Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Is there such a thing as method writing?

With method acting, actors try and create the same emotions in themselves as their characters feel. I try to do the same with my writing.

For instance
- if I have a character who is trapped and starving, I try to pretend I feel the same way. I will write that part whilst I'm hungry even if it means not eating anything for the rest of the day.

- if my character is thirsty, even if I  need a drink I won't take one.

- if they're scared I will try to go back to a time in my life when I was also scared. I will go to that place in my head and try and recreate it. How did I feel, what was the helplessness like, what range of emotions did I go through, did the fear have a smell, a taste? How did my mind and my body react to it?

- if they're cold, then I will be cold. We're in this together - me and the character I've created, so why should I sit in comfort whilst they suffer? 


  1. When I was writing a scene where my MC realised who the killer was and that her life was now in danger I started to well up - I've been told that that is a good thing as it meant that I was connecting with my character.

  2. As much as I'd like to make fun of your method writing, I have to confess that when writing a short story that took place under a sweltering Texas sun, I left the air conditioner off in 90 degree heat. I'm not sure if it helped capture the atmosphere but I got that one done pretty quickly.

    Dare I ask what you put yourself through to write the one-legged waitress?

  3. Chippy, that's happened to me a few times. I think it does mean that you've gone from creating a character to someone almost real.

    Copper, you are a dedicated man doing that. For my one-legged waitress, I had to wing it. No way could I go that far!

  4. I try to think as the character would think before I start writing. I don't try to recreate physical sensations though. If I wrote whilst hungry, I'd write about how it felt for me to be hungry, not how it felt for the character.

    That's not to say I think you're method is wrong, just that I don't think it would work for me.


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