Tag Archives: Heath Ledger

Writing Tips: Method Acting

9 Aug

Method acting–if you’re familiar with it, you probably start thinking of Heath Ledger, Robert De Niro, or Daniel Day-Lewis. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s defined as an acting method in which actors and actresses never break character while shooting a film. Another aspect some consider “Method Acting” is when actors go to extremes, like Christian Bale’s loss of 63 lbs for his character in The Machinist.

But did you ever think about doing something like this for your novels?

I am here to admit that I have, and I am here to admit it with an insane amount of embarrassing (but fun) detail! Let me explain: I love writing. I do. But I sometimes get headaches from how long I end up staring at my computer screen. When this happens, I do something…different. I get out of my chair and pretend I am a character. I will talk like that character and jump around to become other characters. If someone walked in on me doing this, I’d probably look like a toddler who ate too much candy while trying to explain a bizarre dream I’d had earlier that morning. But it works for me, and it’s not the only thing I do. I’ve gone to cafes specifically because my character would. I also practice dialogue in my car. So I’m sure someone out there has seen me screaming at myself. (What can I say? Some scenes get intense.)

So why do I do this? 

Although we are “in character” when we are writing, we are generally sitting at a desk, hunched over a notebook or keyboard. We are writing about living (actions and words) but we may not practice them out loud and see what it’d actually look and feel like. For instance, I will actually lay physical objects down when writing out any kind of scene to see if the movements my characters make don’t conflict with how they are speaking. I wouldn’t want one character to move across the entire room and whisper. So I like knowing it would work out in the physical world. Same with dialogue. It may read really well, but I’ve spoken it out loud just to realize it sounds ridiculous. And, if I can’t scream it when I’m in their mind, my character isn’t going to scream it. Lesson learned. They are in control–even if I am the one creating them.

Basically:

Acting can help writing, even if you’re not an actor. Honestly, I took an acting class in high school, and I was probably the worst in the class. I can’t act. But I can get into character in my own way–and connect with my writing in a physical way that may help me take it to the next level. I’m not suggesting losing 63 lbs like Christian Bale. (In fact, please don’t.) But I would suggest trying to get up from the desk and take on your novel in real life. It might give you a new perspective.

And this is me--"acting" at 3 years old in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Yeah for the 90's.

And this is me–“acting” at 3 years old in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Yeah for the 90’s.

One last thing:

Minutes Before Sunset has been added to Goodreads: Best of Little-Known Authors, and I’d really appreciate some supportive votes to move upwards in the list. Even better, you can add your novels too! If you send me a link, I’ll vote for yours too 😀 You can vote for 100 books.

I also have a lot of exciting news coming soon! Can’t wait to share. 

~SAT

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