You’ve noticed the roadside sign, but have you ever stayed for the night? It’s the Dew Drop Inn and it’s much more than a cheap stopover. It’s not one place, it’s many. This is the sanctuary where writers keep their most valued treasures. You can think of it as a secret society for the pen-and-paper crowd, a storehouse of moldy mind tricks. Here’s one from the vaults.
Like so many Americans, I’m profoundly uni-lingual. The best translation of “Sono lunatico, e allora?” is something like, “I’m moody, so what?” Apologies to my Italian friends but yours is one of the best languages for the theme of this article.There’s also the question of location. Look around your local Dew Drop Inn and you’ll find a fabulous Italian restaurant nearby. The reasons behind this partnership must remain mostly secret, for now. For DDI initiates, refer to rule “V” for full details.
If you’re a writer, you automatically know all about moods, eh? Spending some time at the Dew Drop Inn is sure to let you know these moods can be the key to your best writing. There’s a widespread belief that one has to be in a certain mood to write well. Nonsense! All moods are the right moods. It’s a matter of how you use them.
Funny, foul, silly, serious, or outrageous, a mood is an engine of energy for any writer. It may not always be the best avenue for interpersonal relationships but it really works as a thruster for your creative engine. This is especially true when it comes to inventing and animating your characters.
Characters love to inherit your moods, and they’re experts at sending those “vibrations” directly into your story line. They are just waiting in the wings for you to give them a little emotional push. Forget the prophets of doom. There is nothing strange about this concept. This is how it should be. Characters demand dimension, and who wants a character that floats around the story line with a placid or implacable persona for 100,000 words? Well, maybe one of them will do, but not more than one! Those characters need all the boosting they can get, and your moods can be the fuel.
Moods get a bad rap in our society. They are seen as somehow abnormal and distasteful. Americans like to shun their moods, close them away, deny them. Then, when they are finally let loose, everything becomes much too serious, or worse. As Americans, we could use a little moderation here by giving our moods some slack from time to time. Not all cultures subscribe to this inhibited way of living or interacting. There are many cultures that find no problem with a moody outburst. It’s just another bump on the path of life, and sometimes even a welcomed one. It has meaning. It has emotion, and that has value.
Moods are part of our way of living and surviving. They are fashions of thinking and communicating, ways of sharing emotional meaning. I’m not talking about those outrageous outbursts that are designed specifically to hurt others. That’s not a mood, it’s a “mood disorder.” What I’m talking about are those everyday moods that beset us all. These are the happy times, the sad ones, the funny ones and the frustrating ones. All of them are rife with opportunity for writers.
When a mood settles, and it’s truly just a “mood” and nothing more, it’s a chance to use the potency of that mood to create and enhance your art. Share those moods with your characters and see how they react. Spread it around the story line a bit and discover where it leads. You’ll feel better and you will almost surely become a better writer because of those moods.
Give it some thought, even if you’re moody right now. The next time you feel a certain mood crossing your path, why not share it with your cast of characters? Give them a chance at your experience, allow them to work out the details and offer a result. It’s the kind of process that can put a little zest into your story line while lightening your own load a bit.
For the uninitiated: Yes, drama and moods have always been allowed at the Dew Drop Inn. There are special rooms reserved for just this kind of pursuit. This is not the Hotel California. You can check out any time you want.