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Improv writing? But isn’t it supposed to be a thriller?


In principle, the novel I’m trying to write should be very plot driven. It’s a Sci Fi thriller kind of thing with all the action compressed into a couple of weeks. So you’d think I’d kinda need to know what happens next. Except I don’t. At least not exactly.

Once upon a time, in a far distant life, I used to do some improvised drama. I’d know who I was supposed to be and broadly the situation I was in and the rest sort of happened.

It seems to me that some part of my brain had given each character a slightly different improv brief. Each of them knows something different about the situation. Not all of them are being open about their motivation. Only some of them know each other.

It seems my task is simply to arrange for the right combinations of them to meet at the right time.

The thing about improv is that when it works, it’s brilliant; full of energy and unexpected twists but when it doesn’t work, it’s a complete waste of time.

I’m still waiting to discover which category my attempt at a novel will end up in.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. NanA permalink
    16/11/2011 1:22 am

    Mike, it’s the ‘muddy middle’ of the month and my novel is floundering a bit. But I’m still trying to grind it out. I know I’ll get through it. I hope that you are still writing, still moving forward. This is a great premise and I think you are writing well, so keep it up!

    • 20/11/2011 11:17 pm

      Hi Nan,

      Thank you. I got hijackmed by work. I was asked to run a three day residential workshop which left me with no time for myself for about a week.

      I did another chapter today. I’m massively behind target now, but I’m enjpyoing the process so I hope I can stick with it through to the end of the year.

      I hope your novel is going well. Can you send me a link where I could take a look at ait?

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