Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Exercising Your God-Complex or Becoming your Own Puppet Master

If only you had control over the world.
Depending on your personality, diseases could be eradicated, singles would be coupled, and the fashions of the 80’s never would have existed.
Never fear. If you have a fairly active God-complex, you too can be in command of your own world. All you need is a little imagination and the ability to type 50 wpm.
You get to play the role of the Almighty when you write fiction. Yes, it sounds like work, but hang with me. When else can you create others in your own image, dictate the events of their lives and coerce them into doing questionable things? No wonder the Greek gods had so much fun.
Here is a world where you have power over everything —every person’s name, every character trait and flaw, every wonderful and devastating thing that happens to them. Instead of cursing your sister out for not taking your advice and calling that hottie from work, take your frustrations out on the fictional version of her. In your world, not only will she hook up with him, he’s so totally into her.
But like the true Master of the Cosmic Design, just when you think you have everything in place and are ready to enjoy what you’ve created, your people rebel. They build a tower into your sanctuary and steal the reins from your hands.
“What?” you say. “That can happen?” Oh, but it can and it will, if you’ve done your job correctly. You’d think that the people you created would do exactly as you say, but something happened that moment you breathed life into them. They started to live.
Now who’s controlling who?
I wonder what kind of conversations God has with the angels about the crazy things we’re doing down here. Is he laughing? Crying? Shaking his head and wishing he would have taken an extra day off instead of working six days straight?
Writing has been a great way to work through some issues, test out improbably solutions, and dream of things just beyond my reach. I often hear the voices of my characters (sometimes praying for me to get back to their stories) and must remind myself it is a symptom of my imagination and not a genuine psychosis. See, crazy or creative genius.
If you descend from your god-like throne and mingle with the characters, you’ll only find that you haven’t really left the real world at all. They are dealing with the same stuff you and I are, except you’re solely responsible for helping your “children” out of it.
So the next time you’d like to strike down the neighbor, who lets his dog crap in your yard, remember it can be done*. In fiction.
*While you might have more time to write from prison, the trade off isn’t quite worth the homicide.
** I intend no offense by this divine analogy. There is no need to pray for the safety of my soul. 


Chris Scena said...

"I don't have a God complex. I AM God." - That movie line was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the entry title.

Spot on, Nicki. My fiction has always been an organic entity, something that has been occasionally frustrating but usually pleasantly surprising and enlightening. It has been one of the things that keeps me writing. Even if I think I know what's going to happen, there is always a little wrinkle that pops up from left field, one that fits the story and character's actions but I had never intended.

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