So… method writing.

 

A friend forwarded me a link to the BBC article: “Could ‘method writing’ be the future for novelists?” The article reports of the author Hodgkinson who launched his Method Writers project, for which he invites other authors to try techniques similar to method acting to find out if that works for their writing too.

Similar to Lee Strasberg’s method acting, in method writing the author would immerse himself in his character’s life by using his own memories of emotions and sensations to identify with his characters.

Is that a novelty?

From Strasberg’s website: “Strasberg meant that what is called “Method Acting” is nothing new, but rather as old as Western Civilization itself. For centuries, cultures used different words and phrases to describe “good” acting: Romantic Acting, Emotional Acting, Divine Inspiration, The Muses, Feeling the Role. These terms merely described an organic process of creativity that talented actors used, often times unconsciously, to accomplish what audiences experienced as a moving performance. This was the (re)experiencing of life by the actor within the fiction of the story as if it were true and happening now.”

 

Ha! Him again. The muse. Sticking his head up and stimulating me to push the envelop.

 

Oh, shush, muse. Don’t distract me when I’m thinking. We have a question that needs an answer.

No, I don’t think it’s a novel thing. Writers have done it for centuries. I have done it forever, siphoning off my memories to bring my characters to life or plunging myself into similar situations I plunge my protagonist in. Like with this novel I’m working on, which leans heavily on past and rather dark experiences but also on creating the lonely world of my protagonist around me.

 

Does it show in my work?

According to readers and critics it does. Without exception reviewers say that the reader walks with my (Dutch) novels’ heroes, that the reader is living the story. I believe that’s because most of the emotions and sensations of my protagonists are firsthand experiences.

In my bio I’ve written that this in fact is my trade secret, experiencing what my characters experience: “if the protagonist crashes down a waterfall in his kayak, you know I crashed down a waterfall too. If my hero roams icy cold mountains or scorching deserts, I wandered the same icy cold mountains and scorching deserts.”

 

Review Boreas and the Seven Seas (Boreas en de zeven zeeën): “Great about this book is the adventurous voice. The lapping of waves, the nightly tingling of boats in a port, the panic at sea when the wind hurls the boat to a broach. It’s like you are there and feel the wind pull your hair.”
Annemarie Terhell – Kidsweek, 4 out of 5 stars

 

And so, standing at the rim of Haleakalā crater with the sun blazing down on me and clouds creeping up from below, sparked a spooky adventure for the third book in the Boreas series. You see the trail down there? That’s where I’m heading, that’s where Boreas is heading…

 

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Haleakalā Crater – Maui