I love movies, and I love to watch actors portray deep, sometimes harrowing emotions. I love it when they stir emotions up inside of me too. Some movies are so good, that they even can bring me to tears when the characters are animated. One scene in Up, for instance, had me bawling like a two year old.
One time I was in the cinema when this thought jumped into my head, “What if I write like an actor?”
It stayed with me and I jotted it down in Evernote after the movie was done.
I once saw a TV show in which actors get an acting masterclass. One of the things the teacher showed them was that they needed to use their life’s experiences to bring up emotions in themselves. To think of a bad time in their life to bring up tears, to think of something they were angry about in the past to bring anger to their face.
What if we as writers can do that too? Sit behind our desk, bring up moments from our past that made us angry, and then pushing all that anger into our character’s mind? Bring back emotions from our past and then play them into our character’s life?
I bet they would jump off the page and grab us by the throat.
The adage is, “Write what you know.”
I want to change it to, “Write what you’ve felt.”
The added benefit is that writing this way becomes therapeutic. It was for me while I wrote Ganesha’s blessings, and still works now I am editing the heck out of it.
The second added benefit is that through expressing my emotions on paper, I’ve strengthened my connection with my inner two year old.
Now over to you! Give it a try and let your characters feel all the shit that you have been through. Your inner two year old will smile and give you a thumbs up!