Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Many writers say they see their stories unfold in their head, much like a movie. Is that the case with you? 

I attended a writer’s workshop recently that discussed using theatrical techniques when writing your story. It was presented by an actress and author (Leanna Hieber) and was a fun workshop.  I came away with better visual ideas for my writing.

The author is not only writer, but also:

·       Cinematographer and as such you’re in charge of the setting, picture, mood, and ambiance of each scene in the story.
·       Director whose job it is to set the staging, pacing, and viewpoint
·       Actor. As an actor you have to delve into the character.  What’s the character’s motivation, how should the lines be delivered, how do you use the dialogue to show your character and his/her intent?
·       Marketing Director and as such what’s your movie poster quote? The one line pitch or tag line? You’re a brand so how do you present you and your work?

I’ve gotten stuck now and then, while writing. You know when you know something is wrong but you can’t quite figure out what. It’s frustrating.

I had a light bulb moment as I was listening to the speaker. She said, never forget your characters. They are what drive the book. 

If we’re writing, editing, or have gotten stuck ask yourself as the actor in the scene:

·       What’s my motivation?
·       How am I going to get what I want (intention and tactics)?
·       What’s the conflict? Or what’s keeping me from getting what I want?
·       What’s my environment and how is it affecting me? This is context.

I can use this for character and dialogue but I could also use this when crafting or editing my scene—especially if I’m stuck. It would help me look at each character within the scene to see if they’re reacting true to their GMC. Is the scene being written to the best dramatic advantage?
  • Do you use any of these techniques when you write or edit?

Be sure to stop back by this Friday and visit with my guest, Elizabeth Loupas.

Did you know that sweet chocolate was a deep dark secret for years? Me either. Elizabeth will be talking about Love, Sex, Power and Chocolate.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Hadn't thought of writing in this way. But it's true. Thanks for sharing what you learned.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I always see the story in my head as a movie first. And yes, characters and their motivations come first.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I realize that I fulfill all those roles when writing a book, but your post makes me realize I don't do them all at the same time. It takes successive drafts for me to take on each of those jobs!

dolorah said...

I don't think I've thought of it quite like this. Its a good perspective to look at things. Thanks.

Peaches D. Ledwidge said...

Thanks for sharing that information. I always get a vision of the story with the main character. I build on that later.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia - sounds like a fun workshop and what a great way of looking at writing a novel or story line - we are running the show ... Great thoughts here - cheers Hilary

Margo Kelly said...

Great post! Yes, I do use these techniques to help me write and revise. Very helpful.

LD Masterson said...

I think I do most of my writing with my eyes closed. That's how I watch the story playing in my head.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Natalie--I think we all absorb a lot as writers and not everything that works for one will work for another.

Alex, I'm the same. Movie runs in my head for quite sometime before I transfer it to words.

Deb--it helps when analysing :-)

Dianne--I doubt if many of us who see *movie* running in our heads do it all at the same time. Many times we want to get the story and action down and go back and do various parts of this later. But I do use it when I hit a spot that doesn't seem to be working. I also look at the same scene with a different camera angle or perspective.

Peaches--the vision usually comes first and fine tuning later. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hilary--the workshop was a good one. I liked the actors viewpoint.

Margo--Exactly. At least I'm not the odd duck, lol! BTW, It's great to see you visiting.

LD--I've done that, too!

Melissa Sugar said...

My story plays out in my head like a movie, complete with the actors I cast for my imaginary movie. Yes, when I get stuck I always go back to the motivation, but never considered thinking about it from the actor's perspective. Is that like method acting? Interesting and helpful article. I've never thought about the context of the environment and how it is affecting me. Thanks for sharing that tidbit. I will add it to my writers tool box.

I just popped over to say hi. Margot Kelly honored you on her blog today and she said such nice things I had to visit.