Today my family spent the day in the mountains. We went to the river where my husband and oldest son went kayaking while I was on shore being a nervous mother. All the while thinking back to a video my husband showed me when we were first together.
It's of him when he was first learning to kayak. He had just come out of his boat and was trying to get away from a rapid, but the current kept sucking him back. His dad sat there calmly and filmed him while in the background you could hear his mom screaming (not too coherently - but I'm sure she was screaming her concern). Her family always made fun of her for it, but today I got a taste of what it would have been like. My son flipped on his first rapid and my heart turned to stone in my chest. Luckily he got out okay and back in his boat, so I didn't need to scream.
When I was a young adult, I used to think that I would never be a good writer because I had never really experienced anything tragic. I was an english major what can I say.
I think when we're writing we don't necessarily have to experience what our characters do, in fact I hope we don't. I'm pretty sure that I'll never have to rescue someone from a dragon, but I have experienced feelings of fear, inadequacy and trying to live up to your families expectations.
So even though we might put our characters in all kinds of horrible and sticky situations that we'll never experience, we can definitely draw on our own emotions when we're writing the scenes in our books.
How about you? Have you ever used a specific emotion when writing a scene?
PS: To finish the story, my husband got sucked into the rapid and popped up down stream. The picture is of the actual rapid called the Double Ledge.