Monday, January 17, 2011

Moods


Everyone has good days and bad days. There are those days when you wake up energized and eager and then there are those days when you feel you're deserving of a yet-to-be-invented award because you didn't spend the entire time sprawled on your bed, moaning in a low, mournful register. Not everyone is agreeable all the time. Not everyone is disagreeable. People's moods change.

It's easy to forget this as we write our way through our stories. We're so busy focussing on plot and pace and not repeating words and dialogue tags, that our characters' moods sometimes get short shrift. A character who is happy all the time or conversely, ornery all the time is going to get dull fast. Readers may not always be able to put their finger on it, but those characters are going to hit a false note.

Of course, moderation is the key.

I don't worry about this for every character; my small, one paragraph wonders appear, say their bit, trip, and get off the stage. But I do try and remember it when I'm writing through one of my POV characters' eyes. Not every one of them understands why they're in a bad mood, but I know why and it's there. Bad moods make people short-tempered. Impatient. Not wanting company. Bad moods make people retreat to their 'places of comfort'; whether it's a bar or a bathtub. Good moods make people talkative. When people are in a good mood, they physically touch other people more often. Good moods make them walk quicker. They plan activities. They want to be with their significant other or they want to search a little harder to find one.

Let your main characters change as often as the weather. Let them have good days and bad days. The more human they are, the more beloved they will be.







17 comments:

  1. Elspeth - A great reminder! Thank you! Nobody has the same mood all of the time. Even basically optimistic people are sad at times. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeons smile sometimes. And when we do this, I think our characters are more real. They're more appealing, and I know for me, I care more more about them and I write them better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Margot; Wouldn't it be boring if we were all in the same mood all the time? Although I suspect those who live under the same roof as me would be grateful if my mood changed a little less often!

    KarenG; Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great point.
    Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Al; Thanks for letting me know you liked it. Hope those floods are nowhere near you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very true. I sort of talk about this today, too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Carol; I know! And our comments to each other are similar as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Another good reminder. Remembering mood changes can be as important as the major character arc changes.

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

    ReplyDelete
  8. Terry; Thank for your good reminder! Oh, those arcs will be the death of me!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love character moodiness. :) Not everyone is a particular way *all* of the time. Nice post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent post as always. I sometimes forget to let them be themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Excellent point! My poor main character is so moody, he gives me the shakes!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very good point. Characters who have good days and bad days are much more realistic and interesting than those who don’t.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So true, and I just realized what was wrong with the last scene I wrote. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very true, Elspeth. I'm currently re-reading a bunch of JD Robbs, and her character Eve especially has all sorts of moods.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a comment as I love to hear from you!