“Be happy with what you have.”
“You should be content with your life.”
Have you ever had someone tell you that you need to appreciate what you have in life and turn your frown upside down? Have you ever just wanted to punch them in the face? Did you know that you can have a gazillion dollars, mansions, and fast cars but still be sad?
No, this isn’t about me. This is about writing the madness that is sadness. You have to remember that sadness doesn’t need an excuse to rear it’s ugly head. Your character can be standing on a beach in Cancun and still burst into tears because they are weighed down by sadness.
Emotions don’t have a rhyme or reason; they just are and that is how you have to approach them when you sit down to write.
adjective, sad·der, sad·dest.
- affected by unhappiness or grief; sorrowful or mournful:to feel sad because a close friend has moved away.
- expressive of or characterized by sorrow:sad looks;a sad song.
- causing sorrow:a sad disappointment;sad news.
- (of color) somber, dark, or dull; drab.
- deplorably bad; sorry:a sad attempt.
- Obsolete. firm or steadfast.
Thank you dictionary.com for your vast wisdom in all things words.
Bad, cold, and bitter coffee makes me sad. At the moment my coffee is cooling rapidly while I chat with you. Let’s go get a fresh cuppa and a delish nibble. I’ll meet you in the kitchen/breakroom to raid the fridge and cabinets for a wonderous yummy. Who brings the best lunch? Should we peek and see what they have? I won’t tell…as long as you share. Go grab that nibble you’ve been drooling over all morning and a fresh cuppa. We’ll meet you out on the reading rug once you figure out how to smuggle it out. Don’t forget your copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood.
Back to the doom and gloom. So, sadness is the absolute opposite of happiness. If happiness is sunshine, then sadness is the dark of night. It goes from a hug to a shove. Never underestimate the power of sadness over your character(s). Think about a time when sadness hit you are someone you know. It could be the death love a loved one or the death of a relationship. It could be a simple as waking up that way. What did you see? How did they sound? Now, think about a time when you were wracked with sadness. What did it feel like physically for you? I know it has weighed me down. Like, I had weights strapped to my body. Just walking across the room was a struggle. I also binged on food while lying on the sofa staring at the ceiling.
This isn’t a feeling you write lightly. Okay, let me help you out here, unhappiness is not equal to sadness. Unhappiness is fleeting and does not dig as deep as sadness. We are unhappy when the kitchen messes up a food order, or we are cut off in traffic- it’s simple and forgotten easily. Sadness is a divorce, death, or a missed opportunity. It’s a long-lasting emotion. It stings long after the moment is over.
- Choose a character. Decide they are sad, but nothing has ‘happened’ to cause it. Write this scene WITHOUT reverting to tears. Give your reader a fresh image of how this can look.
- Now, take the same character and write a scene using tears. What does that look like? Feel like? Sound like?
- When sadness strikes for no reason, it can be very difficult to explain as you are learning. Sadness can suck the oxygen right out of a room. Others can feel the weight of your character’s sadness but if they can’t give a true reason for their feelings, others can become uncaring, even bored. The challenge for you is to explain sadness in a way people can understand. Even if there is no reason.
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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