Feb 27, 2012

Can You Get Emotional?

First of all, WINNERS!

The winner of Midnight in Austenland from J.A. Bennett is Nicole MC!

The winner of Everneath is Jen R.

And the winner of the $20 gift card is Joshua!  

Send me an email at tashaseegmiller at gmail dot com so we can get your prizes to you.

Last week, I was trying to work through a scene that needed to have emotion but it was just flat.  It felt like teenagers doing a first read through of a play where they have been cast to have a romantic relationship with who they deem to be the most annoying person on the planet.  Just....ugh.

I stared and stared at the stupid screen trying to figure out how to make it work - it is the first of several rising plot points and needs to feel like such but it just wasn't working.  After several tries over several days of how to get this scene just right, I knew I needed to find a way to feel some emotion before I could write some.  

I went to a performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto and Mussorgsky's Pictures at the Exhibition which just filled my emotional tank.  And then I finished reading Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which completely blew me away.  The emotional connection I had with Henry and Clare was one I didn't really realize was there until the end of the book, and I found myself so emotionally invested that I was in awe, both of their story and of the writing that caused such an experience.  Then I went back and re-read Maggie Stiefvater's post about plotting for mood.  

I think one of the hardest parts of writing is getting the emotion just right.  I still don't have that scene...yet...but I can see where it needs to go, see what purpose it needs to unfold.  But we can't do that if our emotions aren't in check with the emotions we are trying to write.  

What tricks have worked for you when writing emotional scenes?  How to you fill your own emotional tank?  What works for you when the scene just isn't?


18 comments :

Miranda Hardy said...

I admit, I still have trouble with writing emotions. I'm still learning. It helps to read a really emotional book, I think. I break out Nicholas Sparks.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I remember a situation where I had to deal with similar emotions and feed from that. It doesn't mean it's easy, but it helps.

Thanks for the link!

Kyra Lennon said...

I like to think I'm pretty good at writing emotional scenes, but on the days when it isn't working, I usually turn to music for the solutions. Just the right song can get me fired in to action.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm totally opposite to you, I get so emotionally overwhelmed sometimes that I forget to let go when I stop writing. That's okay when I'm writing something happy - I just fly around with a huge grin on my face - but if it's sad (and a lot of my characters tend to struggle with just being alive) I get very low. I've only just recognised this happens, so now I take steps to avoid it. I have no idea, though, whether this means the writing is more emotional or I just think it is.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations to the winners!
The emotional part is difficult for me. Fortunately my critique partners can spot those lacking moments and make great suggestions.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Congrats to the winners:
I am an emotional person so if I have to write something emotional I just play a sad song.

Have a good day.

Yvonne.

Cassie Mae said...

Emotion is a tough one for sure. Because obviously the author feels it as she/he writes it, so it's hard to tell if anybody else feels it too.

Things I've found is to always make sure we are in the head of the mc. In voice, internalization, and all that other awesome stuff. :)

Angela Cothran said...

I think sometimes I have the opposite problem--too much emotion. It can be just as bad, because readers can get super annoyed that everything is SOOO dramatic. Pull it together already characters :)

Nicole Mc said...

Wow, that's fantastic!! Thanks so much! That book is definitely my style! :)

I also have a scene—a very important scene—that is plaguing me! I can feel it, but somehow I don't feel I'm translating it into words effectively. I've tried meditating on it, but to no avail. I think I'm going to have to reach out to my group on it. Or my sister in law...she's the one I bounce things off of! LOL Good luck.

Joshua said...

Wait...I won what? Wow. (J.A. has my email and already sent me a message.)

As for emotions, well...I think I just try to put myself in their shoes. What's their life like? How would they react? And then I just live it with them. Unfortunately, I'm kind of an emotional sponge, so writing a character in a depressed mood gets me all sad and angsty in real life.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I don't have any tips or tricks - I wish I did! - but I love Maggie Steifvater and I LOVED The TIme Traveler's Wife! :)

Kate Coursey said...

I sometimes have trouble with emotional scenes. I think my emotional state at the time of writing has a lot to do with it....being happy vs sad vs stressed affects how the scene comes out. Great post!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Tasha, If I can't feel my characters' emotions, then I know I have something about the scene wrong. I might push through it anyway, if it's a first draft, but usually I discover in revisions that I'm approaching the scene from the wrong angle ... or the scene doesn't belong there ... or the characters don't really feel the way I think they do.

Nancy said...

I write the scene to the best of my ability thinking, really thinking through how it would feel to be in that characters shoes. But then, I just do the best I can and see how it fares with the critique group.

Susanne Drazic said...

CONGRATS to the prize winners!

Leigh Covington said...

Congrats to the winners! And I have no clue as to the emotional stuff. So far - I try to really let myself get into the scene. Let myself feel whatever it is that the character is feeling. From there I go with responses from CP's. If I need to - I call up my muse to brainstorm! :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

This is an area I worry about. I sometimes put on music or a movie in the background that echoes the emotion I want to write.

Sarah Pearson said...

Congratulations to your winners.

I'm okay with certain emotions such as anger. I don't do love very well though. Not sure what this says about me :-)