* Mobile users will be happy to hear that it finally occurred to me, that I can link a stashed off-site FAQ in my blog description / sidebar.
* And it only took me a year!!
* Talking about the FAQ, I added another ‘don’t do’ thingy, mostly because of my personal disconnect from the topic in question; real world media.
* Like, guys.. let me be frank with you. Alphys gets ONE type of question: “Has Alphys seen (insert anime)”
* As someone who’s not familiar with much anime, I am unable to answer any of these questions with enough accuracy to please my standards. This problem doesn’t stop with anime - it goes for movies, video games, basically most references to real world media and pop culture. So, from now on I’d kindly ask you to refrain asking these questions, as I am simply not familiar enough with the topic. Also, ask Alphys better questions. She deserves better.
* Ever so nyehfully yours,
* (PS; New comic coming tomorrow-ish)
* (PPS: Sans probably loves King’s Quest games)
* (PPPS: Papyrus’ favourite food is oatmeal, ya ninnies, like 7 people asked this)
I'm writing a short story and I want to drive the main character insane, making her nuts by the last chapter. I want to do it carefully so that the reader can pick up on it but, pick up on it too late. Are there any methods you would recommend for this?
1) no 2) do not
I’m sure you mean well, so I’m going to explain a little bit of why I’m concerned by your question.
Firstly, what I think you’re describing is someone having a psychotic break– which is an episode of temporary psychosis caused by extreme prolonged stress, insomnia, fever, certain drugs, giving birth, or a reality unbearable enough (such as wartime) that the brain force-quits. However, you used the words insane and nuts, which, I could be wrong, but to me kind of indicates that you didn’t do the research, and/or are coming at this from a sensationalist perspective. If that’s the case, I can’t really blame you! Mental health problems are better understood today than they were in the relatively recent past, but people with mental health troubles are still very much treated as a curiosity, as people with character flaws, or as boogeymen. The treatment of mental illnesses has been (and in many ways still is, honestly) a shitshow in real life, and people have been consistently misrepresented in popular media.
In old school gothic and horror literature, having a psychotic break– or dealing with any other kind of mental illness– was partly a terrifying conclusion because people didn’t know what was happening or how to treat it– and that frequently meant being shipped to somewhere absolutely horrible for ‘treatment’. Nowadays, if your brain does go rouge on you, it is much more feasible to get treatment and help. Despite this, even today people with mental health problems in stories are often at best misrepresented, at worst the axe murderer by default.
So I’m going to ask you: what makes you want to write a story about a character having a psychotic break? If you were thinking it’s cool or scary or dramatic, I’d take a moment to reconsider. I’m not saying that there are no good reasons to write a story like this! My favorite story dealing with these kinds of themes is The Yellow Wallpaper, in which a woman dealing with postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. It’s somewhat exaggerated and sensationalized, but it was written by a woman dealing with mental illness during a time when a woman’s ailments were all attributed to ‘hysteria’, and how the ‘rest cure’ had been incredibly damaging to her well-being. Writing with a basis in your own experiences as a critique of how mental illness is both viewed and treated due to society preconceptions and sexism? Sterling motivation as far as I’m concerned.
If you decide to push on with this story, I implore you to do your research, and not use ‘insanity’ as a shocking twist ending. To be frank, even ignoring the real world implications, the ‘descent into madness’ twist ending is pretty trite at this point.
I know I’m kind of harping on you here, and my intention isn’t to tear your ideas up or discourage you! An expression I learned from comedy is the idea of ‘punching up’– that is, to attack people in places of power and safety, and not go after people who are already down. That’s all I’m really trying to get at with this explanation– please make sure that you’re not making things tougher for people who already have it tough!
Ah, the infamous ghost Jamie. I do, actually. Most of what I think had been said before by a lot of other great minds on this site. My apologies because this is another long one, sorry!
Diana has said that the ghost is a 25-year-old Jamie, which is when Jamie fights in the battle of Culloden. Jamie doesn’t remember the battle very much and a lot of the details are foggy throughout his life, but he does get injured badly. At one point, I believe Jamie loses consciousness and his mind takes him to his safety, which is Claire. To my knowledge, no one ever sees his physical presence during these experiences, except Frank.
In the books, Jamie is able to see things through his dreams, almost like astral-projection. He at one point is even able to see the 20th century and what a telephone is, though he doesn’t quite grasp what it is.
I believe that it’s totally plausible that his mind took him to a place to protect itself against both physical and emotional pain. While he is laying on that field, littered with his dead clansmen, his mind seeks Claire and finds her right before she falls though the stones.
I think it’s also significant that he watches her brush her hair, which in the books is one of his favorite things to do. Jamie loves her hair and mentions how it calms him, which is a emotion he desperately needs after the fight.
It’s also worth mentioning that it is only Frank to ever see his ghost. Jamie and Frank never can meet in the real world, but both wonder about each other throughout their lives, even when they don’t wish to. Frank is haunted by Jamie and vice versa.
It also creates a beautiful theme that no matter where Claire is, Jamie watches over her. Even before Claire even knows Jamie exists, he can still find her and go to her. To me, it just emphasizes how they are soul mates and they connect with each other on a spiritual level. Their physical bodies can and will be separated, but their spirits never truly will be.
We will have to wait to see if we are right, as Diana explains that she will reveal the truth behind his ghost in the last paragraph of the last book.
The snow was coming down fast and in heaps as Frank
whispered Dickens to Bree’s now sleeping form. The Oldsmobile was still stalled
as we sat on the side of the road awaiting rescue from the brutal blizzard we
Frank wouldn’t admit it, neither would I aloud, but I was
scared. The inside of the car was already icy, even with our combined body
heat. If the blizzard lasted into tomorrow, the roads may still be scare. A
shiver went down my spine at the thought of still being stuck in the car with
the snow pilling higher and higher.
I shook my head slightly to dispel the negative thoughts. It
was almost Christmas, people would be traveling and someone would be along.
I watched as my breath swirled in a cloud in front of me and
then glanced down and watched my daughter’s angelic face sleep. Even in the
darkness, her vibrant red hair shined brightly like a fire
smoldering with sparks and flames. I reached over and brushed a stray curl from
her cheek, pushing away the thought of doing a similar action to the person who
gave her that hair.
I closed my eyes and shook my head against the seat, instead letting
Frank’s voice telling his stories sooth me until I could find a little peace
inside with my head resting against the hard interior of the car.
I didn’t know how long I dozed for, but I suddenly came
awake with a jerk and gasp. My heart was beating like a hummingbird’s wing and
my breath was ragged as if I had just run a mile.
I placed my hand against my chest as if to slow my heart as
I fought to catch my breath. My mind search back to the dizzying dream I had
been having, half lost in my mind, half grounded in reality, as it was with
dreams when the mind hasn’t fully drifted off.
Jamie, I thought. It was only dreams of him that made my body come alive
in this way. But I almost always remembered them. Remembered his touch and
carried it with me as I came awake, not willing to let him go and enter the
real world again.
I glanced over to see Frank and Bree nestled together, sound
asleep. I looked out the window to see the wind had died down just a little and
the moon gave the night a little more light than before.
Something caught my eye from outside. A dark mass
against the sliver moonlight standing next to the car, peering in.
I don’t know why I didn’t scream or awaken Frank. Something
in my bones told me not to. I couldn’t see anything but that it was a man. And
instinct pulled me to open the door.
I slowly moved my hand to the handle of the door, careful to
not jostle Bree. Adrenaline spiked through my veins and made my head slightly dizzy.
The door eased open without a sound and I closed it behind
me as quickly as I cloud as to not let more cold air in than necessary.
My back was turned towards the car, but I could hear the
rough breath coming in pants behind me. It made every hair on my body stand and
my nipples tighten.
Slowly, I turned to face the faceless man who seemed to call
me outside to him. The first thing I noticed was the height and then the hair.
The same shocking color I was admiring on my daughter earlier. And then the
face. The last thought I remember having was seeing the blue eyes that I had
longed to see for the last eights years and the same eyes that haunted my
dreams and roused me from the deepest of despair.
The next thing that Claire became aware of was a warm
sensation against her skin. Her eyes popped open, starling Frank, who had been
apply a warm compress to her forehead.
She blinked groggily against the harsh light from the beside
table and sat up on one elbow, pressing her hand against her head.
“What happened?” She asked.
All she could remember was seeing that
vision of Jamie outside in the blizzard and then…nothing.
Frank put a hand on a large bump on her forehead and frowned
“I have no idea,” he said with a concerned look, a look one
gives to a patient who has a screw lose. “I woke from a loud bang outside the car
and the next thing I see is you passing out in the blizzard.”
“I remember that much,” she said while bringing her feet out
of bed and gratefully grabbing the cup of steaming tea on the nightstand.
Frank got up from the bed and looked outside to the still
loud winds and snow.
“Well, after that, I picked out up and tried to warm you
in the car. Thank god Bree didn’t wake up, you would have scared her,” he shook
his head again, disapprovingly.
“God knows what compelled you to go outside,” he turned his
head and cocked it in search of an explanation, but after I hesitated, he
simply tuned back towards the window.
“Then, I managed to get the car started with some help from
a car driving by and you never budged when I brought you in the house or upstairs,
you must have bumped your head when you fell.”
He came back over to the bed and looked at the small bump
with slight amazement. “It shocks me that you didn’t spilt your head open with
that wind and icy road.”
“Hm,” she mumbled while trying to picture the image of Jamie
again. Maybe she was finally losing her mind.
“Hm, indeed,” Frank said while rubbing his hands on his
pants. He was wearing the clothes he usually wore to University.
He noted her glance and got up, moving to where his jacket
was against the chair. “There was a fire and some professors need to go and assess
the damage. Some of my works may have been lost.”
She looked around the room while his head was turned, but
saw nothing unusual. A slight wave of disappointment ran through her.
“You’ll be alright? Bree is sleeping in her room. I feed her
when we got back and she’s out for the count.”
He slipped on his gloves as I moved to get up to the
bathroom. “I’ll be fine, you go ahead, but be careful, the storm is still
He smiled at little at her before tipping his hat and
walking into the hall. Claire let out a sigh of relief when she heard the front
door close and the car start.
She went into the bathroom and splashed some cool water onto
her face. Right now she needed something to anchor her and maybe something for
A strange feeling came over her as she walked down the small
hall towards Bree’s room. She walked a little faster, feeling silly, but
needing to see her daughter.
Slowly, she eased the door open and sighed when she caught
the first glance of her sleeping form and then her heart stopped for a moment
when she saw who was sitting on the bed next to her.
His head snapped around and met her wide gaze with one of
his own. Her knees suddenly went weak and her vision blurred. She caught onto
the side of the door for support and the next thing she knew; she was pressed
against a warm chest.
Immediately, she pulled back and looked into the face of her
ghost. He was the same, a little older, thinner and with shorter hair, but he
was the same. If he was a ghost, would he not be preserved perfectly the way
she remembered him?
“Am…am I dead?” She whispered as she looked into his blue
eyes and relinquished her body to his slightly shaky hands. Ghosts didn’t
shake, did they?
His eyes were shimmering with unshed tears as he pressed his forehead against
her own, locking their eyes together in a enchanting gaze.
“No, mo nighean donn, ye are very much alive.”
His voice was the same and it brought tears to her own eyes
as she pressed both of her hands tight against his cheeks, feeling his skin in wonderment.
“Wha…how?” She croaked with a high pitched sound that made
Bree rustle in her sleep.
Jamie caught the movement and smiled softly at her
slumbering form before he picked Claire up in his strong arms and brought her back
to her bedroom and sat her down gently on the bed. All the while Claire’s head spun and she reached to pinch her forearm hard to ensure that she wasn’t still dreaming.
When he stood back up straight after setting her down, it was the first time she
noticed he was wearing clothes from his time, pants and a shirt with an old
jacket around his shoulders.
His straightened his spine and grabbed her hands in his, formally, as they did when they recited their wedding vows so long ago.
It felt as though she couldn’t get enough air and he looked
at her with warm, sympathetic eyes, seeing her struggle.
“Claire, I dinna mean to frighten ye. You almost stopped my
heart when ye collapsed by the car,” he closed in eyes while taking a deep breath and smiled a little. “I
thought I had killed ye for sure.”
He sat on the bed next to her, giving her a little room. “You…that
was you then? By the car? I wasn’t seeing things?”
Jamie laughed softly and brushed a piece of her hair back, curving his long fingers against her pale cheek.
“Ye were seeing things, but no things that werena supposed to be there.” His
eyebrows drew together in thought. “Or maybe ye were, you’re the only one who
can see me it seems.”
Claire blinked stupidly at him for a moment and for that
moment all she did was take him in. Her lost love, somehow restored. Did she
really care how? Maybe she was going
crazy, but if that meant she could see Jamie again, she was certainly willing
to pay the price of her sanity.
She flung herself at him and he got his arms up just in time
to catch her. And for an unmeasurable amount of time, they clung to each
other as if one let go, the other would surly die from heartbreak. It was a
miraculous thing, they felt as they twined their bodies together, wrapping every limb and finger they could around the other. It was as if all the missing and broken pieces of their
souls were being forged and stitched back together as they pressed their hearts
against one another, fixing the sharp edges of jagged torn hearts.
“A white witch? So, there is a real white witch, then?”
Jamie chuckled and brought her closer to him under the thick
blanket. They were sitting on the sofa in the living room, sipping tea and
learning about each other all over again.
The shock of seeing him had not worn off, but both didn’t
want to spend the little time they had in shock. Instead, giving thanks for the
Christmas miracle they had been given. The so-called witch Jamie had talked
about said he only had two days and the first day was almost up.
It all seemed very much impossible and dreamlike, but when did their lives together ever seem normal?
It had seemed fate was on their side once more because Frank had
called an hour ago saying that they were snowed in at the university and he
wouldn’t be home tonight. Claire felt a small pang of guilt being thankful that
he was stuck, but pushed it away, locking it up. She could feel shame after Jamie wasn’t here
Even the thought made her tear up, but she pushed it aside
as he cradled her against his big chest. Though he was thinner, his body was still as blissfully warm as she recalled.
“Aye. A shock of white hair,” he shook his head in
wonderment. “Scared me half to death when she showed up.”
She pressed her hand against his chest, feeling his heart
beating, making sure he was really here and in her arms.
“And then the ground shook and you were just…here?”
He scratched his head and smiled at her, eyes twinkling.
“Well, I woulnda say it wasn’t the oddest thing that’s ever happened to me, but
maybe no so strange.”
He cupped her face like it was a crystal goblet, rubbing his
thumbs against the apples of her cheeks. “But ye have traveled through time, mo nighean donn.
Maybe it should surprise you the least.”
Claire suddenly realized what this meant with a feeling like a lightening bolt had struck her. “But you survived Culloden,
that means I can find you again! I can go back and take Bree! We can be a
Her heart soared for a brief moment but Jamie was already shaking his head. “No, you canna, Claire.”
“But-,” he cut her off before she could finish her
protest, he placed a hand gently over her mouth.
“When ye were sleeping and I was sitting with Brianna, I
thought ye might come up with that idea, Sassenach. But ye canna come back.”
Her heart dropped and rejection spread through her blood
like a wildfire. Was there something that he didn’t want her to know about in
his new life?
“Its not that I dinna want ye, Claire. Dinna be daft,” he
spoke when he saw her face, reading it like a book. He brought her closer to
him, holding her against his chest like a most treasured gift.
“Think of it for a moment, Sassenach. I will go back to
prison and Gods knows how long I will be there for and I canna imagine what
will happen after that,” he looked ahead as if to see his future in the past.
“Ye can’t bring the lass when I can’t provide for the both
of ye. I wouldn’t be able to see ye and I won’t have you living in such a
dangerous time when I can’t know how ye fare.”
“But,” she started again, “We might be able to get you out!
We could go somewhere, anywhere!”
He laughed gently against her, which sparked a little flame
of anger in her.
“I dinna doubt you could quite possibly pull something off
like that. Ye have before, but no. They will be hunting high and low for me and
if they don’t find me, they will go to Lallybroch and raise hell.”
Claire eyes watered as hope sunk in her chest. Jamie put a
finger under her chin and made her meet his soft eyes.
“Claire, ye must promise to not come to me unless ye know
for certain that it’s safe. Wait until the lass is grown and can make the
decision to look for me herself.”
Claire swallowed thickly and feebly nodded against him. He
was right, damn him.
“We have these days, Claire. Let us not waste this gift.”
And then he leaned down to kiss her. It was a slow building
kiss, like a smoldering fire, building and building until it reached its peak
It felt as those she was lit on fire. Her skin burned where
it touched him and a similar fire was burning between her legs. Without
breaking their connection, she leaned up and straddled him. Her hair falling
around them like a veil, shielding them from the world outside.
She had no idea how this business of his traveling worked. It was only her that could see and touch him. But she took solace in the feel of his touch and hoped it would be enough for what came next.
He grabbed her hips and bucked up against her. She smiled
against his lips and traced his bottom one with her tongue. It had only been a
matter of time before it came to this.
Jamie had sat with Bree for the hours she was passed out.
Memorizing her, talking to her in whispers, though she could not hear him. And
then after they had reunited, Claire and Jamie were content to just sit with
each other. Leaning the news ways and smiling when they recognized the old.
Perhaps things hadn’t gotten too carried away because Claire
was scared Frank would be home, but now the didn’t have to worry about that and
the thought sent ripples of desire through her and she clutched Jamie closer to
He cupped her breast and she thought she may implode if he
wasn’t inside her that very second. She almost moved to her hands to the
excited bulge she felt under her, but she stopped herself and pulled back
“What, no,” Jamie muttered and brought his lips to her neck,
making her weak in the knees.
“We can’t here,” she gasped against him. “Bree might wake.”
Jamie reluctantly pulled back from her, eyes dilated and
face flushed. “Bed,” he whispered. “Now.”