An Introspective View
By Annette Rey
Here’s a great character idea – with a psychological slant.
Are you an over-protective mother, father, friend? Do you try to fill in the gaps for everyone? Are you a “helicopter parent”? That is, someone who hovers over a child (or even a spouse or co-worker) and interjects their thoughts, their answers, their solutions instead of giving the few seconds silence for the child to develop his own thoughts, answers and solutions.
If you find yourself doing these things, you are unintentionally sabotaging the child’s drive and initiative and creativity. You are crippling him for a long time into his future. I can see him being dependent late into his adult years and still living at home, expecting to be taken care of – by that same person who is now tired of hovering and wants him out of the house. Who wins in this situation?
Put yourself in the child’s shoes. So you are a writer. When you are typing, do you want someone over your shoulder giving immediate corrections to your work? No, use a capital letter there. — Oh, you missed a comma. — Anyone knows that word is hyphenated. Do you see how that would interrupt your flow and dash your ingenuity?
The child has homework and test pressures on him. Writers have deadlines and goals. All of us must meet those challenges from within ourselves, answering with our own ways of expressing our creative thoughts. All of us deserve the chance to bring our own selves to the surface.
There are two points to take away from this post.
ONE – If you recognize the helicopter personality, create an in-depth character of this type. She can’t help but being a dynamic focus in your story. You can paint her sympathetically, a product of her own upbringing, poor soul; she only behaves this way because she loves her “victim” so much. She is not insightful and doesn’t realize she is not serving the object of her love; she is only being self-serving, making herself feel better instead.
OR you can paint the character as extremely malevolent, fully premeditating her actions to overpower, own, and ruin the life of her target.
What shockwaves her behavior will produce in the lives of your other characters! Will one of them run away? Will one of them take revenge on her? Will one of them defend the object of her abuse? Will it go as far as murder?
TWO – If you find a bit of that behavior coming from yourself and you are the family traffic cop, directing everyone along the way, then consider backing off and letting others grow at their own rate.
I’ve heard it best said, “The space to struggle is the space to problem solve.” So leave people in their struggle. It is from there genius is born.
As a writer, in your own future, don’t bemoan your writing struggle. From it stems growth and success.
So I leave all of you writers with this thought – Keep On Struggling!
I like how you applied this type of personality to writing, as well as to real life. It’s hard to let the little ones grow and to know when to intervene, and when to let them struggle. Thanks for your insights!