Mary Lindsey is here today with a post on her writing method courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her soon to be released, Shattered Souls. Thank you for being here today, Mary! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!
Method Acting Applied to Characterization in Fiction
I’ve been asked if I use a particular method to write. Coming from a theatre background, “method” means something different to me.
I was trained in the Stanislavsky Method of acting, and I’ve discovered that some of the principles of the system apply to developing richer characters in novels.
Method acting derived from the system created by the Russian actor, Constantine Stanislavski in the late 1800’s. “Method” acting was popularized in the U.S. in the 1930’s and advanced by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio from the 1940’s until his death in 1982.
In Stanislavski’s system, actors deeply analyze motivations and emotions of their character in order to personify them with psychological realism and emotional authenticity.
The character has to come from somewhere or something within the actor—or in this case, the author—in order to be believable.
I won’t bore you with an essay on Method Acting, but I’ll give you an example of how it changed a scene once I got into my own head and memories before going into my main character’s.
In the opening of the book, Lenzi, the protagonist is approached by the spirit of a dead child in the school bathroom. After escaping the locked stall and finding the main bathroom door locked, Lenzi does something entirely different than she did originally: she slides down the door, curls in a ball, and rocks.
When I first wrote it, I had her bang, scream and fight her way through her fear. But after I put the scene through a couple of acting exercises (internal mental and emotional ones—I didn’t scream and bang on my door), I realized her reaction was more intense and believable if she withdrew for a moment. I based this on an experience I had in Kindergarten when I got locked in a school locker for many hours.
So, although each book dictates a different approach and organization, my consistent tool when writing is the emotional and sense memory recall exercises I used on stage. It adds a richness to the characters that makes them more believable to me as well as the readers.
Thank you so much, Corrine, for having me on you blog today!
Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your writing method, Mary! Also, thank you so much for being here today!
Mary Lindsey can be found on her website.
A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger.
Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.
Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.