Sunday, December 2, 2012

Improv- Characters through Time!

Improv- Characters through Time!
I thought this exercise in the improv class was amazing! It was a different way to look at a familiar concept.
OK, so we all know that characters in our WIPs (Work-In-Progress) will all react to different scenarios differently.
For instance:

A boy's dog got loose from the house and got run over.

Well, the father may have got the boy the dog, and feels really bad for the boy.

The mom may have secretly disliked having a dog, because she isn't an animal person, and therefore is sad for the boy outwardly, but inwardly glad the dog is gone, so she doesn't have to clean after it.

The boy's friend may be happy because the boy spent too much time with the dog, and less time with the friend.
So, we all react to things differently according to the situation, and what past experiences, and feelings that we bring to the event.
Now, in the improv class, we did an exercise, with the same basic principle, except we were telling the same story at three different times in the character's life.
For instance:

(Girl Age 5) Today, for share and tell. Last week, me, my mommy and my daddy all went to Disney World! It was amazing! I met Cinderella, even though we had to wait in this really long line, and it was hot, but she signed my book. Her dress was so shiny, and soft, and she was so pretty and nice. I gave her a hug and I got my picture taken with her. Mommy said the picture can go right by my bed so I can see it every day!

(Girl Age 30) (On a date) When I was little, my family and I went to Disney World. We had a lot of fun. I think I was just so happy to actually meet Cinderella in person. I still have that picture somewhere. It's a terrible picture. I have this messy mop of hair on my head, and this big toothless grin.

(Girl Age 70) (Talking to a Grand kid) You're going to love Disney World. When I was your age, I got to go and meet Cinderella. She gave me a hug and signed my autograph book. You know what an autograph is right? It's when they sign their name on a piece of paper, and you can remember that forever and ever. You want to see that picture? ( Shows picture) Yes that's me. I think you and I have the same color hair. It changes color when you get to be my age.
So, things that we were told in the improv class were to make sure to mention who we were talking to, instead of just generically talking to a crowd.
Also, something interesting that happened in the three tellings of the same story was that the character went from excitement for herself at age 5, to excitement for her grand kid at age 70.
How this translates into novels/romances--
I read a lot of romance novels, and a lot of them have a big event that has happened in the past to one or both characters. The question then is, how do they react to that event later on in life?
If a man and woman had a bad break up and then they see each other again, what is their reaction to one another?
If we are using the metaphor of a wound. Then how does that wound heal? Does it leave a scar? Did it fester and become infected? Was it covered with a bandage and ignored? What does it take to rip that bandage off?
People react to different situations in life differently.
Remember that the opposite of love isn't hate. Hate still shows that someone feels something toward the other person. The opposite of love is apathy.
Next- Improv- Emotionally Lead Characters! ( and Characters with secrets)

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