No, this is not about setting the right romantic mood for tonight’s romantic escapade. Sorry to disappoint.
This is about setting the mood to write.
After reading a post on The Lonely Author blog about how writers live through their characters, it got me to thinking about how we write certain scenes and how we identify with characters.
I’m curious how other fellow writers work their writing process, and if it makes a difference to the quality of writing they produce?
For instance, do you require silent isolation? Do you have your own personal space you work in, and does it have a door to shut off the world around you?
Do you require different settings for different characters?
Do you write at your favorite coffee house, or library?
Do you write in the middle of chaos with your four children screaming in the background? There’s a story about a woman named Susanna Wesley, who had something like 19 kids, and would sit at the kitchen table and pull her apron over her head and study the Bible in the midst of the chaos. I am not that woman.
How important, if at all, is it for you to have the proper mood to write? Or do you write “on the fly” between meetings, in traffic, waiting in the carpool line for the bell to ring, or at soccer practice?
Do you have to write a scene down when it comes to you, or do you have amazing recall?
I think mood is important. Recently, I watched part of “the Shining” (before it got too scary for me) and was frightened by the way I could identify with Jack Nicholson’s character, Jack Torrance, when he’s alone in that beautiful, giant room, typing away at the typewriter, and he keeps getting interrupted by his wife and son, and totally freaks out on them. Okay…maybe Jack Torrance isn’t the best example and may be a little extreme…but I totally got what he was experiencing.
Sometimes, when I’m knee deep in a scene, especially something dark or heavy, and I feel someone approaching with a question, I fight to keep the mood of the scene going. But sometimes their mere presence ruins my train of thought.
Fortunately, I’m not living in a remote resort, cut off from civilization, with ghosts and my own demons playing tricks on my psyche.
But you get the idea. Setting the mood, whatever that means, is part of writing.
What advice do you have for writers who may be struggling to set the mood and find their groove?