Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Enhance Your Writing Through Acting

I don’t sit still much. I never have. My “antsy-ness” resembles that of my late grandmother. She was the ultimate multi-tasker and always had her hand in something whether gardening, sewing, reading, cooking or traveling and taking photographs. She had many hobbies and so do I.

I crave new experiences. My adventurous spirit must be fed…and I believe it helps my writing.

Our cast
 I mean it’s one thing writing about something you’ve never experienced--and it can be done well--but when writing from experience I find the vividness of detail just falls onto the page. I don’t make up that floating in the Dead Sea makes you feel gritty and slimy or jungle termites taste like carrots. I’ve been there, done that.

The hobby that I feel has had a profound effect on my writing is acting.

As I mentioned in Monday’s vlog, I was in a play over the weekend. I’ve been in many over the years, but this production was my first role in a drama. I’ve always done comedy, so it was quite a stretch to be serious and show a range of emotion. It was a nice challenge and I enjoyed the experience, especially since I had the lead role. 

A drama performance
While editing my current manuscript, I realized how this hobby came into play. Each section of dialogue and line of detail were put under a microscope to see if the text was realistic. I read it aloud and imagined my book as a play being performed. I thought about the sequence of hand gestures, gasps, and movement. I asked myself: Would someone really react in this way? Would they say this? Or think that?
A comedy performance
I also thought about body language and how as an actress, I must figure out how my character would react to certain situations. Most scripts do offer some guidance as to how a character would act, but overall it’s up to the actor to figure out how they will portray the character.


So I ask: Would my character do this after this line? What can I do to convey this emotion? These types of questions are perfect examples of strengthening my writing through using a hobby.

Try it.

A mystery comedy performance
Borrow my hobby. Think for the stage--like an actor--when you write and edit...and you may come away with a whole new take on your characters.

What are your hobbies? How do you think they may enhance your writing? Are they part of your book's plot or a character's background, etc.?

Here's a glimpse of our set for the murder mystery thriller I performed in over the weekend.


  1. I totally do this too! Acting has helped me feel the characters' emotions.

    And jungle termites? I'm impressed. And possibly a little disgusted. :P Good for you! Unless they tasted like skittles, you probably couldn't convince me to put one anywhere near my lips.

    1. It totally helps! :)

      haha. Regarding the'd just have to have been there, Lindsay. :) If they tasted like confetti cake, I sooo would have gotten you to try them! lol

      Thanks for commenting!

      P.S. I actually posted a video on Monday of an original song and I'm singing it! eek! It's a rough recording and it's just a hobby of mine, but I'd love for you to listen! ttyl

  2. Hi, Morgan. Just wanted to drop by and thank you for checking out my Bookshelf 2012 page. I wrote down the book and author your recommended.

    Love your site!

    1. Hi Johnnie!

      Thanks for checking out my site! :) Susanna Kearsley is one of my new favorite authors. I think you'll really enjoy her books.


  3. Love this tip, Morgan! I'm always trying to make my dialogue as realistic as possible--some days I'm better than others. :) Reading it out loud "in character" is a great idea!

    1. Hi Jill!

      I'm so glad my post helped. :) Also thanks for stopping in and tweeting about it! I appreciate it so much! Have a great day! ttyl


  4. This is a great idea, thank you :)

  5. You're welcome, Lisa! :)

    Thanks for stopping by!