Showing posts from September, 2013

Abused Women Often Fear for Pets Left Behind

Have you ever known or known of an abused woman, and wondered why she won't leave him?

It may be because of a pet.

Jennifer Hardesty, associate professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois, discovered when she interviewed women victims of domestic violence that 34 percent of women delayed leaving out of concern for their pets because their abuser had threatened and harmed the animals in the past. 
"He made me stand there and . . . watch [him kill my cat]. And he was like: That could happen to you." ~ Study participant
Admittedly Hardesty's sample size was small, 19 women, but it does point out a somewhat unexpected complication in these stories of abuse, which could make an interesting and educational plot twist in your next story.

"For abused women, a pet can be a treasured source of unconditional love and comfort -- maybe even protection -- in a time of transition. Many are strongly bonded to their animals," Hardesty said.


Story development: Strict Societies = Violent Drinking Cultures

An experienced novelist or screenwriter will tell the neophyte considering writing a book or screenplay, "understand your characters by working out their backstories first".

I came across this study from 2008 earlier today on Science Daily, the results of which offer insight into rigid or male dominated cultures, whether in the third world or in various corners of our own country.

Strict Societies Foster Violent Drinking Cultures
Countries with strict social rules and behavioral etiquette such as the United Kingdom may foster drinking cultures characterized by unruly or bad behavior, according to a report on alcohol and violence released today by International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP). The report lists 11 cultural features that may predict levels of violence such as homicide and spousal abuse.
Violence-reinforcing cultures tend to share the following features: Cultural support (in media, norms, icons, myths, and so on) for aggression and aggressive solutions;Militaristi…

The Science Behind Developing The Commitment Phobic Character

You're working up the back story of a commitment phobic character, someone who is attracted to but can't let him or herself get close to another, more commitment-comfortable character in your story.

This brings up the question, is commitment-phobia genetic? If genetic, is there much one can do to learn to open up and trust?

Or is commitment phobia a learned behavior?  And if learned, what can a person do to overcome this hurdle? 

Here's a bit of science you may find very useful: according to research published  in 2012 in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, commitment phobia is a behavior learned at the hands of emotionally distant parents, which gives you a model for piecing together your character's back stories as well as the personalities of your character's parents and siblings.

Here's the complete story from December, 2012:

'Commitment-Phobic' Adults Have Mom and Dad to Blame
Afraid to commit to a relationship? According to new research fr…

Why Your Parents Think Your Partner Isn't Good Enough

"Our model predicts that the conflict will be stronger when fathers rather than mothers control (family) resources." The conflict between parent and child over the child's choice of a mate has long been fodder for soap operas, horse operas and opera operas. Also romantic comedies, drama and tragedies. It may even play out in your life, as a child or as a parent.

Have you ever wondered why this is?  I mean, how this standard conflict between parents and children came to be?  Even why in some cultures arranged marriages are the only option?  Yes, this is great fodder for the writer, but why is this such an ancient and universal theme?

An evolutionary explanation to this age-old conundrum is offered in a study published today, September 20, 2013 in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior, written by Dr. Tim Fawcett, a research fellow in Bristol's School of Biological Sciences. 

As Dr. Fawcett notes, "It is common for parents to influence mate choice - from arrange…