I have depressing scenes to write and I just can’t get in that mind frame for expressing it well.
Which got me thinking—do you have to be in the appropriate mood to truly feel and describe the depth of experience of your characters?
I don’t mean that you have to be experiencing depression to write a melancholy scene, but I don’t think you can go take your kids to the playground, have a picnic, put them to bed with hugs and kisses and then sit down to write a tear-jerker. I will at least need a rainy, grey day to even attempt to feel these scenes.
Is the same true of romantic scenes or joyful scenes? Is it possible to write these moods well when you are feeling quite the opposite in life? Or is it a sign of a talented writer who can flip a switch to their brain and immediately commiserate with their imagined character?
I can only think of method actors who are famous for staying in character the entire duration of a film. Or actors that have to pull something up within themselves, an empathetic cord from their past, that can bring them into the character’s mind. Sometimes, I have to pretend to be one with my character. I have to become a physical medium for my invisible character to communicate through—allowing them to use my mind, my hands, and most importantly, my voice.
I do rely on music to help me transition from a beautiful day to grey one. This is my tool for reaching any feelings I need to muster for my writing. I set a sad song on repeat and hope that it permeates and brings me to a depressing place to write.
Lately this one has been working:
Mad World by Gary Jules
So, do you wait for a certain mood to write with your character? If not, what method works for you? Does it always work?