Daily Archives: August 14, 2008

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Get Out of Your Own Way

August 14, 2008 by in category Archives

By Noelle Greene

Ever had that sinking feeling when you’re seated at an event, or God forbid, a play, and you realize it’s an “interactive” experience? The third wall is going down, baby. That’s when I start to squirm. And above all, make no eye contact. The third wall is there for a reason. We like it.

I was eyeing the door within seconds of sitting down at a session at the RWA conference. For some reason, the title “Improv Techniques For Writers” hadn’t clued me in. I realized, too late, we were expected to improvise in front of the group. With a microphone.

You guessed it, the session ended up being a ton of fun. I laughed more in 90 minutes than I did all week. That alone made it worthwhile. The instructor, Denise McInerney, was lovely, relaxed and reassured us that there were no wrong answers. We played games, a la Drew Carey and company in “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

McInerney shows writers how to use comedy improv techniques to loosen up and let ideas flow without self-censorship and fear. And yes, as we played we created a lot of nonsense, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to banish your inner critic.
Interestingly, McInerney, of the Washington, D.C. chapter, presented ideas other seminars at the conference featured, except she didn’t tell, she showed: by letting you feel—viscerally—how to “be in the moment” and take risks when you’re creating. I certainly felt the adrenalin pumping. And realized how fear of looking like an idiot hampers the process. I’m still working on that one. If you’d like to learn more, contact Denise at dmcwriter@aol.com.

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