My stomach clenches in fear. Tears gather in my eyes. Flames of anger threaten to engulf. An unexpected snort of laughter slips out. The breeze from an open window pulls me back reminding me of my surroundings. It’s all there bare, exposed. I’ve been writing naked.
When I write, I put my emotions on display. I draw on those feelings and infuse them into my characters. To those of you who thought I really did write in the buff…well what can I say? To each their own fantasies or nightmares whatever the case may be.
It’s a lot like method acting. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing something that works and using it to your own advantage. Actors don’t own the franchise on channeling emotions. Songwriters, poets and yes fiction writers can and do use the same technique.
Writing naked is not an easy task, it means dredging up painful memories or embarrassing things you’d rather forget. Like the time I wore two different colored shoes to work. Hey, at least they were the same style. Remembering that humiliation made it possible to describe how a character felt in an embarrassing situation.
Writing naked also has its drawbacks, you need to know where to draw the line. Some memories are too fresh or disturbing to explore. If you can’t delve into a memory without hurtling into the abyss don’t go there. You need to be able to return virtually unscathed with the information you went after and the ability to impart it into your writing.
In a world of show don’t tell, I find stripping down and baring my soul a useful tool. The reader doesn’t need to know what I’ve based those emotions on, only what my characters are feeling. If I’m lucky and they feel the fury, panic, misery or elation, I’ve done my job.
Come on I dare you, step a little outside your comfort zone. Strip down and write naked. Metaphorically that is, unless you have a more comfortable chair than I do. The fabric on mine leaves the strangest little marks.