Want to be a Better Writer? Take An Acting Class

Star Wars Improvisational Street Theatre II

Star Wars Improvisational Street Theatre II (Photo credit: Thirteenth Nile)

I’ve shared posts that I get via Twitter from Jon Winokur before, but this is one author interview that caught my eye because of his advice to others: “Take an Improv acting class.” New author Tim Federle offers up acting classes as a way to learn to go with the flow and bash that inner-editor screaming at you on every paragraph.

I admit that I have taken an intro acting class — and it was a blast!

In college, since I was studying to be an English/Communications teacher, it was required that I take a beginning acting course. Since at some wealthy schools, English teachers would also be expected to teach drama and the like, I didn’t whine about it too much. (Definitely not as much as I did about my B- in a gym class, but that’s another story)

Anyway, this class turned out to be one of my favorite classes of all time. There were 18 students (an absurdly small number for a school like Penn State, where you could be in a class of hundreds). Our instructor, who was a grad student studying acting himself, was fantastic and encouraging and determined to break every single one of us out of our often thick shells.

We learned about all types of acting, including a lot of improv (short for improvisation, for those who don’t know) because he enjoyed doing it and acting with us too (he’s actually semi-famous now – he graduated and does shows all over the country). The idea is that you have to go with whatever the person you’re playing off of does – in other words, the only thing you cannot do is say “No.”

It really was a fabulous experience and I would love to continue to be a part of improv acting. I was a terrible actress (way too shy and reserved) but the idea of letting a story play out is so valuable to writing, that even observing others in the class would be helpful.

Anyway, the point of this post is that if you have the chance, DEFINITELY TAKE AN ACTING CLASS! It’s fun, and it’ll help your writing, as Mr. Federle points out!

The rest of the interview with author Tim Federle (whose first book was just released on February 5th!) is here: http://www.advicetowriters.com/interviews/2013/2/12/tim-federle.html. Turns out he’s really into theater himself, hence the advice!



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