Method writer is a term adapted from ‘method actor’, performers who research, study and live the lifestyle of their character. A method writer immerses themselves so deeply into their novel that they sometimes lose touch with reality. Do you relate to one or more of the following signs? Then you might be a method writer.
The Method Writer
1. Reading Material
You sort your bookshelves into project groups rather than genre or author. I have a section for The Costume Maker, filled with any relevant reads on gypsies, fairies, Shakespeare, sewing manuals and YA or fantasy writing guides, with another section for Warracknabeal, featuring noir crimes, country living, horse racing, books set in the late 1930s and young boy adventure stories. No one else can find books in your house, because they don’t understand the connection between the maths textbook and the romances. While working on your manuscript, you only read books that relate to your setting, genre or characters. You could be a method writer.
2. Viewing Choices
Your family is sick of watching the same kind of film every movie night. Or worse, watching the same film over and over (unless it’s Casablanca, that never gets old). You can easily spot a method writer by checking out their Netflix list.
3. Holiday Destinations
Your vacation spots are chosen for your setting. If you’re a fantasy writer, you’ll probably go visiting castles, or somewhere with lots of museums if you’re writing a historical novel, or perhaps you drag your partner along on a singles cruise for ‘research’ for your romance story. There’s probably more than one sci-fi method writer who put their name down for a one-way mission to Mars.
4. Strange Trivia
You suddenly become an expert on weird stuff. You’ll bore all those around you with tidbits on the intricate differences between kitchen graters and their purposes, when you’ve never so much as boiled an egg before, all because your main character is a chef. You might freak out the parents of your children’s friends by knowing the most effective torture methods to prolong death. If you’re this kind of method writer, remember to delete your browser history from time to time.
5. Persona Change
Everything about you is different. You now dress like your character (sometimes under the guise of ‘cosplay’), eat all your character’s favourite foods and might even have picked up a mysterious accent. You’ve adopted your character’s catch phrases and mood swings. Do you have a Twitter account and tweet as your character? That’s a die hard method writer.
So how about you? Are you a method writer?