Do you become the characters you write as you write them?
Please understand, I’m not asking if you’re writing a serial killer, do you go out and take a few lives in the neighbourhood simply to get in the right frame of mind (or at least, I’m not asking you to admit it here). Rather, do you inhabit the thoughts and moods of your characters as you type/write?
I’ve often wondered what it would look like if I video recorded me writing my screenplays or novels. Do my body language and facial features reflect the inner turmoil of my characters? I know my typing does.
If I am writing people who are angry, my poor keyboard takes an absolute pounding as I act out all of the aggression that’s flowing through my characters’ actions and words. Likewise, if I am creating a scene that starts slowly and then builds to a crescendo, I find the mood of the scene is reflected in the tarantella of my fingers across the keys.
I have also noted some physical cues. The more tense a scene, the more my jaws hurt from all that clenching. My libido shifts in a love scene (sorry if that is TMI). A smile lights my face in humourous scenes. And I have actually achieved tears in particularly emotional scenes.
For the moment, I will assume that I am just emotionally in tune with my characters, but I cannot yet rule out a slow nervous breakdown.
Thus, I would love to hear other writers’ experiences in this area.