A while back, I wrote something in one of my blogs about how writers are a lot like actors. I had just listened to an interview with a voice actor who said something about one of the great challenges of his job is to deliver interrupted lines like the rest of that sentence actually existed.
I sat there and thought about that for a bit. I used to do all manner of performing arts, including drama and ballet. I think it’s not just a need to understand that the line you only have a portion of at one point in time also had a rest of itself, but also understanding the comings and goings of your character. The character came from somewhere into the scene we see on the stage. The character is going somewhere when they leave the stage. The stage is just as focal point.
It’s much the same way with a well-written story. The writer has to know and understand what isn’t seen “on stage” and tell the story with this certainty that something does happen to the character before they appear or after they disappear. This is what leads to beloved characters, favorite worlds, and adoring fans. It creates a believable world.
I thought myself pretty happy with that comparison until a writer friend last week listed things her dance teacher used to say that she felt apply to dancing. While writing and the performing arts share a great deal in common “on stage”, they share things off stage in common, too.
It was simple things like, “Practice”, “If you can see the audience, they can see you”, etc. Writing, like the performing arts, has this technical side that must be worked on and honed to a fine craft. I knew this already, but for some reason reading this list just made it stand out for me.
I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to make this work for me, but something tells me it’ll stay with me for a long while.
Originally posted to 100 Bloggers