You’ve heard of method acting, where actors immerse themselves in a character. Sometimes, method writing can be a great way to enrich the scene I’m writing and have a little fun while I’m at it.
I once wrote a story that took place on a movie set. I interviewed a number of local actors but felt the need for more. So I took a couple of acting classes.
It was fun. And uncomfortable. And enlightening.
I began looking for classes that were outside my comfort zone. I took an all-day rock climbing class (where I pitifully clung to the side of the cliff and waited for my instructor to say I could rappel to the ground). I’ve taken cooking classes, language classes, photography classes (where I still feel a steep learning curve), and the list for the future remains long and exciting.
Writing can’t be done in a vacuum. Doing research online and in books is good. Sometimes it’s the only way we can get the experience we need for our stories. But other times? Go for it. Audition for a play. Jump out of an airplane. Music stores often have people looking to earn a little cash by teaching an instrument. I found the rock climbing school through a camping goods store. And sometimes just putting the word out can bring what you need to your doorstep.
Has it made my writing better? I like to think so. My scenes with the actors were written with more confidence—first, because I’d experienced a tiny bit of what they do and second, because I made friends in the class who were happy to answer my questions. Should I ever include a scene with rock climbing, I’ll remember how my arms felt like cooked spaghetti for days and that long climbing pants are better than capris.
A taste is all I need. Just enough to get the feeling right. The vision right. And then it’s mine to play with.
So take a chance! Sign up for a class, go on a trip, volunteer for a project that will enrich your characters. And yourself.
* Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net