Acting Out Your Stories

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
Making the physical side of stories realistic is essential. If you’ve had experience of what you’re describing, it will show in your writing. The opposite is true, as I’ve read too many crime stories where it was obvious the author had never fired a gun or been in a fistfight or been stabbed. I know these things first-hand, not that I thought, at the time, this will help me write a story one day!

Writing dialogue is helped if you’ve got someone to bounce ideas off. If you’re alone, talking to yourself is the only option. It’s fiendishly difficult to describe conversation, as a lot of things happen apart from the words that are spoken.


Jerome Stern

Hearing voices in your head doesn’t mean you’re schizophrenic! o_O

I act out physical confrontations, deciding on things like how many paces my detective protagonist takes, how much room is there to use his extendable baton or throw a punch and what furniture is obstructing the arrest.

At the end of the last book, my Cornish Detective was stabbed from behind with a sword. He beat his assailant to death. Lucky to survive massive blood loss, he’s recuperating, but has post-traumatic stress disorder, making him distant, argumentative and aggressive. In the new story, he’ll confront a Russian female mercenary who’s been killing for twenty years and has recently been murdering big game hunters for money. She’s armed with a two-foot-long machete. How will my protagonist react to the sight of a naked blade?

I acted it out in the kitchen, which led to me punching and kicking cabinet doors and hurling a kettle (empty) onto the sofa in the living room. I’m drawing on having once witnessed a fight between two bikers, in which the little guy threw a metal vice at his taller and heavier opponent, breaking one of his legs.

Having broken my toe acting out a scene in my dreams, I hope I’ll get the violence out of my system while awake!

Do any of you rehearse what you’re going to write.

I see that you’ve reinjured your foot @Barbara...was that writing-related?

I see that you’ve reinjured your foot @Barbara...was that writing-related
Yes, it happened during a writing session. But no enacting … I was sitting, typing, when suddenly I had a twinge in my foot. No reason for it. Next thing, the foot was swollen. Next day, it was bruised as well as swollen. It followed an injury I suffered the week before, watching telly, when I got a cramp in the foot which was so bad my entire foot went bruided black. Sigh.
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