does writing help you deal with your own darkness?

I’m not the only writer who infuses her fiction with the shadowy elements of her psyche.

Who knows what can emerge from the shadows of the unconscious?

I’ve just read an interview with thriller writer Mo Hayder – winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library 2011 award – where she says her writing helps her deal with the darkness in her mind. By fictionalising what terrifies her most, she is able to allay the intensity of her fears.

Psychoanalytic theory suggests that characters in novels are all projections of the author’s anxieties, neuroses and inner conflicts which the author him/herself may not be fully conscious of. It is this unconscious element that gives writing an edge and complexity.

There’s a character in my novel-in-progress who is an imperious harridan, spitting out sarcastic putdowns and passive-aggressively belittle and emotionally abuse those around her. She is a treat to write, and in fact her dialogue and mannerisms flow easily and joyfully onto the page with their particular brand of bitchy bitterness. I had consciously modelled her on a couple of nightmare female bosses I’d had in the past. But now I’m beginning to wonder if my unconscious, unbeknown to my editor/censor, is subtly shining a light within the deepest recesses of my own darkness…?

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