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:
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.