Summer...or, 2016, has proved very heavy for me. I'm currently considering grad schools (I'm winking at you, England), trying to fix my senior year schedule, working as a bookshop service associate, which is both extremely exciting and surprisingly demanding, and I just got word that I get to be a research assistant to a professor I heartily admire, on a subject I didn't even realize existed (a Russian guy who moved to London in the 1920s and created Byzantine-style contemporary mosaics, how intensely awesome is that?!). Add "promote your forthcoming books, old ones, and maybe write a new one" on top of that, and you'll understand why I have these nicely shaded half-moons under my eyes.
But lo--all this angst fits perfectly in our topic for June:
How emotionally involved are you in reading or writing some scenes?
If you've ever been anywhere near the internet, you've seen those memes or text posts about people wondering if writers cackle when they kill of a beloved character, that they drink reader's tears and all that hootenanny. Now, that might be true for George R. R. Martin, but a lot of people I know actually feel sad if they write emotional scenes--especially death scenes, for example.
I've also seen writing compared to acting; you're just playing every single part. And that can be surprisingly draining. I have a character, Celeste, whom I love to pieces. But she is arguably the darkest, most cynical character with the lowest self-esteem of anyone I've ever had the pleasure to write. She's half-Gorgon (think snakes for hair, bronze fingernails, and Greek mythology) and faced discrimination and seclusion for the first eighteen years of her life. She's offset by Andro, a grandson of Zeus whose father is Captain of the Guard on Olympus. He's spunky and optimistic because, until recently, he's never had cause not to be. There are a few scene in Serpents and Flame where Celeste realizes that everything, even her safety and her greatest desire, comes at a high cost--and it's emotional.
Once, I even scared myself. I was writing Shubiao's Girls. It's a paranormal book, not quite horror, but I started with the query of why we wake up sometimes and it feels like we haven't slept. I explained this with Chinese mouse spirits--spirits that live as mice but have the ability to steal your life force while you sleep. This allows them to transform into human form, but only temporarily. I then added an eons-old name-stealing demon and a fallen angel to the mix, and whenever I would wake up groggy I would get this itchy feeling, like, what if....? Even thought I wrote the book and made up the connection!
To jump back to death scenes--I become a wreck. Even if someone's getting badly injured, really. Yes, I know they're not real. I'm going to risk sounding crazy here, so open your mind--they sort of are, though. My characters are my friends. I feel almost like an older sibling or mentor to them. Have you ever read about writers sort of creating their characters and then the characters sort of just...taking over the story? Doing their own thing? As in, you might have this loose plot ready, but once your guys and gals are up and at 'em, you get hit with "Oh, there's no way they would do that," or "nah, it would go down like this" even though YOU created them and technically you could have them do whatever you wanted? It's weird.
But yeah, I've penned a couple death scenes, maybe two or three big ones. One was even for a major villain--she was bad, really awful--but once I slammed the reader with her backstory, I felt so bad for her. It was one of the most emotional experiences I've had while writing. She was such a complex character; so chilling, actually, that my mom asked how I came up with such stuff. I get all stuffy, red-nosed, and weepy.
There's one, in Monet Evanesce--I won't tell you who, it's kind of a clincher in the plot, ahaha--but the person had come so far, and was just trying to fix someone else's mistake, and he was the person who LEAST deserved to die, ever...allow me to say I was crying so much that I had to stop because I couldn't see my laptop screen a foot in front of my face.
So, I guess I'm gonna leave off and say yeah, I get pretty emotionally involved with writing scenes in my stories. :')
If you like, follow along the list to see how emotionally tied other artists are to their stories!
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/rhobins-round-robin/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com