Writing with spontaneity is as equally important as acting without inhibition. Creating without constraint is a salient, essential ingredient for the writer. The inner critic depletes a writer’s imagination. When a voice inside a writer’s head says: my words are not good enough, strong enough, original enough, that censor will deplete and eventually kill the writer’s creativity.
Spontaneity, the word itself elicits a feeling of movement, light, and action. If a writer approaches a manuscript, especially when working on a first draft, with a sense of play she will discover an abundance of possibilities.
Fine, dedicated writers and actors will endlessly revise a sentence on a page or a moment in a script to achieve, not perfection, but an articulate, deeper, more resonant truth for themselves and their audience. This desire, the tireless effort springs from passion, the love for the art form. Passion is the driving force. The intense love of acting and writing is what lifts artists up when they metaphorically fall down. The writer’s love of words, of creating a unique, original universe propels her to strive again and again so that her work reaches the highest possible level.
As I sit in my chair writing a scene, I listen for the character’s voice, the varied inflections, the lazy tongue or firm lips that shape the words coming out of her or his mouth. Because of my career in the theatre and the many years of not only interpreting a role, but also creating original characters, I attempt to become my fictional characters as I write. I engage in the actor’s perspective and utilize my acting tools. I am transported into the outwardly physical and the internal life of my characters.
A writer doesn’t need to study theatre to grasp the many techniques of an actor. But to occasionally view fictional characters from an actor’s perspective is a refreshing and active approach to a craft that requires us to sit, often for hours at a time, in a chair. For me, Laurence Olivier sums up the perspective of a dedicated artist:
If I wasn't an actor, I think I'd have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life- it's an exhalation of life and I think you probably need a little touch of madness.
While there are many arenas to find inspiration, theatre has been and continues to be my primary muse. An actor’s approach is not only applicable for the stage; looking through an actor’s lens can push a writer into the exact territory she needs to create the very best and most resonant fiction.
How does your passion for writing manifest?