We have all at some time in our lives been at the mercy of our emotions. Love, anger, joy, fear, grief and jealousy and everything in-between. Some people find it easy to express their emotions and some do not. Gender and upbringing of course plays a part in whether we are abe to show our feelings or not.
Men who will not cry in public or even in private because it is considered ‘girly’ or ‘soft’ or it is a sign of weakness. Girls who have been taught since childhood that to express too much anger and rage is ‘unladylike’ and men will find it unattractive. We all know what it feels like to experience these emotions, but expressing them on paper presents the writer with a unique challenge. The writer must consider the gender, class, upbringing and indeed even the period in which his character is living.
In the 21st century we perhaps find it easier to show our emotions than those in times past. The stiff upper lip is gradually slackening.
For the writer, he must look into his own emotional experiences so that he can have his character ‘feel’ the emotion and to ‘show’ his readers how the character is experiencing that emotion at any given time and in any given situation. He must invest in his characters a little of himself, and indeed, many authors do so. They are after all a part of us, we are giving them life.
Because of their situation, my own characters run the gauntlet of many different emotions, love, anger, joy, rage and jealousy. And I too have to try to feel it with them. I try to remember how it felt to be angry, (not too difficult) jealous or grieving and make my characters feel it too. For example, I have always been moved by the songs of thrushes and robins, and many a time have felt my eyes filling with tears on hearing a thrush singing at the close of day.
Consider this extract from my own work in progress. To set the scene, Ned and Will have decided it would be better for them to part for a while but they do not know for how long. After a days riding together they return to Ned’s home to spend what will be their last night together. After stabling their horses they go to a quiet corner of the stable yard;
“Once there, Edward gathered Will into his arms, kissing him so gently that it felt like the caress of a butterflies wing against his lips, kisses so achingly tender and filled with such quiet solace that Will’s eyes filled with tears.They stayed like that for some time, holding each other close, lips brushing in the softest of kisses as the moon rose higher, it’s ethereal light soon reaching the corner where the lovers stood.Then, from out of the darkness there came a sound which held the two young men spellbound. From the trees across the garden they heard the soft liquid notes of
a nightingale. On and on he sang, filling the still of the summer night with a poignancy and beauty which was almost unbearable. And it’s song was Will’s undoing. The stable and his memories of past times there, the ache in his heart and the bird song all proved too much for him and he broke down and wept like a child”
So I was able to draw on my experiences here and ‘give’ them to poor Will. And as my boys progress through the book, I have them experiencing many more rather poignant moments. But it is not all doom and gloom in my house, I promise you. However, because of their situation Will and Ned are finding things terribly difficult poor things. But such is the nature of same sex love especially in the 16th century.Now, I must get back to Tudor England and see what is happening with the boys. I’d like to say they live happily ever after, but……………..We must wait and see. Till next timeG.
To hear what made Will cry, press here