Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Emotions and Characters

Yesterday was a truly harrowing day. Not only did I have to take my daughter to work with me, half day of school and no babysitting, I also had my car towed by the ever popular New York City Police Department. My husband had forgotten to put out the parking permit, which would normally just warrant a hefty fine that must be paid within thirty days to avoid penalties (Oh yeah, Bloomberg is just racking up cash from middle income family households). But I digress, the car is not only ticketed but also towed. The city makes $185.00 from the tow and of course, $115.00 for parking in a Department of Education zone with no permit. Great! What does this have to do with writing you say? Well, I analyzed the range of emotions I experienced from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. This is what I came up with:
  1. Happy, content, relaxed (when I woke up)
  2. Worried, anxious (no babysitter)
  3. Relief (boss didn't have a problem with my little one traveling with me)
  4. Frenzied (running a program, teaching classes with daughter glued to hip)
  5. Stressed the hell out (Husband calls, car was towed)
  6. Anxious (had to figure out finances to pay to get the car out)
  7. Still Stressed (went to pound after work)
  8. Relief (car returned, drove home)
  9. Calm, Content (while cooking dinner, taking care of kids)
  10. Happy, content, relaxed (watched The Office)
  11. Emotionally exhausted (bedtime)
After this analysis, I applied the wide range of emotions that I experienced to the character in my mystery novel. These emotions added the precise complexity needed to not only move the plot along and create an interesting story, but also it added a different dimension to the writing itself. The story had more descriptive scenes, using a plethora of adjectives instead of just dialogue from one character to another, making it more interesting and drawing in the reader. The peripheral characters seemed to empathize with the protagonist which enriched relationships. This technique was a success. Some people say to write what you know. They also need to add that as writer, one must write what you feel also.

Now, I can't take credit for coming up with this writing technique. There are several writers/ authors who use this. Some blogs to check out for writing techniques are Mystery Writing is Murder, Confessions of a Watery Tart, and Linda M. Faulkner . . . On Writing. I have found these to be really useful when experiencing writer's block or misbehaving characters.


  1. Thanks so much for the plug! :) It sounds like a horrid day...but one that gave you a ton of material to feed off of!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Your welcome and yes this chaotic day provided a plethora of ideas. Thanks so much.