plan to do this.)

 

Yes, I did read your post that said your series takes place over millennia, but how are you working that concept? The illnesses you included, (although I don't consider autism an illness. It's a different mindset. Healthy, not ill, but different), all effect people for large portions of their lives. Chronic depression being the one least likely to change. How are you going to have readers care about these characters, if you only have but so many books in the series, yet the series takes us through 2000 years?

 

And man! Have to applaud you on this massive undertaking, because I can't imagine learning enough history to pass this off as a natural progression.

This got double-posted because my internet hiccupped.

Edited by CM24
Double-Post
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Okay. The first chapter of my story is up, and I've left my two critiques on other works.

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