Edna Ferber said:
I think that to write well and convincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. Dislike, displeasure, resentment, fault-finding, imagination, passionate remonstrance, a sense of injustice – they all make fine fuel.
Notice that these are almost all “negative” emotions. I think negative emotions are just easier to tap into – and they are probably easier to relate to as well. Not everyone has felt that rush you get when you first fall in love or the total rush of supreme happiness experienced when you've finally obtained a goal you've been working toward. But everyone, at some point in their lives, has been sad or hurt or scared.
Do I think all creative people need to dress in black and sit around brooding with a shot glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other?…no! Of course not! In fact, my writer friends are some of the funniest, happiest, goofiest people I know. We spend the vast majority of our time cracking each other up. But I do think a writer or artist has to have some kind of emotional background from which to draw.
So, what emotions drive me as a writer? This one is easy….all of them. If you read a scene in one of my books that is particularly depressing – well, I was probably feeling depressed that day. Or I heard a song that made me think of that one time where I was horribly hurt or heart broken and Ta-Da!!! Someone in my book is going to get shot (just kidding…well, sort of). And if you read an especially funny scene, I was probably in a really good mood that day.
Can I write a funny scene if I’m mad or depressed? – yes. But I guarantee you it will be funnier if I was in a good mood when I wrote it. Same with the opposite end of the spectrum. I can write a fairly convincing tear-jerker no matter what kind of mood I’m in – but it really helps if I’m bummed, or tapped into those bummed feelings, when my fingers hit the keys.
We'll talk about how I help myself get into the right writing mood next week :D
For now, I wanna know....what emotions drive you? Are the harsher, more angsty emotions easier for you to tap into, or are the humorous ones more your cup of tea?
Oooo and here's a good question for you - does writing about a certain emotion create that emotion for you personally? Meaning, if you are sad when you sit down to write a funny scene, do you end up in a better mood by the time you are done? Or are your creative emotions completely separate from your personal emotions?