Blog Chain Time: A Walk Through The Shadow

j0178890It’s blog chain time again and I must say that I love being part of this. This round was started by Leah. Her topic was a bit…darker:

What do you do to amp up the conflict?  What pins do you stick in the little voodoo dolls?  How do you torture your characters??? 

Kat posted before me, and Abi is posting after me.

Leah wanted to challenge us to go deeper and darker – she wanted to stretch us. Going dark can be hard for some people – forcing them to confront the shadow that exists within.  

For me, it is a different story. I enjoy going dark. Not because of some morbid need or curiosity, but because I believe that it is in the exploration of the shadow that we better understand the light.


Before I explain how I do this in my stories, let me start with a quote I’ve used for inspiration in a project I’m finishing:16002627_a2f11cbbd5

 “Through me you enter into the city of woes,
through me you enter into eternal pain,
through me you enter the population of loss…
abandon all hope, you who enter here.”

                    Dante’s Inferno

 In this project, I explore the depths of evil as I search for understanding regarding our responsibilities in the face of such darkness. Other projects have examined the paralyzing impact of fear on the human psyche and the nature – and cost – of redemption.

So, how do I go there…what do I do to my characters to explore such difficult topics and do them justice? As Carolyn said a few days ago, it starts with listening – to the voice of my characters, to people around, to the world in general. Through that process, I am able to connect to the shadow within myself.

Then, the real torture starts.

Given that I’m into the internal state of people (including my characters), it is not surprising that my form of torture works on the mind and emotions of my characters. I use the actions in the scenes to bring my characters to their own personal breaking point. I want them to be completely spent – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They need to believe they have nothing left and no way to survive.
3271410380_37e95cd681They must face their own annihilation.

And in that moment, they can discover their true nature and what they will really do when they reach their lowest point.

Not all of my characters handle this type of ego destruction well. And some can’t handle it at all. But the outcome helps us all understand the nature of the shadow within us.

Eckhart Tolle has said that “Evil is an extreme manifestation of human unconsciousness.” I think that is true. The journey my characters take as they confront the shadow in themselves helps them become conscious. And hopefully, if I have done my job well, the reader also becomes conscious.

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15 thoughts on “Blog Chain Time: A Walk Through The Shadow

  1. I’m reminded of that the radio show The Shadow. “Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men? Only the shadow knows.” Good post!

  2. Oooh, I like that quote from Dante’s inferno.

    I also thought it was interesting where you say that the characters: “must face their own annihilation.” This is exactly the point I am at in my WIP and it is a very good place to be in… for me the writer, that is. Not the characters, of course.

  3. I agree, love the quote – and I’ve got the movie version of The Shadow :) I like when you said “Not all of my characters handle this type of ego destruction well. And some can’t handle it at all.”

    It is interesting to explore how characters handle adversity/darkness – as you said, some can’t handle it, some handle it, but not well, and some (like my MC) rise to the occasion and become stronger because of their trials.

    Excellent post!

  4. Not because of some morbid need or curiosity, but because I believe that it is in the exploration of the shadow that we better understand the light.

    I’m right there with you, sistah.

    You hit the nail right on the head.

  5. I also loved the Dante quote.

    I think a true evil genius (which you seem to be, at least while torturing your characters) doesn’t hurt physically, but psychologically.

    Great post!
    :) Terri

  6. Pingback: On The Chain Gang #13 — Character Torture « Blogging Experiments

  7. <>

    Ooo, oooo, oooo! How cool is that quote? Very!

    Fabulous post, Christine. Welcome to the Blog Chain Gang!

  8. Nice post. And really beautifully written too!

  9. Discussion of the Jungian shadow. Blissful smiles. :-D

  10. Excellent site christinefonseca.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here: this .. as it’s taken me literally 2 hours and 18 minutes of searching the web to find you (just kidding!) so I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

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