Last night, I came home from a frustrating day at work, fired up to do some writing. In this scene, the main character is angry at another character and I thought I might be able to channel some of my own irritations into the dialog. The problem was, by the time I had some dinner and talked to my husband, I wasn’t upset anymore. I was in a good mood. No matter how much I wanted to write this scene, I knew it wasn’t happening. I decided to close up the laptop, and call it a night.
I think this often happens to me as a writer. I like to use my own emotions, and funnel them into my characters. I want to feel what I imagine my character is feeling. I want to put myself into their mindset. If I’m in a good mood, my dialog comes out comical and sarcastic. If I’m upset, my dialog reflects that as well. I’ve often skipped ahead and wrote scenes based on the emotions I’m feeling that day. If I have a rough outline in place, I know what’s coming up, and I try to use that to my advantage.
I don’t think emotions in writing can be forced. Even when I try to think of bad things that have happened in my life, if I’m in a good mood, I can’t channel those bad thoughts into my writing effectively. It doesn’t feel as genuine when I go back and read through my work. I’m not sure if this is true for everyone. I only know that this is true for my work as a writer.
On a side note, my husband has been my rock, encouraging me through all my madness. When I told him about my frustrations trying to write this scene, he said with sincerity; “Well, maybe you’ll have a bad day at work tomorrow.” I think this is the only time in history when I hoped he was right. 🙂
6 thoughts on “Emotions and Writing”
I am in the midst of outlining a piece of fiction for the first time so I can relate to the channeling of emotions into characters, however, I try to think of GOOD actors and how THEY can create high emotional content on almost the drop of a hat. This allows me to not sound forced in creating moods and environments that are true to the story.
Also, I find that MUSIC is a powerful tool in creating emotional moods. As an exercise, try creating playlists that evoke different feelings and work those thoughts into your story. I hope this helps. ENJOY writing!
Good evening Ed!
I wish I had that talent, to create emotions out of thin air. I do sometimes use music, but I don’t have any “angry” music. Everytime I think of the word “angry”, I get this image from the movie Toy Story, of Mr Potato Head putting on his “angry eyes”, and that gets me smiling, not the emotion I want! LOL This is what happens when you have a kid who wants to watch the same cartoon over and over again! LOL
Hey Juli. I have a suggestion for you.
If you want to channel your emotions but don’t have a chance to get to the computer while you’re feeling it, whip out your notebook and pen and write down some key words on how you’re feeling, both mentally and physically. Then when you get to writing the scene, flip back over your notes and use those words. I’ve found it works with me.
Good luck with the writing! Am following you with great relish.
I actually ended up writing in a journal I keep in my car today. I went into work, and long story short, I volunteered to punch out for an hour and a half, and come back later, in order for me to be able to utilize Thurday’s hours on Friday. Such a mess! Anyways, I had time to sit and write without the ususal distractions. It was WONDERFUL! I came back into work feeling so refreshed! Sometimes a good bit of writing is like therapy.
This is so true! i cheat sometimes by either writing up scenes ahead of time (for instance if I know there’s a sad scene coming up and I happen to be good and depressed) though I rarely know what’s coming, so I tend to use music. I have several playlists like “angry”, “sad”, “melancholy”, “sex” (LOL!) etc saved and swap them out. Like the angry list doesn’t particularly have songs that are angry on their own, but songs that I used to listen to during different periods of my life when things were going on that made me angry (Matchbox 20’s Mad Season will infuriate me after only a couple of songs!) so it’s like drawing on an old cache of emotions. I usually have to listen to them for awhile before the right mind set settles in. The funniest one was one day my hubby, as a joke, added The chicken Dance song in the middle of my sex list (he calls me a chicken and uses it to annoy me) so I was int he middle of the scene and then that song came on – my couple ended up in a huge fight, LOL! *shakes head*
ROLF! That’s great Joleene! My Hubby and I both got a giggle about the “chicken dance” song. I esp. like that your characters got into a fight because of it. Isn’t it funny how those little things affect your writing? I will never think of the chicken dance the same way again! LOL