There are many things I have learned since becoming an indie author. Some of it applies to my writing, others to how I market my work, and a few words of wisdom on what not to do. The last part I hear or witness on a daily basis, as I make many mistakes!
But there are lessons I learned from a profoundly different source, years ago, that has helped me in many aspects of my life, including being an author. I performed improv a lifetime ago (It seems that way after having children, anyway) and the rules of improv apply to everything.
I know what you are thinking, “It’s Improvisation, how are there rules?” Well, just like there are rules in life, there are rules to improv. Like, you don’t just walk into a strangers home without knocking and being invited in, do you? In improv you don’t just start talking over your scene partner every time he/she speaks. That would not make for a very good scene. The audience would be confused and you would have one pissed scene partner to deal with after the show.
One of the big rules of improv is ‘yes, and’. It means add to the scene, your character, or what your scene partner is saying. The yes is because so many new improvisers thinks it hilarious to deny or say no to what their scene partner says.
“I love green.”
“No you don’t.”
So what now, now the guy who stated he likes green looks stupid, or worse, crazy, and anything he says is judged with suspicion. The other guy added nothing, so what happens next…a really bad scene. And in writing, a bad scene, if not book. The reader is just going to come to the conclusion that the story isn’t well developed if the characters can’t agree on anything. Something better would be:
“I love green.” She said staring at the new spring grass.
“Yeah, I love the smell of early spring air. It can make even the most depressed person smile.” I winked and nudged her arm.
Much better: yes, and.
Whether your ‘yes, and’ is adding to a characters conversation, the character personality (to add tension to story), or add to the storyline; it can only help. I find myself using ‘yes, and’ all the time. How do you ‘yes, and’?