Sometimes when I’m writing, I have to imagine what my characters are thinking or feeling in order to create a fictional – yet believable – situation. When I was training to be an actor, we used a technique where you remember a situation that was similar to your character’s to allow your body’s memory to dredge up the same feelings.
This can be dangerous. There are often a whole whack of feelings locked up inside us, and using this technique can wake a sleeping giant that you’d rather let rest. We learned that it was best to only use memories at least 5 years old.
I use a similar technique with writing. I first examine the situation and try to determine what emotions would come from it. It isn’t always easy – truth be told, I’ve never lost what I thought was my true love because she found out I’m a thing of legends.
This is what I’m writing now. The story of a character who falls in love, and must risk losing it because of what he is. It continues the story from Pyre, and parallels the themes of Rancour. It’s almost finished except for where my character gets a broken heart.
A strange way to spend a weekend, but mine will be fraught with memories from teenage angst over loss of love and unrequited crushes. I have to remember how it feels to have my heart broken, to feel sad and regretful that I had to be born me. And once I get in touch with this side of my psyche, I’ll transfer it all to the page as though my emotions are those of my protagonist.
And once the weekend is over and my scenes are written, I can return to my life of happy-go-lucky wonder. My biggest problems these days arise from the fact that I’m extremely blessed, and honestly the choices before me are Great Option #1 vs. Great Option #2.
Perhaps remembering for awhile that things weren’t always so fantastic will be healthy for me.