Emotion is one of the most powerful motivators for writers. Every feeling we process can become the catalyst for a story. An old belief is that an artist must suffer to produce truly great art. There’s a lot of truth to that statement. But there is a more powerful emotion that often drives artists – especially writers.
Or, better yet, spite.
Revenge writing is a visceral form of anger management for authors. We’ve been jilted, done wrong, pained, or criticized… Kill the person in literature. What could be more liberating and fulfilling? Since writing is the ultimate form of fantasy for a wordsmith, being able to enact your revenge through that writing has a supreme calming effect.
An excellent movie, A Knight’s Tale, (Don’t you dare judge me.) has Geoffrey Chaucer, supposedly the Chaucer, as a primary character. In one scene, after being wronged by two bookies, he strides, bare-assed and defiant, up to them and declares: “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.”
As writers we draw on our lives, our experiences, to shape and feed our art. It’s only right we draw on our own perceived villains as well. I recently had such an experience to feed my art, so to speak. (I go into it in some detail on my Facebook, if you’re interested in the entirety.) I don’t point this out to shame or contradict the reviewer, but to illustrate how the incredulity I felt toward the email could spur me into a more passionate daily writing prompt session than I usually reserve for the task. (You can read the writing prompt result here.)
The point is, anger can sometimes be an author’s best friend. As artists we should strive to write when our emotions are at their highest – i.e. most passionate – including happiness, grief, anger and, oh yes, spite.
The best thing a writer can do is carry a notebook and pen, recording device, or electronic notebook with them at all times in order to capture those moments. Just remember, the next time someone irritates the hell out you… let yourself be angry. Don’t stomp, rant, and vent it out however. Write the sucker down. It may turn out to be the next Great American Novel.
anthologies. Having committed almost every bad deed in the book of ‘How to Be An Author’, she now strives to educate other writers through humor and simple instruction.