Will You Go Insane?

As a fiction author, there is always the chance that you will lose your mind at some point in your career. It starts happening ar0und the tenth novel. I would say by number twenty, you will be fully insane.

Some of you are probably thinking, “He means I’ll be really stressed out.” No, that is not what I’m saying. I am telling you that all serious fiction authors actually go insane.

An author becomes wildly foolish about their writing and career. Meaning, an author will stretch the limits of their imagination beyond what they thought possible. An author will become infatuated. Obsessed. The mind will be over energized and enthusiastic. (I just defined insanity.)

How does this happen? Why does this happen? I’ll explain.

Everyone has what is called a “Brain Storage.” Inside is all our experiences, perceptions, mistakes, dreams, and what we are taught. (Not just by teachers, but in life.) At some point in an authors career, (around the tenth novel) the Brain Storage is confused. Boundaries between fact and fiction are predefined by the author.

What the author writes, becomes a consensus line that brings together reality and perception. That means the author is placing a new viewpoint on the validity of what they are actually seeing on a daily basis.

The authors Brain Storage changes differently than the average person. In some ways, the Brain Storage was different anyway, because authors start with strong imaginations. However, the author develops that imagination through reading and writing, and over time, the new brain defined.

Reality is relearned as the author continues to write books. Visual illusions begin to pop up. At first, there are only a few. But later, (around twenty novels) the author sees illusions in every corner, shadow, and distant tree.

The cause is simple to explain. The mind has become conditioned to see characters, plots, stories, fictitious villains. The Brain Storage compensates and presumes to alter what the author is really seeing.

Here is an example. If you get on one of those spinning wheels at the playground, and the kids spin you around twenty times,  then you stop and get off, your mind and body assumes that you are still spinning. The playground whips by, until your brain has a chance to catch up and discover that you’re not actually spinning anymore, you are on the ground.

The difference is, an authors brain does not catch up. It changes and adapts to what the author is thinking daily. The brain shuffles and creates a new world.

There is the argument that every author will continue through life, knowing what really can happen and what cannot happen. The people in photo’s cannot jump out and whisper a warning to the author. That is impossible. Nevertheless, an authors imagination has given “clues” to the Brain Storage. Those clues, are what gives the author doubts, even if experience has told them otherwise.

Think about it. The best novels have convinced readers that even though a book is fiction, there is something about it that seems real. (Or could really happen.) That is the authors job…to change the mind of the reader. To leave a shadow of doubt.

If there is a shadow of doubt, then something extraordinary seems ordinary. A shadow may have shoes, or squeaks as it moves past the authors vision. There is a difference on what we perceive in our mind and what we see with our eyes.

At this point, the author is not hallucinating. It is something else called, “Blinking Images.” The author was sure of something a minute ago. After a blink, the author is not sure anymore. 

Here is an example. Everyday, the author comes home and walks up six steps to the porch, then enters the house. Today, the author notices that the third step seems smaller than the other five. How did this happen? The author has walked up and down these steps thousands of times. Maybe the step had always been smaller? No, that is impossible. Right?

Do things actually materialize out of thin air?

The author leans down and examines the third step. It is made of concrete. Nothing had been chipped or positioned differently. The author stands, eyes darting in every direction. The porch rods seem thicker. There is a bush in the yard, the author never seen before.

Someone is down the street looking at the author. Their arms are stretched out. The author blinks and blows out a deep sigh. It was just a bicycle, leaning up against a mail box.

The author gazes at the third step. The number three has symbolic meaning. It includes birth, experience, and death. It could also mean past, present, and future. Man, woman, and child. Hindu religion believes in the power of the gods, which sustain and destroy life; an endless rebirth. Christians believe in the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Neptune’s trident, also held by Satan, has three points, representing a function to create, preserve, and destroy.

Is someone trying to send the author a message, using the number three?

The author blinks.

Maybe that step had always been a little smaller? The porch rails does not seem all that much different. The bush could have been there. Maybe it wasn’t new?

The author blinks again.

Something had been looking out the window. No, it was nothing.

The author goes inside. There is an unfinished novel that needs completed.

Philosopher William James said, “What we perceive comes as much from inside our heads, as from the world outside.”

Authors are trained to alter reality. Everything in the world becomes a character…plot setting…storyline. At some point, the author will not understand what is real anymore.

However…it makes for great fiction writing.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

Preview Six Chapters: www.upauthors.com/blog

Literary Manager: Melissa Link

Contact: melissa@scbranding.com

Ron Knight

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  1. Ron, I agree with you that authors could go insane, but I believe that would only be those who continually write horror, demonic stories, and erotica. All three genres open up the door to demonic spirits.

    The way to avert this curse is to pray for guidance and inspiration, daily, before we write. God’s power overcomes all evil. If our writing has been first submitted to Him, He will guide and protect us…if His blessing is on what we write.

    This article is interesting and gives much food for thought. It would apply to movie stars, too. Didn’t I hear somewhere, the girl who played the starring role in “The Excorcist” has/had mental problems later?

    The ideal thing is to stay away from anything God is not part of, then you will retain your sanity. If He guides your writing, He wants it to minister to people. Which means He will protect you in all respects.

    Good luck, and God bless you,


  2. I must say reading this post had brought me back to the movie “The Secret Window.” However, I do I agree with this post in every which way that someone can agree with something. I know, first hand, that a writer can go crazy. Not just in a specific genre, as Laurean mentioned, but in every genre known to us. To overcome this you must find your cure for strength. What I mean is, if you belief in God than keep him part of your career and ask for guidance. If you meditate than use that to find balance. A writer must find ways to fight any mental issue that he or she might have, this is very important if you are a serious writer. I know when I was working on a thriller, I almost found myself acting like the main character. This scared me enough to stop working on it and learn ways to prevent this from happening. Now I can say that my methods are strong enough to fight back.