Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Drama influenced my writing career

So we were talking about many things...
  • Woody Harrelson reportedly called Bill Murray's "800" number to ask if he'd be in Kingpin. Murray called back and asked Harrelson to fax pages to some random Kinko's in Manhattan.
  • Upon hearing "Just Dance" for the first time, JRM: Laura Branigan called. She wants her voice back. LTM: No, she's gonna hit. She's pulling in everybody.
  • What do YA boys read? Who are the authors targeting HS males?
And then we got on the subject of Improv. Tart says Jason didn't mean you had to be good at Improv to be a good writer. She said it was simply a writing exercise.

Weight lifting for writers.

I read and write these days with two little ones hanging off me, so it's possible I took Jason's post the wrong way. Sorry, Jason.

I'm relieved you don't have to be good at Improv to be a good writer, and it seems I'm not alone in that. But while most commenters claim to be awful at acting, I think writers use The Method all the time.

When I was growing up, I spent three weeks of (almost) every summer at Kueta-T Camp for Girls in the woods of Norwood, La. I also spent about a week on my birthday with my grandparents in the woods of Liberty, Miss.

I loved camp (see"Harmony," March), but I remember feeling like I was literally dying on my grandparent visits. (Drama?)

Not because I didn't love my g'rents--I did very much! I just felt like in those woods time stood still. It was so quiet. There was a distinct smell, and they got one TV station. And I think it was CBS.

A few weekends ago we were at my grandparents' old place. My parents live there now and have completely refurbished the house. I went and stood out on the porch and looked out into the dark woods.

It still smelled like earth and moldering leaves. And it was slightly cool. The woods were hilly, and I thought about the natural springs scattered all throughout them. I thought about sneaking off as a child and running around, imagining I was on an adventure. Sometimes my feet would slide out from under me and I'd sit down on the side of a hill. Wet butt.

It was so quiet. There might've been a bird chirping. I took a deep breath and felt... calm. Peaceful? Nostalgic definitely. I said the following words: I miss this.

I sit here and think about that feeling, and it puts me in a very distinct mood for a story--both reactions.

On the other hand, I can tell I'm writing a really good scene if I'm feeling what the character is feeling, whether it's fear, joy, frustration, love...

A few times readers have stopped me about a feature in the paper and said, "I cried when I read that." I'll tell them I believe it--I cried when I wrote it.

Now, isn't that using The Method? I can act!


Hey, it's not too late to jump over to Holly's blog and submit one page of anything (query, synopsis, first page of finished MS, WiP) for peer review next week.

The more people who participate, the more we all benefit. She'll post one per day for feedback. See the logo, top right, or click here: Community Critique Party.

Have a great weekend, reader-friends~


Ex-pat Odessa said...

I know what you mean about Liberty, both then and now. Whenever dad would bring us up, I would spend the whole time wandering all over those 165 acres, I found all kind of cool places. Kinda miss those woods now.

As for Lady G=couture madonna, i think you are spot on!

Natasha said...

I think I know exactly what you mean. I suck at descriptions, and most of what I write is dialogue. And the reason I do is because it is so easy to let the characters take over the whole business of spinning the story.

It does put me in strange situations, though-

You will definitely empathise.

Candyland said...

You're funny. WTH is going on with Bill Murray and that stupid 800 #?!!! So crazy.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

The grandparents house in the middle of nowhere and the teenage girl forced to spend a summer there sounds like a great setting for a story!

LTM said...

@Odie: looking back, it was a great experience~

@Rayna: I started heavy on the dialogue and then I moved to description. Trying to find the happy medium... P.S. I left a comment on that post--LOL!

@C'land: I KNOW! It's insane. I want an 800 number now... ;p

@KG: You + me. (I agree! :o)

Unknown said...

If you care, the reader will care, bottom line. And if a scene leaves you flat while you're writing it, it's probably going to be no different for readers. One of the biggest joys of fiction is getting to share all that emotion with our readers. We're really a pretty emo crowd. ;)

LTM said...

@KM: emo--LOL! but I guess it's true~ :o)

Cruella Collett said...

I loved this post :) Your blog style is very literary (without being actual fiction), and I like that. Makes it easy on my eyes, since they are tricked into thinking I am reading a novel. So I definitely agree - you can act. I think it's great that you've found your method :)

LTM said...

Hey, CC! Thanks, :o)

Portia said...

I agree, it feels like you have a story here! And I think you hit the nail on the head--if you feel it when you write it, they'll feel it when they read it.

Happy weekend!


LTM said...

Aah! WiP #3??? j/k. The setting of WiP2 is actually So. Miss., so I'll most likely include some setting from memories like these. lovin the ghost stories~ :o)

Ex-pat Odessa said...

speaking of Ghost Stories, you should see if your mom knows any of the stories of some of our family that lived way back in the day.
Bobie used to tell me a story of one of her aunts, or cousins, or something like that who smoked a corn cob pipe, and walked barefoot in the woods. Then there was something about a panther or bob-cat that would walk with her.
There's all kind of family stories that you could easily use or weave into your own stories.