Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Method Writing

Are you familiar with method acting? Ever applied this vein of thought to your character development while writing?


It's the use of sensory techniques to get into character. Things like drawing on personal emotions and memories, and what's called affective memory. Emotional recall and sense memory use the act of recalling physical sensations surrounding events to apply it to your character's reaction and make your scene real and character believable.

I don't know about you, but since I began actively learning craft, I also began taking mental note of body reactions and facial expressions during certain high intensity moments so that I can use them later while writing. As for the sense memory, friends and family have probably wondered why I stare at them as though I'm studying their every move while in the middle of an emotional conversation. I want to remember how someone looked, sounded, felt, etc. when tension is high.

All for the writer's toolbox.


There's another method I use to stay in character while writing, and this I use mainly when writing first person. I have to be that character while narrating. Think like them, act like them, breathe like them. It's no secret around my house that my lingo changes depending on the story I'm telling. So does what I listen to, what I watch, etc.

Much like method acting, I import the character into my very being so that I can stay in that character's frame of mind while telling the story. If I don't believe I'm the character while writing, then why would my readers believe the narrator is the character and not the author?

Think about it.

How about you? Do you believe in method writing? Do you have any tricks of the trade to stay in character or help develop them in order to tell their story? How do you think writing in third person is different?  

6 comments:

  1. I often make faces or mimic certain movements when sitting at my desk writing if I'm having trouble writing it. That's about as far as I go, however; I haven't changed lingo, music or anything like that in an effort to get into someone's head--they're in mine, and that's mostly been good enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do the faces too, Jeff. Sometimes I stand up and mimic moves to get a feel for the right description. I guess every writer's different in what it takes to get into character. I've heard of actors like Daniel Day Lewis staying in character for months.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. I will stand up and move through an action if I can't picture all the steps. But my worse manifestation is talking like my characters--especially when I was writing a 19th century historical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do that too Angelica. For my time travel series I had to stay in that sassy teen phase for weeks. Fun, but great to get back to adult mentality lol

      Delete
  3. Method writing can be pretty intense, especially in first person. I've actually written a scene in first person and started crying while typing about the tears steaming down a character's face because I was so in character.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I cry too sometimes! I listen to music for those intense scenes and often cry my way thru it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

Add your awesome here: