Sunday, November 25, 2012

Theatre for the Novelist

I've read a lot of blogs that help writers write.  Tips, tricks, hints, cheats, basically everything that would or could be thought of as helpful to the aspiring novelist.
What I haven't read, is the thing that I have found the most useful for writing...

In college, I was a Theater and Creative Writing major, and graduated with a dual degree.  I can not explain how helpful both were to one another. (But I will try!)

For my theater degree I had to take Play Analysis, in which we broke down parts of the play and analyzed them, and then for my English classes we took Shakespeare/Eighteenth Century Plays and Restoration Theater and had to analyze that. It was the same.

Analyzing a character on stage was the same an analyzing a character in a book.

I noticed in the short stories I was writing for class, that my characters were becoming stronger when I asked myself the questions that we were asking ourselves when analyzing the characters in the play.

When looking at a play, we would ask ourselves in class and discuss, things like,

Why now?  Why is this story/play starting now?  What makes this moment so special?  We would look at things like are we setting up what is normal, in order to make what is not normal more important, with more emphasis on it?

What is this character's motivation? What do they want? Everyone wants something, even if it changes throughout the course of the play/book.

What is the point of this character being there at this time?  Even if the character's point is to be a confident of the hero/heroine, then they still need a reason to be there.

What is the rising and falling action of the play/book?  Is there a denouement at the end?

When writing I ask myself the same things, and I find that my writing is better.

So, if you get a chance take in a play, go see a reader's theater, or better yet, take a class at a local theater.  Any of the theater classes, play-writing, acting, improvisation (this is for a later blog post), reader's theater, play analysis, etc would be a great way to supplement your writing, and any other of the wonderful classes that writers offer online.

Coming Soon --  Improvisation for the Novelist

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