Friday, August 6, 2010

Writers Are Shy Actors

Even though I can't remember who said it or where I heard it, I once read that writers are just shy actors. And that hit me. It's true.

To be a writer of fiction, you have to put yourself in someone else's shoes. You have to get inside their mind and speak for them. You have to form a past and a future and hopes and dreams and become that person in order to make them authentic. And isn't that what actors do?

I'm not saying I could Ellen-Paige it up if I were cast in Juno, but I think both actors and writers have to be able to relate to their character in order to have any talent. You have to be them. Schizophrenic much?

And I think that's why I've always been fascinated by acting. It's a different form of storytelling. I respect anyone who has the ability to tell a story, in any way possible (through art or dance or music or photography, etc.)

You know how the best artists are said to go crazy? I wonder if it's because they put themselves in so many different shoes - flipflops and crocs and black suede boots - that they lose themselves in the mix. Johnny Depp always struck me as kind of insane.

Regardless of the state of our minds, I think every character you write and create leaves a part of themselves in you. It's an amazing thing to be able to see through somebody else's eyes, even if it does make you a little crazy. I wouldn't give it up for anything, even my sanity.

So, when you're writing, try and breathe as your character. Make them come alive and punch you in the face. And make it hurt.