Use Method Writing to Learn About Your Characters

Famous actors such as Robert De Niro and Al Pacino prepare for their roles through a process called method acting, originally taught by the highly respected acting teacher Lee Strasberg. Method acting is a process that requires actors to go inside themselves to recall their feelings and essentially relive memories.

Similarly, good writers must also prepare themselves in advance for developing their fictional characters by going inside themselves. Enter method writing. This process is a great way for you to get deeper into your characters and create ones who are different than you.

To engage in method writing, you need to target a sensory memory from the past in which you felt similar emotions that you want your fictional character to experience. By tapping into your memory with all of your senses, you will retrieve emotions that are always with you, but not available without relaxation and visualization.

Excerpted from Breathing Life Into Your Characters © 2009 by RACHEL BALLON, with permission from Writer’s Digest Books.

This article appeared in the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest. Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.

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