Some of the scenes I’ve been dabbling in lately have a lot of emotion weaved into them. I’m trying to figure out exactly how the characters are going to react in traumatic situations and then incorporate that feeling into the story. Not so easy, especially since I’ve never actually experienced the same type of circumstances. The objective is to make the characters’ perceptions realistic, so that you feel what they feel and suffer the same woes.
Creativity only takes you so far, though.
Sometimes the best writing comes from personal experience. If I can convince you what I am dealing with and you feel my angst, it makes you better able to relate to the story, right?
Well, I’m not convinced I’ve succeeded in that goal with my current writing. But let me indulge you with a real-life experience…
Today, at our annual Easter Bunny breakfast, George and Cooper were outside at the egg hunt, searching for brightly-colored plastic eggs. George wanted a green one so Cooper set off to find one for him. Which should have made me beam with pride, the fact that he wanted to please his brother when most times, they are at each others’ throats.
But in the blink of an eye, Cooper disappeared. Literally. He went missing. Like to the point where the dads were going to start a search. And to the point where time stood still and my heart was ready to break at the perceived loss. Hubby yelled at me, I yelled at him. Those were truly the most horrific minutes of my life. The thought of my little baby, gone from our lives forever. I was being overly and prematurely dramatic, I know. But raw emotion took over. You know the kind of thoughts that permeated my mind…and Hubby advising me to keep calm only resulted in more distress.
Fortunately, my friend Jenn ran into the school and found Cooper wandering around by himself in the cafeteria, clutching a green egg for George. He was looking for his brother so he could give him the egg. Cooper just wanted to make his brother happy. He didn’t know he’d done anything wrong by leaving the hunt grounds.
in the interim, Hubby and I aged ten years and miraculously lived to tell about it.
The kind of emotion we experienced in that short amount of time is so difficult to spin into words. The heart palpitations, the panic, the gut-wrenching feeling that your momentary lapse of attention opened the door to a potentially traumatic sequence of events…how can you write that stuff without knowing how it feels? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. And furthermore, if having experienced such things would make me a better writer…well, I’d sooner tackle some other craft.