Anger and Writing: Is One Responsible for the Other?

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Brad Graber was born and raised in New York City. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.H.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As a healthcare administrator, Brad has held a number of positions living in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago; West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit; and Mill Valley, a suburb of San Francisco. Brad currently resides in Phoenix with Jeffrey, his spouse of 26 years, and their dog Charlie. The Intersect is Brad’s first novel.

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The things that make me angry are the reasons why I write.

Injustice, prejudice, and inconsistency are just some of the things that I see daily, and all three drive me insane.

As I go through the world, my radar seems to be laser focused on these matters. When I capture a whiff of it, whether among friends, family, colleagues, or out in public, there is an alarm bell that goes off in my head and makes me feel outraged. When I feel that outrage, the best thing for me to do is pour these emotions into my writing. I call it the John Quinones “What Would You Do?” effect.

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“…there can be many reasons for characters behaving badly.”

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Let’s face it. Writing is hard. It requires commitment, attention to detail, and the ability to sit down and concentrate. For whatever reason, anger adds wind to that sail. It gives me a purpose beyond merely telling a story. Highlights the angle that I want to explore. For my characters, regardless of point of view, I crave to understand what makes people tick. Why do they behave the way they do? What is brewing just beneath the surface?

In my world, I’ve discovered that there can be many reasons for characters behaving badly. Childhood trauma, petty jealousy, lack of empathy, fear … all the attributes that we’ve come to recognize make the world go ‘round. The danger is making those characters too over-the-top. They can’t be evil. They can’t be all bad. Otherwise, they’re two-dimensional stereotypes. The trick is to mix their good aspects with the bad. The trick is to make them human.

Anger can be a great tool for unleashing your creative juices. It seems to work for me. I hope you give writing a try the next time you’re pissed off.

Trust me – the words will flow.

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