Inner Demons


One of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Lamb, recently shared a post about plotting inner demons in your writing. Inner Demons Shining Meme

But I don’t write about exorcisms, you say. Well, I don’t either – or at least I haven’t yet – but that’s not what she was referring to.

What Kristen, in her awesome writing brilliance, discussed was plotting your characters in a believable way. In other words, if someone is an alcoholic in your story, having that character talking or whining about their addiction all the time is going to bore your reader. To tears.

Cry Meme

The best writers know how to illustrate a problem in glimpses without overwhelming or annoying their readers. If you’ve ever met someone or know someone who gripes about their problems – even if that problem is truly horrible – all day, then you probably try to avoid that person whenever possible. If on the other hand you know someone who has acted out of character, has had alcohol on their breath, and over a period of weeks they break down and tell you they have a drinking problem, you’re much more likely to feel sympathetic.

One of my favorite writers, Nora Roberts – especially when she writes suspense as JD Robb – is perfect at this. Her main heroine, Eve Dallas, is portrayed up front as a hardass cop. She’s intelligent, shrewd, and fabulous at catching the bad guys. But… she’s plagued with nightmares. Not just the kind you wake up from and within a minute drift back off, but the kind that make you scream and sob in your sleep. Over the course of her series, we learn more and more about Eve and why she has these nightmares – she is a victim of some horrific child abuse. But Nora doesn’t have Eve go around complaining about her past, not ever. Instead, Eve deals with it the best she can, and only in brief little spurts of memories or flashbacks do we see the real damage done to her.

Kristen Lamb Writing Meme


When I first starting writing, plotting was – and still is – the hardest thing for me. I’m not one to sit down and write out a twenty page outline, but I know what I want to happen. Still, one mistake I used to make all the time was explaining how my characters felt instead of showing how they felt. I also tended to drone on about it for far too long. Characters facing their inner demons is kind of like back story, you need to dribble in a little bit here and there, not all at once.

Inner Demons Humor

Since I love to write drama, angst and inner demons, I’m also drawn to writers who are really good at writing it. Do you like reading about characters with inner demons? If so, who is your favorite author(s)? Tell us in the comments below! 🙂

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Jeannie, Excellent post! I enjoy reading psychological thrillers written in the first person. Would love to write one, but I don’t think I could get that deep and dark. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeannie Hall says:

      Thanks, Joanne! For some reason writing dark is the most natural for me, but I definitely want to make sure I’m enticing my readers and not boring them. Hopefully that’s true. Lol! Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Sharon Wray says:

    I love dark, angsty books, but I don’t like to be scared. So it’s often hard to find suspense books to read. 🙂 But I loved your post and after that JD Robb is a master at plotting and writing these kinds of books!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeannie Hall says:

      I don’t care for being scared either, Sharon, so I don’t read much horror. I do like most suspense as long as I know there’ll be a happy ending, though. Hence my love of romantic suspense or thrillers. Thanks so much!


  3. Great tips, Jeannie, and something I may be guilty of doing 🙂
    One of my favorite authors is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She has an amazing talent for using this concept and gain reader sympathy for her H/H.
    I’ll have to work on this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeannie Hall says:

      I hope we can all learn from authors like SEP and Nora. Thanks so much for commenting, Jacquie!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathryn Jane says:

    Great post! and I adore Eve Dallas because Nora has written her so darned well… warts and all 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeannie Hall says:

      I study Eve as an example of a perfectly written heroine. Thanks so much, Kathryn!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. S.A.Taylor says:

    Love the information you shared,Jeannie! One tip that stood out most was dribbling in bits of the character’s inner demons a little at a time. I’m also amazed at how well Nora has crafted Eve’s character. Great stuff and I appreciate you for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeannie Hall says:

      Happy to share, Stephanie! Dribbling is a special skill. Thanks so much for dropping by!

      Liked by 2 people

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