What Acting Taught Me About Writing

Last Friday and Saturday, I was in a play.  I've been in a few plays over the years and I've grown to really love it.  When I'm on stage, I get this feeling inside of me because in that moment, I'm a storyteller.  That got me thinking, because I'm also a writer.  Here's how my drama experience has helped my writing.

1. Getting into character is like writing in deep POV.

When acting, directors tell you to "get into character."  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, getting into character is a method of acting where you mentally put yourself in the character's shoes.  You actually become the character.  It's similar to writing a book in first person.  You move your body in the way the character would move, you talk like they would talk, and you feel the emotions they would feel.  This all translates into believable acting.  The audience no longer sees you as actor so-and-so; they see you as The Character.

This should translate into writing.  Authors should write in their character's POV so that the reader only "sees" and feels what the POV character feels.  Everything should go through that character's filter.

2. Putting on a play takes practice, just like writing.

Putting on a play takes work.  For the play I was in last weekend, we practiced for about three months.  Some of those practices were four hours long.  We spent hours and hours perfecting movement on the stage, gestures, acting, costumes, lines, and the set.

Writing takes practice too.  This is called editing.  (This is where the tears come in.)  Authors perfect the "acting" (POV), description, wording, and really everything here.  And this is SO necessary.

3. Putting on a play requires many, many people.  Writing does too.

Think of all the people you need to successfully put on a play: director(s), actors, playwright, stage manager, stagehand(s), and tech people (for lights and sound).

You may think that writing a book only takes a single author, but you're wrong.  (Yes, there are exceptions, but the norm is that without other people in the process, the end result isn't great.). An author needs an army of people behind her to support her, help her develop her story, edit her work, and ultimately publish her work.

I know I never could have gotten my agent if I hadn't had people supporting and guiding me.

Have you ever been in a play?  What did it teach you about writing?


  1. YESSS!!! Acting is so much fun, and it contains so many great lessons for writers. I was in a play a couple of years ago that ran for a month (weekend showings). That was so exhausting, but really fulfilling, too. Then I took an acting class last semester that gave me some great tips on character development. I wish the timing would work out better for me to do another play! :/

  2. I tried to be an actor before I became an author (and I'd still love to get back into it). Never thought of its connection to Deep POV, but now that you mention it...

  3. I've never been in a play before. I've never really had the oppurtunity, but I also chicken out at the thought of seeking the oppurtunity. Maybe someday.

  4. I've written/directed/made a minor appearance in/casted/managed/produced several very small scale plays, and those have been incredible (my favorite being Peter Pan, and I am about to work on a script for Robin Hood). Obviously writing the scripts means well, that i was writing so I've learned from that, and it's an amazing experience!

  5. Wow, this is late, but when you said storyteller on stage, I thought that was cool because acting is one of the ways that I love telling stories, and would one day hope to be a part of. I actually act out my characters frequently, trying to understand what they're doing and their emotions.


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