How do I keep myself and family from going insane during my up-and-down emotions, especially over family get-togethers or major life events... How do I use my personal strengths and weakness to my advantage...
I write during and about them. I keep a running notepad on my iPhone of my thoughts and feelings throughout normal events, such as eating out, grocery shopping, vacations, holidays with family, and children’s events. Anything that will make my characters more believable. But, I also go one-step further.
After all, how do you write about a character's tragic death when you just spent a great day with friends and family over a holiday weekend. Sometimes I can. Occasionally, when all is perfect, the writing flows effortlessly, but other times it doesn't. So, if I am experiencing a particularly strong emotion, I'll seek out a scene in my Work In Progress that requires that sentiment, reread, and almost always edit accordingly.
When I am feeling down, I seek out a troublesome period in my protagonist’s life, be it past or present. My depression works to my advantage because the words on the page reflect my inner turmoil. The reader will feel the character’s pain and be able to empathize. And a plus, after pouring out my frustrations--as though I've spoken to a good friend, who only listens--I usually feel better when the section is finished.
When I am happy, my joy spreads like wildfire, and so the reader will sense my excitement and therefore feel the happiness my characters are experiencing.
Romantic... Well, you get the idea. The reader should feel as though she is a part of the scene, as if she is the main character or, at minimum, a close friend.
Isn’t that what a great novel should accomplish? The reader should feel chills spread down her arms and butterflies in her stomach at the idea of a first kiss. Her pulse should race as if she is prey in a game of cat and mouse, and when appropriate, she should even shed a tear.
So if you're like me and fret when all the extended family is around, and somehow you got the job of managing the food for a small army, don't get upset. Delegate! Then sneak away and jot down what your mother did to upset you. How Uncle Joey dressed for the event. How cute all the new kids acted who were finally old enough to play with the sparklers.
In other words, use your emotions, happy or sad! And if you're not a writer, that's okay...trust me, it still helps to write it down.
And since you'll probably need a mental escape at some point this week, grab my new release so you'll have something to read when you slip away, and see how Jana Embers deals with her lying, cheating husband of fifteen years and her new life as a single woman.
Until next time, Happy Reading and Writing!