So a couple of weeks ago, I was waiting for a ride at the mechanic. Can’t remember how it started, but I got inspiration to start a Christmas play. For someone who’s never written anything other than short stories and nonfiction projects, it was an entirely new venue.
What Was Tough
- Creating dialogue that didn’t feel stilted but showed what the characters were feeling.... I didn’t realize how often in my short stories I rely on the narrator to explain how the characters are really feeling and what they’re thinking.
- Thinking about what characters need to be doing behind the scenes.... An eye to the logistics can help bring more clarity to how realistic action is.
- Capturing the dramatic element without it feeling cheesy.... Tougher when you can only use blocking and dialogue.
- I got to think on multiple levels: sound, lighting, set design, blocking, etc.
- I got to use media tools—video, audio, projection screens.
- The challenge to think in these new areas makes me approach standard fiction projects from a new outlook with an eye for the visual.
See if there are new genres you can try. It’s fun. And it can help you return to your regular projects with fresh perspective.