Tag: psychology

  • The Psychology Of Writing Critique Groups

    The Psychology Of Writing Critique Groups

    I’ve been participating in various online writing critique groups for about fifteen years. These days, some highly algorithmic critique groups work to encourage participation, gamify frequent participation and reward peer-to-peer encouragement.

  • Edward Gorey: Misunderstood Genius

    Edward Gorey: Misunderstood Genius

    I’ve long been fascinated by illustrator Edward Gorey. The moment I saw a photo of him in his big, fur coat I thought, he looks fun. Then I saw a picture of Gorey in his living room, draped all over with cats

  • Donnie Darko Film Study

    Donnie Darko Film Study

    Donnie Darko is a 2001 film set in 1988, in a fictional Virginia town called Middlesex. This genre blend of drama, mystery and science fiction is precisely ambiguous enough to generate much discussion about what is meant to have happened. This is ideal ‘cult-following’ material. Note that Donnie Darko didn’t make much of a splash when […]

  • Making Use Of Cognitive Biases In Storytelling

    Cognitive biases are at play when an audience interprets any work of art. Storytellers can make use of them, and regularly do. There’s an interesting list of cognitive biases at Wikipedia. As I skimmed through the list, I noticed how a lot of the biases are utilised to useful effect by writers. ANCHORING OR FOCALISM

  • The Toys of Peace by Saki Short Story Analysis

    The Toys of Peace by Saki Short Story Analysis

    “The Toys of Peace” (1919) is a short story by H.H. Munro (a.k.a. Saki) and is out of copyright so can easily be found online. This is the opening short story in a collection called The Toys Of Peace And Other Papers by H.H. Munro (and G.K. Chesterton). This volume was published after Saki’s death.…

  • Emotion In Storytelling: Catharsis and Crying

    Emotion In Storytelling: Catharsis and Crying

    Does a story (especially a movie) that makes us cry really offer an audience cathartic healing? Researchers say not. Studies show no improvement in mood after this kind of crying. Professor Jennie Hudson is the director at the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University in Sydney, and told Jesse Mulligan at RNZ that after…

  • Goethe and Angela Carter’s Erl-king Short Story Analysis

    Goethe and Angela Carter’s Erl-king Short Story Analysis

    “The Erl-King” is a short story by Angela Carter based on an old ballad by Goethe, one of the most famous ballads ever told. Carter’s re-visioning doesn’t use the plot from Goethe’s ballad, but borrows some of the atmosphere. Carter inverts the gaze and turns it into something new. As you might expect from Angela…

  • Loneliness in Art and Storytelling

    Loneliness in Art and Storytelling

    Edward Hopper was a master at depicting loneliness with paint. The sense of isolation is achieved with colour and composition. Eyes don’t meet, or not at the same time. Body language is closed off. Figures are small inside vast spaces, their heads far from the top of the canvas. They gaze from windows as if longing for connection.

  • Symbolism of The Child

    Symbolism of The Child

    Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of merely a descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these are the marks of childhood and adolescence […] The modern…

  • Psychology by Katherine Mansfield Short Story Analysis

    Psychology by Katherine Mansfield Short Story Analysis

    “Psychology” (1919) is a short story by Katherine Mansfield, redolent with sexual tension which unexpectedly morphs into something else at the end. As expected from the title, the bulk of the story comprises a character’s interiority. After first setting the mood, Mansfield gets right into a woman’s feelings. Yet do we feel we know her? We must read between the spaces, what I call ‘Mansfield Gaps’. Everyone fills the gaps differently in a lyrical short story; this is my interpretation.

  • Features of a Psychological Suspense Story

    Features of a Psychological Suspense Story

    What makes a horror or thriller story ‘psychological’? Aren’t the entire suspense genre psychological, to some degree? I set out to investigate.

  • Emotion in Storytelling: Psychic Numbing

    Emotion in Storytelling: Psychic Numbing

    Have you heard of ‘psychic numbing’? As the number of victims in a tragedy increases, our empathy, our willingness to help, reliably decreases. This happens even when the number of victims increases from one to two. The Limits Of Human Compassion, Vox (Robert J. Lifton coined the term in 1967.) Psychic numbing is at play…