Now I know some of you east coast folk love your snow and I will agree that it is very pretty. For like five minutes. O.K. more like two… But then that whole, “Still need to function” thing kicks in and I’m out and shoveling this white powdery stuff that keeps blowing right back into the driveway and I realize once again how much I loathe snow.
You may be asking yourself, what does hating snow have to do with writing? Quite a bit actually. I was out shoveling snow and the following thoughts ran through my head about why I hate snow:
- It’s cold (I don’t do well with cold – I actually sleep with a heating blanket on in the summer… True story.)
- You have to put a lot of clothes on to go out in snow which limits mobility.
- Shoveling snow sucks! It makes my shoulders, wrists and back hurt, not to mention the wind stings any exposed skin.
- I’m probably going to have to shovel the drive again because the wind is just blowing the snow right back in the path I cleared.
I could sit here all day and give you all the thoughts that ran through my head, but my point is this: I can take any of the thoughts above and the physical feelings that went along with them and tap into them to write a scene for a character that hates snow. To expand on that, I could write a scene on anything my character hates by tapping into my own hate for snow.
Everyday we face situations that can result in visceral reactions for us, and while none of us wants to be uncomfortable, there is an upside is if we can stay in the moment and record these feelings. By avoiding overused clichés and tapping into your real life discomfort and feelings and using them in your writing, you can make your characters come to life and as a result, your readers will empathize with them.
I still hate snow but I have a lot of great stuff from that hate that I can use in my writing and that is pretty awesome. What experiences have you had that you can use to strengthen your characters?