In the Batman film, The Dark Knight, The Joker played by Heath Ledger tells Batman:
"Y'see, Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little ... push."
Which set me thinking (after the film had finished!) about how when I'm writing I like to think up stories where I can show a character's inner emotions. What's ticking inside that needs a push to be revealed?
I like to think of scenes that are Emotional Gravity Wells. All I need is to direct my character towards them like little quicksand pools in a jungle waiting for the tread of feet and then down they go to reveal madness, fear, lust: whatever is beneath those traits that they teach you to do on writing courses. Well he likes cheese on toast, has blue eyes, watches EastEnders blah,blah,blah ... nudge them out of the workshop, pull all hope from them and see what lurks beneath. A wonderland of chaos that is struggling to form an identity that is a human being: a coherent pattern in a mind that is splintered.
Of course a Gravity Well is in another way of saying a black hole - from which there is no escape. So then I'm left with: Do I let them out or not? A happy or sad ending? Or do I write it so it appears to be a happy ending, but look deeper into the well and all is not what it seems?
So if you're writing, or plotting a story - why not nudge your character along to a Gravity Well and see what happens? You may need to be subtle and cover it with sticks and scrub - your characters may not want to go down if they see it there in the story. You do know your characters take on a life of their own don't you? Or have I fallen into madness?
Give me a hand out somebody.