First a shout-out to Vicki Weavil for her pub contract! Yay, Vicki! And congrats to those Thursday’s Children who made it into The Writer’s Voice contest – Good Luck! For those who tried, but didn’t, or who didn’t enter at all…stay tuned for news about a very special contest designed for “virgin” manuscripts in the YA/NA genre.
Inspired by Psychology Tests (Part 2)…
Last week, we had fun with the Luscher Color Test, right? This week I’m excited to bring you the Thematic Apperception Test. I should start by saying this is an “old school” psych tool and rarely used nowadays. Most of the images you’ll find online have a mid-20th century feel. I find this test intriguing because essentially it’s Flash Fiction. The pictures are often morally ambiguous and some suggest strong emotional content. The client is shown an image and narrates a story to go with it. In theory, the client’s narrative will reveal unresolved issues, fears, pathology, etc.
Here are a couple of TAT images.
Hmm, is he/she cradling or strangling?
He looks none too pleased…
The psychiatrist in my WIP shows the photo below to my MC. Orla is selectively mute and therefore she writes the story. I should mention a couple of things. One, she’s a twisted piece of work. Two, she and Dr. Spurwick have an unhealthy relationship.
From my Untitled WIP…
He gives me my own pad, and a pen. I’m not allowed to erase. It’s one of the rules.
“Fifteen minutes,” he says.
I click the end of the pen. A glossy clot of red ink dangles from the tip. Perfect.
Billy’s intestines writhe like snakes in a barrel. She’ll be angry. Beyond angry. He should have run away while he had the chance. But his fear of being without her is greater than his fear of being with her.
“What have you done?” she demands, droplets of her saliva peppering his cheeks.
Her eyes shoot little arrows of rage at him. The force of her hatred cracks him open like a surgical rib-spreader. She wishes he’d never been born. Wishes she’d torn him from her womb and thrown him in the sea. Or down the toilet. Her rejection claws out his heart and drops it on the cabin floor.
Blood seeps into the raw wood boards, staining them dark red.
I stop writing to draw the bleeding heart. How had he known I’d need a red pen?
“Nothing,” he says. That isn’t true, of course, but his instinct is to lie. To protect himself at all costs, for as long as possible.
“Clearly you have. What’s in the oven? It smells horrible. And where’s Emmy? Did you put her in the shed again? I should have known you couldn’t be trusted to look after her.” He shakes his head. Maybe if he doesn’t speak of it, they can pretend nothing happened. Then maybe he could think all the bad away—make it disappear. Or maybe he could make himself disappear. He closes his eyes. He forces himself to watch. There’s the small shriek of the oven door opening. And then a much louder one from his mother. “Oh, my God!” He closes his eyes now. The wild sobbing makes the heart on the floor, his heart, throb, spurting out his remaining blood. He opens his eyes a crack. She holds the charred baby girl to her chest, rocking back and forth. “Get OUT!” she screams, her face grotesquely contorted, shiny with tears.
Billy sits on the front stoop. Waiting.
I hand Dr. Spurwick the paper.
Do you like doing Flash Fiction? What story would your MC tell to go with this photo?
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