Questions 3: Writing About Addiction

Full disclosure time: Addiction will be playing a part in War of Nytefall: Ravenous.  I didn’t want to touch on it at the beginning of the promo period because it’s a sensitive   topic and I was unsure of myself.  I planned on skipping it, but then added it at the last minute as a final topic.  It was supposed to go throughout all of next week, but next Friday starts the October stuff.  So, I switched that Questions 3 to here and figured that the weekend might give people more time to take on this subject.

Where to even begin?  Well, I writing thoughts on it next week, so I’m not going to get too far into it.  This is a raw and painful subject.  I don’t have any personal experience with addiction.  I’ve met people and had friends who have been addicts.  Some managed to get better while others didn’t make it out.  There doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all thing here either.  That’s why reading about experiences and talking to those who have been involved can help if you want to tackle this subject.  Well, let’s open up the questions:

  1. Have you ever written a story with an addict as a character?
  2. What is something that you would add to an addicted character?
  3. What is something that people do with addicted characters that you think is wrong?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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21 Responses to Questions 3: Writing About Addiction

  1. 1. Yes, I wrote ‘Mind Games’ back in 2013.
    2. I would add a back story about how they became addicted.
    3. People try to break them of their addiction, but it is only the person themselves who can stop it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adele Marie says:

    I have a few characters who are addicts of one type or another. One thing I’ve always added is the reason why these characters stepped in addiction in the first place but not right away. I do wish that people wouldn’t say to addicts that it is easy to stop. My Dad was an alcoholic and I know, even though I was brought up by my parents, how frustrating that was for him. Hope that helps. 🙂

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  3. In answer to question 3, I think it’s wrong to portray the addict as an out-and-out villain. This has happened a few times in British soaps and it always annoys me, as addicts aren’t necessarily bad people, even if their addiction sometimes drives them to do bad things.
    Oddly enough, one of the best stories I’ve read about addiction is Lord of the Rings.

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    • I agree. A lot of stories seem to use the addict as a bad buy. If not the main one then a henchman or comic relief. This are possible, but it gets use far too much. Half the time it’s to garner sympathy and the other half is to make sure there is no sympathy. Think it reveals a lot about the author.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. L. Marie says:

    1. Have you ever written a story with an addict as a character?
    Well, I’m working on a book with a character who can’t stop drinking. Does that count?
    2. What is something that you would add to an addicted character?
    At least one good quality. We usually see addicts who steal or are misbehaving in some way. We don’t always see the good in them.
    3. What is something that people do with addicted characters that you think is wrong?
    I wouldn’t say it is wrong necessary. But I have seen some stereotypical portrayals of addiction. Addictions come in many forms. They don’t always show on the outside—at least not right away. Some charming, affable people are addicted to something. I can’t help thinking of Uncut Gems and Adam Sandler’s portrayal of a gambling addiction.

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    • 1. That counts.

      2. It is pretty hard to do at times, but it really should be a key factor. It’s the difference between making a real character and having someone that’s only there to showcase addiction.

      3. Stereotypes are far too easy for some genres. I keep thinking of how there’s always an addict showing up in a crime show. Usually snitching and many times there because they stole something from a crime scene.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great topic. I haven’t written one myself, but a few drunks have appeared briefly. Some of my pirates have a problem with alcohol, but nothing that gets severe. I think it’s important to decide what kind of story and character you want to present. Is the story about that kind of struggle, or is this simply a supporting character? Is this a comedy or a tragedy? This topic can be part of a character, even help drive the plot, or it can be the main antagonist in the story and that’s what the hero has to overcome.

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  6. I have never written a story with an addict as a character.
    I would add to an addicted character extreme empathy for the challenges of others. The addicted character knows all about struggle so being able to identify with others in the same condition would be a trait.
    I think it is wrong to introduce an addicted character and then only deal with the addiction on a superficial basis. In other words, concentrating on the what of the addiction not the why.

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