My background is in psychology. Now I’m a writer. And I blog. Why not bring those three interests together? Introducing WACKO WEDNESDAYS!
Every Wednesday, I’ll introduce a personality trait/disorder writing meme. Use the info to add interesting facets to your characters. We all have little behaviors/beliefs/superstitions/pathology that make us unique. Your characters are the same way. Make them memorable, give ’em a small disorder or related personality flaw.
Since it’s raining here on this chilly Fall day, let us start Wacko Wednesdays simply with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
I’m sure you’ve heard of SAD. In a nutshell, it is depression in the winter months. Experts debate on its causes, origins, treatments and whether or not it should even have a name other than “depression,” but SAD has been publicized enough that you can write it into your novel and assume most readers can follow along (the controversy can help make things interesting, too).
Here is an academic article explaining SAD. The article goes into detail about the symptoms and behaviors of a person with SAD. Here’s a link from that page that leads to an end-user pamphlet explaining SAD, which contains enough information for you to get the gist, including this:
Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms, but common symptoms of winter depression include the following:A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foodsWeight gainA heavy feeling in the arms or legsA drop in energy levelFatigueA tendency to oversleepDifficulty concentratingIrritabilityIncreased sensitivity to social rejectionAvoidance of social situationsSymptoms of the summer depression version of SAD are poor appetite, weight loss and insomnia. Either type of SAD may also include some of the symptoms that are present in other kinds of depression, such as feelings of guilt, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, ongoing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, or physical problems such as headaches and stomach aches.Symptoms of SAD keep coming back and tend to come and go at about the same time every year. The changes in mood are not necessarily related to obvious seasonal stressors (like being regularly unemployed during the winter).
Simply write these things into a character’s profile, and have the character (and plot) act accordingly. This type of research for personality quirks can be done easily on-line. A developmental or adolescent psychology textbook also has a wealth of information that can help you build believable, “real” characters.
Do you have any questions or suggestions for the WW meme? Please comment here or email me at yahoo(dot)com with username ccp6867.
Come back to PC on Wacko Wednesdays for the next personality quirk meme!