Writing a mentally ill character | NaNoWriMo 2017

A moment of silence for the character you are thinking about right now.

So not all Kdramas have mentally ill characters. Others do (cough Cheese In The Trap cough). They appear in most dramas, but since it is not stated it would be very hard to state that the drama does, in fact, have characters that without a doubt need help.

I will make an example with a 2017 drama that I fell in love with, The Liar and his lover. In this series Joy’s character, Yoon So Rim had stage fright. She believed that if she does not have her trusted stuffed bird, Zeze, she will not be able to properly perfom.

This belief started when she was a child. Her mother gave her the bird and told her that it will help her perform better. But when her mother died, it left quite the emotional scar on her and she started to associate the bird with her mother.

She is, in a way, also mentally ill.

So, to clear things up, I am not talking about mental illness in a bad way. I am just explaining this to my understanding. We all have mental scars, no matter how small, that without the help of a mental professional might be hard to get rid of.

In the story I am writing, the most obvious person is not the girl we all love to hate, but the father of the female lead.

Since he lost his wife in a tragic accident, he tried his best to act tough in front of his daughter. But when she left for university he easily fell apart and changed to a completely different person. The main lead had to change varsities, thinking that being close to her father would help, but instead he stayed the same and is getting worse.

This character is very intense. I want him to be depressed, but I also want it to feel realistic so that I won’t put a whole bunch of people off.

The topic of mental illness can easily offend a whole bunch of people, that I would rather have enjoying my book instead. So to stop this tragedy from happening research is a must.

Since during NaNoWriMo it is fast paced, doing research during work/school breaks could go a long way. At least have basic knowledge of the illness that you are trying to portray. After the month of November, when you are going back to your book to edit, then you can do more research to make sure that everything you wrote is accurate.

Let’s try not to insult others with our writing. We write to make others smile (or cry, or ruin their whole sense of feeling), not to insult them.

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