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Why Is It Easier to Write Stories With a Very Saddened Character Than With a Happy Character?

My Thoughts on Writing About Sadness Within Characters and Books and Why It Is Easier/More Effective Than Writing About Happiness Within Characters

I have written quite a few books/stories and lately, I have realised that most of my main characters have some sort of dark, depressed side to them. Writing my characters and their stories are so easy and free-flowing but when I started a new book, I wanted my character to be so free-spirited and uplifting, yet, it's been so hard to even start! I spent months planning it and normally I would be quite far into the storyline in the time it has taken me to write the first chapter!

It has brought me to question why I find writing about sad feelings easier than happy ones. I like to consider myself as a happy person and I haven't actually experienced depression or anxiety first-hand but after doing some research and reading blogs written by people experiencing it, I could write so much without thinking too much about it. 

However, I don't think just reading about different people's experiences aided me in my writing. I think that everyone has at least one unhappy memory, whether it be a death of someone you knew or being in a life-changing accident, we all have experienced some sort of sadness. When writing about such a deep topic, I was able to bring myself back to the sadness I felt when losing my grandfather, despite being very young, but from that, I was able to pluck out my emotions and use them in my writing which I find helped it seem so real and even relatable. The words that I was writing just flowed out of me and I think being able to use my own experiences in my work helped with that too. 

Another reason is that writing about a character with depression or a deep sadness creates a struggle that they have to try and overcome. By this, I mean that happiness can either be achieved or denied this creates a struggle which, initially, creates a story. I believe that if there is no form of struggle for happiness within a character, in a book based on emotions, (sometimes), that can mean there is no story. It doesn't mean it can't be done, but I find it much more difficult to do so and as do other people I have spoken to, who write their own stories. 

I have written quite a few books/stories and lately, I have realised that most of my main characters have some sort of dark, depressed side to them. Writing my characters and their stories are so easy and free-flowing but when I started a new book, I wanted my character to be so free-spirited and uplifting, yet, it's been so hard to even start! I spent months planning it and normally I would be quite far into the storyline in the time it has taken me to write the first chapter!

It has brought me to question why I find writing about sad feelings easier than happy ones. I like to consider myself as a happy person and I haven't actually experienced depression or anxiety first-hand but after doing some research and reading blogs written by people experiencing it, I could write so much without thinking too much about it.

However, I don't think just reading about different people's experiences aided me in my writing. I think that everyone has at least one unhappy memory, whether it be a death of someone you knew or being in a life-changing accident, we all have experienced some sort of sadness. When writing about such a deep topic, I was able to bring myself back to the sadness I felt when losing my grandfather, despite being very young, but from that, I was able to pluck out my emotions and use them in my writing which I find helped it seem so real and even relatable. The words that I was writing just flowed out of me and I think being able to use my own experiences in my work helped with that too.

Another reason is that writing about a character with depression or a deep sadness creates a struggle that they have to try and overcome. By this, I mean that happiness can either be achieved or denied this creates a struggle which, initially, creates a story. I believe that if there is no form of struggle for happiness within a character, in a book based on emotions, (sometimes), that can mean there is no story. It doesn't mean it can't be done, but I find it much more difficult to do so and as do other people I have spoken to, who write their own stories.

I see writing about sadness as some sort of eraser to any bad memories I have. By creating a character who is experiencing sadness or depression, it enables me to tell of any sadness I am feeling even if it's caused by something that happened at school or an argument between me and my sister, it means I am not building it up, letting it eat me inside. Instead, it is free, like a falcon soaring high in the sky.

Thinking about it in a different way, who would want to read about a happy character who has nothing go wrong in their life?

What would they do?

What would be their story?

If anything it would be quite bland. Having a problematic situation within in a story enables the reader to sympathise and really connect with the character, especially if they are experiencing sadness or something even deeper than just sadness.

Connecting with a character means that they are no longer two-dimensional but rather a person other than just a character. Getting a character to be three-dimensional will better the story, making the reader want to find out what happens next and will the state of sadness be overcome. By having a character experiencing a not-so-happy life creates a connection with the reader and it really allows them to relate and, in a way, 'root' for the character much rather than simply acknowledging that they are the main focal point of the story.

Lastly, I find that when writing about happiness all of the time it can come across as rather cheesy and unnatural. Nobody is happy 24/7 and even writing about someone who is just seems wrong and forced, like when you receive a gift from someone that isn't the best and you put on that fake smile, thanking them for "an amazing gift which is exactly what you wanted!" It just seems forced and exaggerated. Whereas with sadness you can delve deeper, exaggerate it and it seems natural and realistic.

That concludes why I believe that it is easier to write about sadness within characters and books and why it is easier/more effective than writing about happiness within characters.

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