I’m thankful that you did not ask me to go on any adventures this past week. I am still recovering from weequashing. Also, I still do not have the foggiest idea what was in Prickly Pete’s “juice”, but I think it took the better part of a week to clear it out of my system. [Note to self: do not consume any more beverages in jugs with hand-written labels that read “juice”, especially when coming from anyone named Prickly Pete.]
Thank you for the congratulations on winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor for my dual portrayals of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein. It is a great honor, one that I get to share with Jonny Lee Miller. My only regret is that you never made it to London to see it. I think you would have greatly enjoyed it.
Now, to address the most persistent question from your letter this week: I will only send you a recording of me saying “aluminium” over and over in exchange for the location of your writing cave. That’s my final offer. Why hearing me say that word makes you giggle so much is beyond me. Besides, it’s you Americans who don’t pronounce it correctly and sound funny saying it.
But… if I knew where your writing cave was located, I could come teach you how to say it the *right* way. I would bet “aluminium” would sound fantastic bouncing off the walls of that cave of yours.
I’m sorry you’re so frustrated with your manuscript. I was thinking about how you said you were trying to write that particularly difficult scene from different viewpoints. It reminded me of what you said a few weeks back about acting and writing not being so different.
(By the way – have you signed up for an acting class like you were inspired to do after reading Tiffany Lawson Inman‘s post on using method acting to help with your writing? No? *shakes head* Tell me where your writing cave is post-haste so I can hound you about it until you do. *waves thumb drive with recording of “aluminium” and lovely poetry readings on it as enticement*)
It could be incredibly valuable to you as a writer. You’ve said yourself that reading a book is like seeing a private showing of the movie version in your own head. There are a multitude of articles and even a few books that discuss how the two crafts are not only related (obviously), but also how method acting can help a writer really capture their characters on the page. You’ve probably already discovered these, but I will point them out nonetheless:
In Kate George’s post, Method Acting and Engaging Writing, she talks about seeing her novel’s scenes in her mind as well as finding ways to step into the characters lives that she writes about in her novels.
In Using Method Acting in Your Writing, Samantha Bina shares how she struggled with getting the right voice for a secondary character in her novel. She visualized being that character, down to how she was feeling about the weather in that scene, and then she stripped out everything but the dialogue from her manuscript so she could act out the scene in order to properly find the character’s voice. Brilliant.
And then there’s David Niall Wilson who asserts Writers Are a Lot Like Method Actors. He states that in order to fully know your characters and make them multidimensional, “you have to be willing to meet all the characters halfway and if you can’t understand their motivation on a personal level, you have to be able to recognize that motivation and allow them to react to it uninhibited by the confines of your own thoughts, ethics, and morality.”
Perhaps you could give some of these strategies a try. And since you have a multitude of disguises and costumes, I think you are well equipped to get completely in character. Acting out your troublesome scene could help you get unstuck.
I’d be happy to help with this, if you’d like. I still have part of your pirate disguise from the time we literally ran into each other in Central Park that one summer evening. I didn’t know it was you at first since you were wearing the pirate disguise, but when I noticed the large quantity of gelato that was accidentally spilled all over my shirt by our collision, I knew it had to be you given your love of the creamy confection. I did very much appreciate you loaning me your pirate vest so I could stay to watch the Shakespeare play in the park without having to go shirtless, even if it was a bit snug.
I can bring it to you and we could act out your novel together. What? No pirates with British accents in your novel? Hmmm… We may have to change that. Could be just the thing your novel is needing.
*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be taken at face value or seen as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.