[2019 Novel] Psycholinguistics; Character Subtleties

In life and literature, I have two primary interests that influence all aspects of my other myriad interests – psycholinguistics and subtleties – both of which heavily influenced my first novel, A Story About Self-Confidence: What’s In A Name?, a month~long story at Eville Medical in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.” After I explore some of the whys, I’ll delve into why it’s important that we build literature based around our peculiar interests, esoteric or exoteric.

Most people think I’m Canadian when they first hear me.

The way I talk doesn’t convey well with formal English, so allow me to translate for the home audience: Th’way eye tawlk doesn’ convey well with formal English, so uhllow me ta translate fer da home auwd-i-ence. My accent resembles the north-central accent, so when I talk with Albertans specifically I feel more comfortable letting my accent drop, in a sort of Fargo meets Letterkenny, and yet there’s an easy out. Let’s dig in. The folks up from Green Bay and nort – that being the true catch-word to find out if someone is from the Great White Nort – up to Alberta may have had their accents influenced from Germany and Norway, like how Newfoundland was influenced by Scottish and Irish, and so there’ll be tinges of German and Norwegian in the accent.

But then, let’s talk about other languages.

In middle school, I was the third TA in the library, so I became the TA for the four-language class, where I graded papers in Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. The next year, I took the class as a student. I seriously considered studying languages as my career path at this point until the day I learned about High German versus Low German and got mad that we were learning this academic bastardization outside of reality so I gave up on that formally. Besides two years of Japanese in high school, I never took it seriously. After graduating, I began practicing words in many languages, not so much for anything useful in terms of communicating with others, but more wherever my mind was curious.

I am fascinated by word choice.

The words people use reflect their innermost thoughts. You can express a sentiment in one thousand different ways. That’s what’s so fascinating to me about language. There is such a level of ambiguity whereas mathematics is so formal. Even if I write a sentence the same way someone might write a math formula, there are endless variations to the same structure in writing, and the words we use reflect both our understanding of reality and our ability to express that reality. If you’re mad, you’ll use stronger words. If you’re relaxed, you’ll be more playful.

These subtleties make media both fascinating and boring.

When I see these conventions either played with or examined, I will be so invested in your piece of media that you’ll’ve made a friend for life. If everything is tame, I’m out. The characters I wrote about in my first novel were all characters cut of different cloths. If Sammohini is the honest anchor, where she is insecure because she doesn’t feel like she quite belongs, then the other characters can lean on her for the sort of trust they can give to someone that won’t narc them out, yet they can also use that insecurity meets naiveté to lie to her or lie to others around her, and she’ll generally believe it.

These are complex topics and I’ve only scratched their surface with this novel.

The more I write, the more I observe, the more I rewrite, the more I continue observing, the more life unfolds in this fascinating sort of way. These two topics of my fascination – psycholinguistics and subtleties – represent the study of prediction. One of my favorite things about writing is that you can write a whole set of interactions between two characters and one word – like kiss – will change the entire context under which you considered the relationship between those two characters. And how that word is used! Kissing implies mouth-to-mouth kissing, but what if my thoughts while writing that sentence in the novel were closer to kissing on the forehead? Would that not only change the meaning of all of the interactions between the two characters as well as your perceptions of your interpretations of that word in that context in that scene?

I enjoy challenging the norm like that.

Literary psychology like that tickles my spine and gives me soothing goosebumps. When I write essays like this, I can only scratch the surface of that, whereas when I write fiction, I can either build these characters to represent these concepts or channel these characters into my imagination and let them tell me what they experienced, depending on your opinion on fiction. Does fiction represent the ultimate truth of perception? Do I write fiction to show different points of my own view? Or do I study these concepts to better understand them, so when I imagine a character acting in a certain way, I am studied in knowing what their subtle cues imply, thus allowing me to capture those moments and amplify their subtleties until they’re understandable for the average reader?

The best example I can give of this is gaslighting.

Once you understand gaslighting – where someone’s lie outweighs another person’s truth – all of human nature becomes easier to understand. I’ve seen many people try to define the concept. They usually explain it obtusely. No one distinctly or harmfully gaslit Sammohini during the first novel, at least outwardly, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t benefit from having learned the concept, because, say, a character did gaslight Sammohini. If it was Hank or Fairydust gaslighting, Sammohini would have sacrificed her truth for their lie. She’s just that sort of agreeable person. That’s why I get bored reading fiction character creation articles. They look at fiction the wrong way.

If you understand human psychology[1], writing fiction is easy because characters will tell you all about their neuroses.

Quotes: [1] “Human psychology is the Darkest Soul.” If these six words don’t represent humanity, where Dark Souls is contemporarily considered the hardest videogame series around, then what does?
Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium, my personal experiences, and my professional experiences.
Inspirations: This essay is dense. I normally write breezier essays for ease of completion or due to headache-impairments, but here, I felt in full form and wanted to express these thoughts as best I could. There are some deep thoughts buried throughout. Enjoy picking them apart!
Related: Other 2019 Novel writings.
Picture: This picture is not nuanced.
Written On: December 25th, 2019 [49 minutes including research, from 10:30pm to 11:19pm, while listening to the Dead Man theme then the Fargo theme, and written in WordPress.]
Last Edited: December 25th, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.