Yay! I think this makes for two months in a row… maybe even three? I’m always forgetting to sign up for the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain, but I’m working on it. It really is a fantastic chain- and if you haven’t already checked out their blog, then I highly recommend that you do. They have some really fantastic advice and opportunities for young writers.
The theme for this month’s chain was “What are your thoughts on reading or writing books in non-novel formats? Are there any you’ve particularly enjoyed?”
In the area of writing, I really haven’t had much experience- not nearly as much as I’d like. But I still have had a little!
My love of writing did initially come from playwriting. At holidays, my cousins and brother and I would do plays. I would write the play (and usually direct, being the bossy kid that I
was am) and then we would all act it out in the living room with handmade props. I remember one where we adapted a picture book about a Christmas tree. I took the story and I figured out how to turn a story on the page into something that you could act out. I was really proud of myself. I still am.
I haven’t written many plays since then, honestly. I’ve started a couple, but never really finished any of them. It’s something that I’d like to get back into. Playwriting is a very different medium- you’ve got to keep the focus on the dialogue and actions, and portray your story through that. It’s very good practice if you have a difficult time writing realistic, not-awkward dialogue.
Screenplays are pretty similar to plays, but not quite the same. Plays are usually viewed from a distance (sitting in the audience versus sitting at a TV screen), and because of that it’s harder to catch on to subtleties, like the way this character winces when that character mentions a certain name. They’re less focused on feeling and more on acting. You’re also far more limited in terms of settings. Unless you have a Broadway theater and/or an amazingly ingenious set designer, you’ve got five or six settings, max. So they’re usually a bit less… mobile, I guess, than screenplays. So, I mean, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. But from the viewpoint of a writer, it really helps to differentiate between the two- to learn to differentiate between feeling and acting (very similar to, but not the same as, showing and telling).
Sometimes I’ll write novel scenes as a screenplay when I’m in the process of just getting my thoughts out onto paper. It’s a bit easier to write [SLOANE ENTERS, nervous, a little hesitant] than trying to come up with the exact words to describe exactly how she enters. Not that I’m saying that screenwriting is easier than novel writing, because that is in no way true. They’re different mediums and it’s unfair to compare them as if they were the same. But it’s a different format, and worth a shot if you’re having trouble finding inspiration for a particular scene. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little!
Aside from screenplays and playwriting, I have even less experience outside of novels. I do write a little bit of poetry, though! Mostly free verse. I’ve tried getting into more structured poetry and I just… can’t. I suppose I could if I tried, but I’m not really that into it yet. Anyway, poetry, even free verse, is also very helpful to your writing. It really helps you learn to describe those little moments- the way the sunlight falls on the leaves or how the protagonist feels when their one true love dumps them. The little tiny things that are so tiny and so important. Poetry can be intimidating, but don’t be scared to try! It will really help you grow as a writer- I promise.
I’m also kinda-sorta getting into songwriting, but… it’s a work in progress. The only instrument I play (well) is flute and, in case that isn’t immediately obvious, it’s difficult to play flute while singing/ humming. So actually setting those words to music is pretty difficult. But I’m working on it, and learning a lot about rhythm and such in the process. Which is also helpful for writing- it really helps you ensure that your story flows smoothly and without breaks. I’m not saying that you need to go sing your entire novel, because that will probably not help. It would be totally awesome, but for the average writer, it will not be helpful. Just try writing some poetry and setting it to music (or at least a basic rhythm) and you’ll see what I mean.
But, I mean, if you do set your entire novel to music, kudos to you. You are an amazingly talented person because wow.
Writing in different mediums will help you grow as a writer! It’s not easy, but it will help! So go give it a try now- what are you waiting for?
Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:
23rd – http://miriamjoywrites.com/
27th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for April’s chain!)