Acting Out Scenes

Though I was in a few high school plays, I'm a bit of a shy actor. Oddly, or perhaps not, I loved competing in speech & debate and still enjoy public speaking. But fictional people? A joy to write about but daunting to interpret, live. My actor peeps get my utmost respect.

Not possessing an iota of theatrical talent hasn't stopped me from acting out scenes as I type, however.

I began to notice I would take on certain expressions for certain characters while writing dialogue about halfway through "Redwoodian." Here's a basic summary of what I involuntarily do for what character. (Thank goodness no one can see me, though perhaps my husband should take a photo or two.)

Fair Finley: I wag my finger. Or I put my hands on my hips. I'll twist my mouth on occasion, in thought. Or I drop my shoulders and smile.

Sutton Von Hunt: There's some disdainful scrunching of the nose. There's a bit of eyebrow-raising, too.

Monty Overbove: I actually wink when Monty winks. My face takes on a big grin and surprised look, too, quite often, with Mr. Monty.

Prior Yates: Easygoing smiles.

Thurs Mathers: I lean back, with confidence, when I type anything to do with the hotel heir.

Gomery Overbove: Montgomery X. Overbove is, I do believe, my favorite character to play. He's the most even-keel of all the "Wilfair" people, so I probably "act him out" the least. He puts his hand on the back of his neck a lot, when he thinks, so sometimes I will, too. Gomery is an arm-crosser, too. The rolled-up sleeves enhance that, as Fair will muse upon in the next book.

As for the scene that I acted out the most while writing it? Definitely the exchange in the hotel hallway outside of Prior Yates's suite in "Redwoodian." There was a whole lot of finger-wagging and overly emotive face-making during the typing of that one, believe it. I was always a little sweaty after the rewrites. TMI?


Carly said...

I was way too self-conscious a teen to do drama. I think I mentioned in an email once that I like to read books aloud, though, and while I try not to get too crizzity-crazy, I sometimes find myself getting pretty into it - sometimes it's hard not to act things out, if there's a lot going on, lol.

Jamila said...

I was a total theater nerd in high school and yes, I absolutely act out scenes from books by myself. In fact, I was rereading Wilfair last night and at the first Fair/Gomery scene in the motel lobby, I had to say Gomery's "Wait. Please" a few times out loud to see just how it would've sounded to Fair and how her heart would've pitterpattered to have him talk directly to her. Unfortunately, I was on the subway at the time, so I got some strange looks!

Wilfair Book said...

Carly: I'm going to guess from our colorful exchanges that you have a natural flair for drama! Also, crizzity-crazy? Total smile-maker.

Btw, when we have our "Wilfair" walking tour, I am hoping you will do a short dramatic reading for me. Maybe next to the tar pits?

Jamila: I can't act proper when I read such awesome, awesome comments. So? Gahhhhhh. Thank you! And thank you for calling out specific phrases and THANK YOU for re-reading "Wilfair." Zowie!

I very much weighed the first words Fair and Gomery would say to each other. "Wait, please" and "later" conveyed a lot for me. Those words kind of set their unhurried pace.

Four quick things to say:

1. Hooray for theater nerds! I do love that you said these lines aloud on the subway. ("Pitterpattered" is a wonderful word, btw!)

2. Fair and Gomery repeat those exact lines in "Redwoodian," only, I believe, in reverse order. Look in Prior's suite. :)

3. They'll say them again in "Stay Awhile."

4. The first sentence Gomery says in "Wilfair" was also carefully hand-picked for larger meaning. He doesn't say it to Fair but she's in the room and hears it. Three words. It's a tad subtle but he says exactly what's imprinted on Fair's heart.

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