Improv in Writing and other hilarity.
So this past Tuesday, I sat in a Free Zoom Workshop given by the Manuscript Academy through #MSWL (phew).
It was great fun, a little intimidating but it got my heart pumping!
And the funny thing is…it was all about comedy or comedic timing but it was all about the three ways that you can use Improv to improve your writing:
Think on your feet (and don’t over-think).
This is IMPORTANT, especially if your goal is to get words on the page! The hilarious part of this is that I am usually good at coming up with clever ideas on the spot on stage, but I usually reserved my writing to take my time generating ideas where I would sit on them for a long time. But you don’t have to do that to be a good writer (apparently). Other people in the class were banging out ideas (wild ones off the top of their head) but that’s what’s great about improv, it lets you live in that crazy spot in your brain you might be afraid to live in when you are writing. In improv (and your writing) the sky is the limit.
Start in the middle of the action.
Chip gave a great example of this in his class. He said if someone came out on stage and gave you their whole backstory before they started the scene you would check out and lose interest, right? So it’s best to start out a scene when something is happening! This is advice you will get everywhere from editors, agents, and publishers too, so it’s best to listen. If you can use Improv as your framework for doing this, all the better. Even if you feel backstory is important to the scene use Improv to get the audience interested in it. Say something like: “Hey remember that time we were in this park and I tried to kill you?” That’s all the backstory you need.
Less is more.
It truly is. You don’t have the time in Improv to get bogged down by detailed description and in your writing you can always come back to it and fill that stuff in later. When you are writing and want to get words on the page, say what is necessary. Use your immediate senses. Put the reader in your head. Get your character talking and moving. That’s all you need to get things going.
I need to spend less time thinking about my writing and just get in the middle of it.
I can go to any limit I want to with any character, idea, plot or setting. It’s my story, so why not?
I can get more words on the page by getting my characters to do something rather than building up the world around them.
I highly recommend checking out more of #MSWL’s events free or paid (they are affordable) I will do my best to make you aware of the free ones when they come into my inbox!
As a fun little extra I thought I might make you guys aware of a charity event that Mr. Show (an awesome collection of comedic and Improv actors you might recognize) did. The ticket is only $10 and goes towards LIFT. The money goes towards lower income families who need help during COVID.
The event is not live but the video is funny and they do some Improv in it which is a great example of what I was talking about in this post! Enjoy 😉