Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Writing and Acting

As I've been working on my newest draft of the WIP, I've noticed something.  I draw on my past theater experience a lot.  Like, a lot a lot.


Any time I start a new scene in my head, the setting begins to materialize.  It's like everything is on a stage and the backstage crew pulls it on piece by piece as I decide it's needed.  Once the room is set, my characters waltz in, or stomp or prance, depending on their mood and personality.

Then as they interact and go about the scene, I put myself in their heads -- if I were on stage trying to portray this emotion, what would I do?  How would I move my face, my hands?  Where would I walk?

And that's pretty much how I think through every single scene I write.  (And the rule of the 4th wall is super helpful.)  For the first draft.

So in the first draft, my scenes are nothing but a little setting, thoughts and movements, etc.

My second draft is where it really fills out -- I go back in and take my stage setting and deepen it, defining it further.  Like, what it smells like, if there's a breeze rustling the drying leaves still clinging to branches, that kind of thing.  Just like you would if you were portraying a character on stage.  We used to fill out character worksheets and spend hours mapping out our character's lives and interests.  Not different at all than defining a character for a novel.

What about all of you?  What kind of process do you have for visualizing scenes?  Have you ever taken acting classes?  Has anything in your past contributed to your writing in this kind of manner?

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