Psychology in Writing: The Persona – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

O'Keefe center, Toronto 02/28/1976

O’Keefe center, Toronto 02/28/1976 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The persona is a complicated system of relations between individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and, on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual.” – Carl Jung

Today’s writing prompt will help you think about how the persona manifests in your writing and offer some questions to help guide your exploration of your character’s persona:

  • What mask does your character wear?
  • What is so core to her/his identity that if something conflicted with or challenged that identity the character would be thrown into disarray?
  • What happens when your character’s rigorously adhered to persona does break how does s/he respond?
  • What would help the character reclaim her/his identity/persona?
  • Who can help her/him or what task would s/he have to achieve or event occur to reestablish the persona?
  • After restoring the persona how does your character deal with conflict/challenges differently to demonstrate her/his growth?

Want your writing to be seen by thousands of people?

Write a 500 – 1000 word story incorporating ideas and themes from this week’s blog and send it to me at W.T.Jowett@outlook.com.  If your story is selected it will be spotlighted on Friday’s blog.  In addition to posting your story, you can provide any websites, twitter accounts, links to books, Facebook pages that you would like to be included following your story so that readers of the blog can follow and support you.  I’ll also promote the story on my own twitter and Facebook feeds.  The only thing I ask is that I have permission to publish the story on the blog and include it in a free Wattpad eBook (that will also contain all the aforementioned promotions still attached) so that readers of the blog can go back and easily find previous stories.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me.

 

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Psychology in Writing: Anima and Animus – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

Carl Jung

Carl Jung (Photo credit: Bruno Amaral™)

“It belongs to him, this perilous image of Woman; she stands for the loyalty which in the interests of life he must sometimes forego; she is the much needed compensation for the risks, struggles, sacrifices that all end in disappointment; she is the solace for all the bitterness of life.

And, at the same time, she is the great illusionist, the seductress, who draws him into life with her Maya-and not only into life’s reasonable and useful aspects, but into its frightful paradoxes and ambivalences where good and evil, success and ruin, hope and despair, counterbalance one another.

Because she is his greatest danger she demands from a man his greatest, and if he has it in him she will receive it.” –Carl Jung

I know that’s a long quote to introduce today’s writing prompt, but the anima and animus are a complex topic so it seemed fitting.  For today’s writing prompt think about your character’s anima/animus development.  What are the strengths your character has at her/his current level of development?  Even at lower levels of development there is clarity in thought and vision that may be useful to our characters.  What is the character’s boundary?  What occurs that s/he cannot overcome/move past because s/he has reached the threshold of her/his current anima/animus developmental level?  What occurs to help your character move to the next level of development?  How does your male character manifest his “feminine” traits or your female demonstrate her “masculine” traits at this level of development?  What about other characters—how do they react to your character’s anima/animus development level?  Do they do anything to help or hinder further development?

Want your writing to be seen by thousands of people?

Write a 500 – 1000 word story incorporating ideas and themes from this week’s blog and send it to me at W.T.Jowett@outlook.com.  If your story is selected it will be spotlighted on Friday’s blog.  In addition to posting your story, you can provide any websites, twitter accounts, links to books, Facebook pages that you would like to be included following your story so that readers of the blog can follow and support you.  I’ll also promote the story on my own twitter and Facebook feeds.  The only thing I ask is that I have permission to publish the story on the blog and include it in a free Wattpad eBook (that will also contain all the aforementioned promotions still attached) so that readers of the blog can go back and easily find previous stories.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me.

 

Psychology in Writing: The Collective Unconscious – Writing Prompt

archetype

archetype (Photo credit: Eddi van W.)

Writing Prompt

“My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals.”  —Carl Jung

Using the links to example archetypes from the introduction to the collective unconscious explore how your character aligns with an archetype.  If the character is a loyal companion archetype for example, some things to write about:

  • What lengths would this character go to in order to protect the protagonist?  What is the ultimate sacrifice s/he could/would make?
  • What is it that s/he believes in that leads her/him to be willing to make an ultimate sacrifice?
  • Is your loyal companion and reflection or contrast to the protagonist, and how?

Once you’ve answered these questions write about how the character would manifest these aspects in a story without you actually saying this is what this character is representing.  Write in a way that gives cues about the archetype of this character to tap into readers’ expectations from their own collective unconscious.

Want your writing to be seen by thousands of people?

Write a 500 – 1000 word story incorporating ideas and themes from this week’s blog and send it to me at W.T.Jowett@outlook.com.  If your story is selected it will be spotlighted on Friday’s blog.  In addition to posting your story, you can provide any websites, twitter accounts, links to books, Facebook pages that you would like to be included following your story so that readers of the blog can follow and support you.  I’ll also promote the story on my own twitter and Facebook feeds.  The only thing I ask is that I have permission to publish the story on the blog and include it in a free Wattpad eBook (that will also contain all the aforementioned promotions still attached) so that readers of the blog can go back and easily find previous stories.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me.

Psychology in Writing: The Unconscious – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

Dream girl

Dream girl (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

“Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.” —Carl Jung

For today’s writing prompt, think about what your character is hiding in her/his unconscious that s/he can’t confront directly.  What is the event/thing/person that your character can’t face?  What happened in the past that contributes to your character’s inability to consciously face the event/thing/person?  How does your character manifest her/his unconscious mind?  Is it through dreams, verbal slips, free association, defense mechanisms?  What leads your character to gain insight into her/his unconscious process?  And now that s/he is aware, what does s/he do?  Confront it?  Suppress it again?

A new addition to the blog going forward–Want your writing to be seen by thousands of people?

Write a 500 – 1000 word story incorporating ideas and themes from this week’s blog and send it to me at W.T.Jowett@outlook.com.  If your story is selected it will be spotlighted on Friday’s blog.  In addition to posting your story, you can provide any websites, twitter accounts, links to books, Facebook pages that you would like to be included following your story so that readers of the blog can follow and support you.  I’ll also promote the story on my own twitter and Facebook feeds.  The only thing I ask is that I have permission to publish the story on the blog and include it in a free Wattpad eBook (that will also contain all the aforementioned promotions still attached) so that readers of the blog can go back and easily find previous stories.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me.

As always, from my couch to your pen happy writing!

And keep sending in your questions! mailto:W.T.Jowett@outlook.com

Psychology in Writing: Mature Defense Mechanisms – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

Nash Latjke, the game's protagonist

Nash Latjke, the game’s protagonist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.” – Virginia Satir

For today’s writing prompt, think about what events would prevent your protagonist from using mature defenses, and defense mechanism your protagonist could use that would lead to the most growth or help her/him be successful.  What would cause your protagonist to fail at using mature defenses?  What is the tipping point where s/he would not be able to continue coping and would need to employ one of the lower level defenses?  Which defense would further/help/repair her/his relationships with others?  Or which one could s/he use to get back on the path to successfully completing a quest?

Psychology in Writing: Neurotic Defense Mechanisms – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

Sigmund Freud diskutiert am 18. Juli 1929 mit ...

Sigmund Freud diskutiert am 18. Juli 1929 mit Gustav Klimt im Café Landtmann den Gegensatz zwischen Eros und Todestrieb, Kultur und Triebregung (Photo credit: Christiaan Tonnis)

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”  –Sigmund Freud

Think about how your protagonist protects her/himself?  How does s/he react when a situation is too overwhelming?  Does s/he withdraw? Distance her/himself from the situation?  Take it out on someone else?  Repress her/his feelings? What are the consequences of using a defense mechanism to cope with a situation?  How does it impact the protagonist?  How do others around her/him react?  And what is the protagonist’s response to the reactions of others?  Does s/he use the defense mechanism more?  Use a different one?  Or acknowledge it?

Psychology in Writing: Immature Defense Mechanisms – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

English: post card with message about acting d...

English: post card with message about acting differently to avoid rejection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Just take this as a warning. Know that there’s always a price for not being yourself.”  Brenda Little in “Acting Out”

Since it’s my prompt, I’m picking a defense mechanism this week, acting out.  Write about why your character might act out.  What is s/he acting out against?  Who is the character’s external struggle with (who is s/he acting out against) and how is s/he dealing with acting out (how is the character responding to overriding her/his moral compass/super ego)?  Where does your character find her/his middle, where s/he is at peace with external forces while able to be true to her/his self?

 

Psychology in Writing: Pathological Defense Mechanisms – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

Cover of "In Cold Blood"

Cover of In Cold Blood

“Two features in his personality make-up stand out as particularly pathological. The first is his ‘paranoid’ orientation toward the world. He is suspicious and distrustful of others, tends to feel that others discriminate against him, and feels that others are unfair to him and do not understand him. He is overly sensitive to criticism that others make of him, and cannot tolerate being made fun of. He is quick to sense slight or insult in things others say, and frequently may misinterpret well-meant communications. He feels the great need of friendship and understanding, but he is reluctant to confide in others, and when he does, expects to be misunderstood or even betrayed. In evaluating the intentions and feelings of others, his ability to separate the real situation from his own mental projections is very poor.” Truman Capote in “In Cold Blood

Write about psychological defense mechanism might your antagonist use?  Why is this the preferred defense mechanism?  What happened in their past that made them unable to cope with reality that they had to develop a pathological defense mechanism?  What is going on now that created or continues the use of the defense mechanism?  How do others around the antagonist act?  Do they stay away, foster the defense, or confront it?  And how does the antagonist react?

Psychology in Writing: The Ego – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

“The Ego is not a master in its own house.”  –Sigmund Freud

What forces impact your characters decision making process? What are the character’s internal needs/drive?  What moral guidelines does your protagonist have, and where have they come from?  What are the real world challenges that confront your protagonist?  Write about the internal dialogue your character has with each of these aspects and how s/he is able to negotiate with each one to come to a decision.

English: Saint Michael Overcoming the Forces o...

English: Saint Michael Overcoming the Forces of Evil, terracotta sculpture with polychrome decoration and gilding, 18th century, Austrian or south German, Honolulu Academy of Arts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psychology in Writing: The Super Ego – Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt

 

ideal life versus real life

ideal life versus real life (Photo credit: DrJohnBullas)

 

What is your character’s ideal?  What is s/he striving for?  How did s/he develop this ideal, was it a parent, role model?  Is the ideal achievable?  If not how does the character deal with inadequacy or guilt that comes from not achieving it?  Conversely, if it is achievable, what motivates the character towards the ideal?