I Was Acting!

I was the lead in the two productions my student theater put on my senior year of high school. So, for half-a-sec, I was the biggest billed actor I knew.


Seems like many writers like jumping into acting. Stephen King and Frank Miller come to mind as two who like to cameo when they can. I wonder if it’s something inherent to writing. Do writers natural draw toward acting?


I could see an argument that they do. Writing is, in it’s way, a form of acting. The original stories were always acted out as there was no pen and paper to sketch them down. Even the early written stories, I’m sure, were more commonly acted than read as reading for anything other than business and governance wasn’t a skill in wide use before the printing press.


Stories, at their heart, are still tied to their bardic origins. A good story almost always sounds even better when put into the mouth of a good orator. It’s the nature of stories that we see them as being told or acted out and not just as static letters on a page.


Stan Lee said recently that one of the hardest parts of writing comics was keeping the different voices straight for the characters. If the characters weren’t voiced right, then the readers noticed and complained. Keeping those voices consistent takes some strong acting talent. And, of course, Stan Lee does a lot of acting cameos. He’s not a great actor for physically acting out a story, but he knows how to find a voice for a character and then tie that voice to the emotions and reactions the character has in a story. What could be a better definition for acting than that? And isn’t that what we all do as writers—create voices for characters and then tie those voices to emotions and reaction in a story?

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