Restless Life Syndrome
We as writers live with restlessness. The proof? It’s the times we stare off into space and create our own world. We have full conversations with fictional characters and go on quests for magical treasures to win the heart of our true love. As a teenager, it could be as simple as imagining what it would be like to be at the big party you weren’t invited to. Kissing the quarterback or smacking the head cheerleader that talked smack about you. Yupper, I’ve had a few of those dreams. LOL
We learned to create mental escapes. I have traveled the world…in my mind. I have visited way off places and had adventures that could rival the richest of people. I have walked on the moon and waved at Marvin the Martian as he flew by to invade Earth, again. When my feet can’t take me there my mind can. I have a restless spirit.
Right now, I am restless to get this dried up cuppa filled with caffeinated goodness. This is the time my mind can’t get me what I want so I must use my feet. Come on friends. Let’s fill our sad and thirsty cuppas and root around for nibbles. There’s watermelon in the fridge. It’s in the bowl with a blue lid. I also have sweet snap peas. OMG – they are so good. You don’t even need dip with them. Grab what you want. Don’t forget your copy of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood. We will meet you out on the reading rug. Turn to page 127 and settle in. Yo! Settle in! Calm your restlessness for a few minutes. Cool.
When you hear the term restless you instantly picture that person drumming their fingers or bouncing their legs like they are preparing to run a marathon. It emotes a feeling of unease. Picture a seating area across from a receptionist. Your character is preparing for a job interview. There are five other people clustered in the area competing for the job your character really wants. What do they see? Who is far too calm and makes your character doubt their qualifications? Who is bouncing their leg and sweating profusely? Who is gnawing their nails to the quick? These are signs of restlessness, anxiety, and doubt.
Your character can be one of those displaying doubt. Remember that restlessness does not mean they aren’t qualified. They are simply nervous. Seriously, I’ve been in full on panic mode while waiting for an interview. Who hasn’t? Don’t answer that. Anyway – restlessness doesn’t mean the character is incapable. It gives them more realness. It is something the reader can relate to.
In some cases, this can be a lifelong path. Some are always and forever wanting to see what could be. Not everyone wants a sedentary life. I wish I could travel the world (for real). But that requires cash and I ain’t got enough of that. Come on, you guys are eating me out of house and home. Your nibble addiction is real and costly. This could be fixed if you bought one of my books. Help a girl out here.
Okay, how to write restlessness – er– how NOT to write it…
- She got up and sat down and got up again and paced. She chomped on her fingers waiting for the doctor to call her back.
This is a no, nope, lawd no.
You know you can and will do better.
Good examples are when you slowly show anxiety. It builds. It doesn’t just jump in your face and scream at the reader. Drum the fingers, twist the hands in their lap, a gentle bounce to their leg, even some pacing from the sofa to the window where they linger for a few moments before returning to their seat. Let the pressure build before the leg bounce gets worse.
Think about it like swimming. When you are learning it is a slow, gentle process at the shallow end of the pool. You aren’t just tossed into the deep end and told to sink or swim. Well, I was but that is a whole other story. The write right way is to build the tension. To do that…take your time.
- Make a list of physical descriptions of restlessness. Now, find a few fresh ways to describe it.
- Look at the list you created. Which one best describes a teenager who wants to leave home? Which fits and adult that is unhappy in their relationship? Write a sentence for both scenarios using the word you chose.
- Pick one of your sentences and turn it into a one-page scene.
Hate homework? Well next time you can get revenge as we read and learn to write it.
Revenge, page 131
Until then…BUY ONE or ALL 3 of MY BOOKS!
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.
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