Stressed? Overwhelmed by a thousand daily irritations? Who isn’t these days. But as a writer, you have a secret weapon, the perfect stress-buster. Your pen! Or keyboard. Either is perfect for Writer’s Revenge. Here is what you can do.
First, identify what is giving you grief. What are the things that irritate you frequently? What makes you bite your lip, and secretly vow revenge. Name it, describe it, write it down.
Here are a few common responses, maybe yours is here, or maybe you can add to the list:
- My boss is rude, and does not appreciate my work.
- Nobody says thank you any more.
- My kids are too busy with social media to tell me about their lives.
- Poor service in the supermarket.
- Lukewarm coffee in the coffee shop.
- Noisy neighbours.
- And so on.
I am sure you can extend the list endlessly. The more gripes you can identify, the better.
Now for the fun part. Select one, or maybe two from your list. Let’s say you choose ‘poor service’ and ‘cappuccino not hot’. Start jotting notes and details of specific times when these have happened to you. As you write, a story or two will emerge, or story fragments, to be woven into a bigger story. As this story emerges, fictionalise it, create new elements, add a twist or two, play with ‘what if…?’
Of course, you will change details of place, time, gender even, to protect the guilty! After all, as a fiction writer, you are out to entertain, not accuse or reform the world.
And you most certainly do not want anyone to recognise themselves in your story.
The simplicity and satisfaction of this trick lies in the broad appeal of each incident, the ease with which your reader will empathise, will say ‘Oh, I know how just that feels…’. And once you have reader empathy and identification with your character, you have succeeded. Your character will come to life for the reader, and the story will gain credibility.
Maybe this technique is best described by the old saying ‘Don’t get mad, get even!’ And it does work. Your stress and irritation is reduced because you have taken action, but nobody is hurt, and maybe many will be entertained.
So smile at rudeness, take notes, tell the offender you are writing a novel. It may not change their behaviour, but you will walk away with a smile on your face, and material for a great story. Enjoy!