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Narcissists It’s Not Me, It’s YOU

August 31, 2020- Let’s talk about writing characters with certain behavioural disorders.  I’ve chosen to touch on Narcissism, which is defined as selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration as characterizing a personality type. Self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as of feature of mental disorder.

I’m not suggesting that all villains are characters with behavioural disorders, and I’m certainly not minimizing that for those who battle with this in real life. What I’m saying is that some characters are given these traits when we write them because they exist in the people around us, and that’s where our inspiration comes from. I’m also not suggesting that anyone with a behavioural disorder is a villain, either.

I’d like to focus on one character in particular who exhibits all of the traits below to give you a point of reference; Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is the ultimate Narcissist.

Narcissistic traits: 

  1. Lack Empathy: Gaston doesn’t care about anyone but himself and getting what he wants. He doesn’t care that Belle’s father has been taken by the beast and locked up and considered a crazy old man.
  2. Conversation Hogger: Gaston never lets Le Fou, or anyone else, get a word in edgewise. He always controls the conversation, talks over others, shouts, interrupts, and dominates the conversation to suit himself.
  3. Self-Importance: Remember this song? “Who’s the man among men? Who’s the super success? Don’t you know? Can’t you guess? Ask his fans and his five hangers-on. There’s just one man in town who’s got all of it down and his name’s G-A-S-T-O-N!”  No additional information is needed about what Gaston thinks of himself.
  4. False Image Projection: “Gaston is the best, and the rest is all drips”… “I’m roughly the size of a barge!” Enough said.
  5. Rule Breaking: Gaston feels as though he’s above the rules. He goes to Belle’s house uninvited and unwelcomed, muscles his way in, and expects her to oblige to his every whim. He stands on the table in the bar, wrecks the place, and doesn’t think the rules apply to him.
  6. Blame: “Who does that girl think she is?” speaking about Belle when she “rejects, humiliates” him.

When writing your characters, be sure to do your research on specific traits that you want them to have so that you can build your author credibility and write your characters the way they need to be written to move your story forward.

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Putting the Pieces Together

July 17, 2020– She’s one of our own and we love her to bits! You know her as the author of Pants and Unfrogged, Tamara Botting; she’ll have two more books coming in 2021, so be sure to look for them in stores, on Amazon, and on our site. I’m thrilled to have her guest blog for us today!

I’ve had a longstanding love of Disney’s animated masterpiece, Beauty and the Beast. I wore out my first VHS copy of the film (yes, I’m that old and yes, it can be done). I bought the DVD as a teen, then bought the DVD again a few years later when the special collector’s edition came out. (So far, I’ve resisted the siren’s call of the Blu-ray). To this day, I can quote the opening of the film verbatim.

So, when I found a 1,000 piece Beauty and the Beast-themed puzzle, I decided to splurge a bit. (Hey, it’s not like I was going out, so why not bring a little entertainment home?) The thing is, as much as I like the idea of puzzles, I’ve only worked on a few over the years, mostly when I’m at a friend’s house, and they have one in progress.

Now that I’m working on one all on my own, I realize it’s a much bigger task than I’d anticipated. There’s a lot to work with, and a lot of pieces to try and fit together. And sometimes it takes a really long time to realize that what you thought was part of Belle’s dress is actually Beast’s waistcoat.

In a way, working on a puzzle is sort of like working on a book. Sometimes you find it’s easier to work on the framing; other times, you find yourself diving right into the middle of it. Sometimes the piece you thought should go in one place actually belongs in an entirely different spot.

It can be really easy to get discouraged when you have part of it coming together in one spot, part of it coming together in another, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out how those two parts come together.

But if you keep picking away at it, keep coming back to it, and keep on just telling yourself that you’re going to stick with this and get it done, eventually the parts will fit together. The bits that seem to have no home prove to actually be really important parts of the whole picture.

And once you have it all put together, you get to enjoy not only the completed project, but also the fact that your table is now clear, and you have room to work on a whole new project.

Because let’s be honest – whether writing or puzzles, it’s pretty hard to stop at just one.

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