Thursday, April 14, 2011

"L" Is For Laughter (And For LATENESS...)

My W.I.P. is not a happy story.  Sure, positive moments occur, but it isn't a book anyone will pick up to lift their spirits.  The plot is dark; the protagonist is sad.  And as the writer, the amount of time I spend in this depressed mindset really catches up to me at times.

I've been listening to the same playlist for a few weeks now.  The songs are a combination of the protagonist's favorites, as well as songs that ignite the proper mood in me.  And since not one of them is a fun, happy, upbeat melody, they are getting to me.  All the more reason to finish this sucker, right?

When it comes to getting into character, I spare no expense.  I watch movies and TV shows that portray similar situations.  I read articles based on actual situations that match the story.  I spend hours looking for interviews and testimonials.  I watch youtube clips and podcasts.  I do whatever I can to bring this story alive - to live the life of my character.  To breathe the air he breathes.

But, I have realized breaks are important.  I have to pull myself away to avoid forgetting there are enjoyable moments in life.  For me, the key to breaking this mood has been laughter.

Since switching to earlier writing hours, I make it a point to watch something funny every night.  Usually, I default to the Nick at Nite lineup (I'm not very exciting when it comes to television).  But, I'm not watching for entertainment value, either.  Whether it's a sitcom episode or a light-hearted book, I'm using it to detach myself from my book and my character. 

Although it's vital for a writer to connect with his or her story to the maximum extent possible, we must not lose sight of our own world in the process.

How do you remove yourself from an emotional storyline?  What distractions do you find helpful?

6 comments:

  1. mine was also laughter.

    Laughter is important!

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  2. When things get too dark, or I just find myself pulled in, I stop and spend time with my kids. Their comedy duo can fix anything.

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  3. I almost never let myself listen to sad music as a rule. I can come up with something sad and stay connected to that sadness without the aid of sad music. All my music, thus, must remain happy or upbeat as that is the emotion most difficult for me to hang onto.

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  4. I haven't written a very dark story yet, though I've got a few plots in the works.I try to stay in character emotionally by imagining them in situations. I have just begun to develop playlists. Also, I watch Nick @ Nite religiously!

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  5. I'd like to comment on the lateness you mentioned. I hate being late and I hate it when others are late! I would go along more with "if you're going to be late, don't come at all!"

    Duncan In Kuantan

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  6. Laughter would be my big break away from emotionally charged stories. That - or golf, if weather permits!

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