How to write good character psychology
Words come from the heart, and the heart moves at will
The first question we need to ask is, what are the objects of the human mind? To be sure, mental activity must be something inside a person. It can be a person's internal emotions, thoughts, desires, unconscious. However, although the psychological things are produced in the inner, many of their contents can be expressed, can be vented out through talking, Shouting, communication and other ways to tell others. We often see in movies and TV dramas a stressed girl Shouting to the sea: I want to be brave! In many cases, the external language can directly express the internal psychology.
But life experience also tells us that in more interesting scenes, the mental activity expressed by language and expression is not the real mental activity. For example, many introverts hide their affection in front of the person they like, pretending they don't care. Language and psychological activities are often divided, such as when we are faced with a leader or colleague in the heart of hate, often need to show worship or friendly appearance in front of him. This is when we discover the gap between mental activity and outward expression.
The same is true of many brilliant novels we have read. They do not express the psychology of the characters directly through language, but through the context and ambiguity they create, through the clues the author creates in the narrative for the reader to explore. And this is one of the sources of pleasure that readers can get from reading psychological description.
When he saw the face, he felt afraid and shook all over. 2. When he saw the face, he felt like a firefly about to be swallowed by a lion. 3, when seeing that face, he felt a thrill of the soul, that is the appearance of the devil.
All three sentences express the psychological state of fear, but the first sentence is very direct, without any rhetoric. The second sentence uses a metaphor. The third sentence uses metonymy. In terms of effect, the first sentence is by far the most obvious, simply stating the feeling of fear. The second sentence increases the intensity of the fear by metaphorizing the scene of a life-or-death crisis, but merely states that the face or expression of the person being watched is terrifying. The third sentence not only increases the intensity of fear, but also adds narrative information, implying the relationship between the characters and conveying the ethical judgment, that is, the watched is likely to have done terrible things to the watched, such as mistreating him, or the watched shows a murderous expression, etc.
Through comparison, we can find that the first point of psychological description is that targeted rhetorical means are necessary to express psychology in novels. At the same time, different metaphors and metonymy will bring different emotional intensities and relationships between characters, which we need to carefully choose according to the goal of the story.
Many playwrights say to be good at creating the inner contradictions of characters. So what are the more common psychological contradictions? The first, I think, is the conflict that everyone often has between their objective self-identity and their subjective self-image. For example, the protagonist of a story has been ridiculed by his classmates as ugly since childhood, and the long-term ridicule has accumulated into a subjective self-cognition in his mind: I am an ugly person, and no one will really like me. However, when she grew up and received a confession from a male classmate, she would feel very confused. She always felt that she was not attractive, why could she be liked? Does this student have an agenda? Maybe this is his prank? So, an emotional conflict arises, and how do we show it?
It's best not to say the emotion outright, because it's hard to recall unless we can intersperse it through dialogue, dreams, or other means.
For example, after the guy confesses, the girl doesn't answer directly, and the next day they happen to meet in the school cafeteria:
The boy said, "Well...... How do you do." How can we express the girl's psychology at this time? If written directly, it might be: Oh, my God, what am I going to say to him? Should I tell him what I thought last night? Will he think less of me for it? Why am I so unlucky? If only I had never met him!
And if we write indirectly, what are our options? 1. I looked away and said, "I'm not good." (This sentence "I'm not good" on the girl's heart of the tangled emotions expressed out) 2, I suddenly shook the hand, the steamed stuffed bun in the palm fell to the ground. (Show her nervousness through her movements.) 3. Why does life play such a trick on me? I felt like a balloon about to burst and just wanted to break free of that blowhole and fly as high up into the sky as possible. (These sentences do not directly address her attitude toward the boys, but indirectly express her stress.)
We can compare the previous several indirect directly behind the psychological description and psychological description, obviously, direct description gives us a feeling of third-rate dramas, we don't see the description in the great novel, or even in some good type is rarely seen in the novel, and indirect description at least look will look more professional than direct description.
Therefore, the second important point of psychological description is that if you need to express the psychological complex emotions, the side description is often more attractive than the direct description. Because side description can create more semantic blank, create ambiguity, can mobilize the reader's emotional structure to freely experience the mood of the characters.
Third, a good psychological description should also expose various values of the characters as much as possible through the stream of consciousness activities of the characters in the smallest space. For example, when a politician in House of Cards turns down an offer from Frank, the main character, Frank starts an internal monologue as the politician walks out of the room:
He chose money over power. Everyone in this town makes that mistake. Money is that big, bad-taste house in the American West that will fall down in ten years, and power is the bedrock that will stand firm for hundreds of years, and I can't respect anyone who can't see the difference."
In this very short sentence, the author subtly highlights the protagonist's political concept through the comparison of power and money, the ranking of the value of power and money in his heart, and at the same time, his high self-esteem personality in his heart is also vividly revealed.
If this is the basic principle, then I want to talk about how to maximize the psychological complexity of a character? There are many ways to increase the complexity and hierarchy of the mind. Psychology has opened many perspectives for us. If we consider Freud's cases of hysteria, paranoia, slip of the tongue, split personality, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so on as a text, they are all the best examples in shaping the mind of the character. Hitchcock's "Psycho" is an example. We can ruminate on the murderer's motives.
If we simplify Freud's symptoms, we can understand them as psychological stress and trauma resulting from the conflict between instinctual desires and moral chains. What are our instincts as human beings? The desire for victory, lust, power, selfishness, dignity, etc., and the moral chains are often responsibility, apology, guilt, kindness, sacrifice, etc.
In the sixth episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad, Walter, the bad guy, finally chooses to control in the conflict between his moral guilt as a good teacher and his innate desire for power and control:
He was sitting on the bed with his wife, and his wife Skyler said, I told you, if you're in danger, let's go to the police. If you don't, you'll get shot when you open the door. Walt: I don't want to deal with the police. Skyler: You're not a big criminal, Walter. You just lost your head. That's what we're saying. Walt: That's not true. Skyler: Of course it's true, a schoolteacher, cancer, and money -- Walt: Forget it. Skyler: I can't get out of this. You told me yourself, Walter. Oh, my God. What was I thinking? Walter, get out! Let's all stop trying to justify this, and admit that you're in danger! Walter: Who do you think you're talking to? Who do you think you saw? Do you know how much I make a year? You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly stopped working? This business is big enough to be on Nasdaq. If I go missing, this business is gone. No, you obviously don't know who you're talking to, so let me remind you, I'm not in danger, Skyler. I am. A man answers the door and gets shot. You think it's me? No, I'm the one who knocked.
In those last few words, the take-charge swagger of a drug Lord, the big man, came through. Walter's instinct of mastery had finally triumphed over his moral shackles. This example also tells us the fourth key point of psychological description: to express the conflict between instinct and morality as much as possible in the description, as well as the transformation of personality image brought by this conflict. We can also notice the rhythm in this passage. Walter's final metamorphosis was based on his wife's constant insinuation that you were a weak man, that you couldn't defend yourself, that you needed police protection. This stimulated Walter's self-esteem, and after a few back and forth, Walter's self-esteem rose to a peak, and thus began the final burst. Therefore, this reminds us to master the rhythm of conflict, design a few foetal back-and-forth, and usher in the climax of the character.
Finally, in our daily writing, every negative emotion in life is a gift to the writer. When we are in the grip of anxiety, fear, or sadness, try to turn it into a wonderful creative opportunity. We can scrutinize the origins of those emotions and tease out the mental processes involved through language. Not only is it cathartic, but it also allows us to look inside ourselves. So let's cherish our emotional experiences and turn them into wonderful words and stories.
The imagination of this lesson: choose a hero with extreme psychology, such as: hysteria, paranoia, split personality, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fetishism and so on, with a psychological description to depict his characteristics.