Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting in the Writing Mood

One of the things I love most about my writing career is getting to dream up different worlds. But that’s also one of the hardest parts. To create a story that is deeply evocative of a certain time or place, and to pull readers into a new world, requires (at least for me) constant concentration. In order to create a certain mood, I also have to live in that mood. 

Sometimes I feel like one of those method actors, like Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis, who immerse themselves so much in a role that it bleeds into their real life. (OK, maybe not that extreme. I don't plan on sleeping with a knife under my pillow any time soon.) 

 One way I do try to surround myself in the world of the book I'm writing is through inspiring images. For early drafts, I use a writing software program called Scrivener. One of the best features is that it lets you write full-screen with any background of your choosing, like this:

 You can change your background depending on the particular mood or setting of the scene you’re working on:

 I also find music very inspiring, though if I listen to music while I write I tend to get too distracted. Instead, I’ll find a song that fits the right mood for the scene I’m working on, listen to it a few times, then turn it off and write. Scenes from movies work well, too. Whenever I have to write a fight scene with lots of people, I watch this awesome scene from the Matrix II to get in the right mind-set:

Thanks, Neo!

Megan Shepherd is a young adult writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her debut book, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, will be published in January 2013 by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins as the first in a three-book Gothic thriller series. She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary. Visit Megan at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Megan!! I've never written to much more than music, or an old movie. That Scrivener idea is definitely interesting!

  2. Whoa. You had me at the bare-chested Christian Bale!

  3. We sound a lot alike in our writing methods and inspiration, Megan! ;-) Alas, I do not have Scrivener because I don't have a MAC, but dang it is tempting!

  4. So, that's what Scrivener entails. I've been wondering what all the fuss was about. I can definitely see how that would help set the mood. Thanks for sharing, Megan!

  5. Thanks for the comments, everyone! Maybe I'll start including a shirtless man in all my blog posts. There's worse things a person could be known for :)

    Scrivener does have some really cool features, if you haven't tried it out yet. They have a free 30 day trial.

  6. Is that C Bale pic from that Reign of Fire dragon movie? If so, then....awesome.

  7. I had no idea Scrivener let you do that. This makes me much more curious and wanting to try...