I had a really fun time with my last post looking into the flaw of pride, so I thought we’d jump into anger, or what I like to call:
Klingon 101. 🙂
Anger is another one of those flaws that are easily seen in society as well as literature. It is also a flaw from which I suffer, I have a temper. Thankfully, my hubby knows to put me in a corner and throw chocolate at me until I calm down. Like most character traits a little isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and there are times when your character has the right to be angry. A trait becomes a flaw when it begins to damage relationships. Let’s look at Mr. Webster’s 1985 definition, Anger is
1. a strong feeling of displeasure
That’s pretty clear cut. A normal display of anger would be a kid breaking your window with a baseball. It’s expensive and time consuming to replace, but you don’t pitch a hissy fit and walk to the kids house and break all their windows. That would be excessive. If you are not sure about inappropriate fits of anger, just watch a 2 year old.
Most characters have more than one flaw and in different amounts. As writers we don’t tell the reader what flaw a character has, we show it. There are many memorable characters that have anger issues. My favorite was from Hissy Fit by Mary Kaye Andrews. Keeley Rae Murdock had a very good reason to be angry. Truthfully, I read the book only because of the title. Now, I am hooked. The Hulk has serious anger issues and expresses them by destroying cities and smashing people. You get the idea. Anger shows up in different ways.
Let’s look a a couple of ways anger can be expressed:
Bob has a problem with anger and pride. He doesn’t have fits of rage, he simmer’s. He has a fair complexion and a heavy set build. When he’s angry his eyes enlarge and look like marbles. His skin turns red and splotchy and his physical build seems to enlarge. His blood pressure builds. He becomes a walking time bomb. Bob won’t throw a fit, but he will eventually erupt. His anger is visible by the changes in his body and his demeanor. He carries his anger with him. I’m sure his doctor would tell him he needs to learn to calm down or meditate, lest he have a heart attack.
Mary is an expert at hiding her anger. She goes through life never showing her anger. She never raises her voice or blushes. Instead, Mary keeps a mental list of everyone or everything that has wronged her. She will get her revenge. She’s still angry at her best friend in high school, Betty Sue, for stealing her boyfriend. Periodically, she’ll take a mental inventory and review that list. Mary writes the social column for the city paper, and every once and awhile secrets find there way to the column. Betty Sue was divorced after photos of her and the pool boy got out.
Joe also has pride and anger issues. He perceives himself as having the perfect family. People in the community look up and respect him. That was until his wife cheated on him. He’s angry over the loss of love and respect from his wife, but he’s angrier over his perceived loss of standing in the community. Those things only happen to other people. His wife died in a tragic accident…or did she?
All characters are different and react differently. So as you force them up a tree and throw rocks at them, think about how they react. That reaction has mental and physical symptoms. They can show up in unexpected ways.
I’ll leave it at that today, a storm is about to hit. (2 minutes after I wrote that a loud crash of thunder hit and the power went out. Taking this post with it. Thankfully WP saves as I type.)
reading: still reading Downfall. I am almost finished. I am really enjoying the mix of suspense and drama with Christian faith. No sappy romance 🙂
Revisions: just finished reading my WIP, used a flashlight while the lights were out. I can move into edits next.
I’m crawling along. How are your goals?