Download a PDF of this exercise at the end of the post!
This is a self reflection exercise and a character development exercise all rolled into one. The best thing you do for yourself as a writer is cultivate inner observation: what are your beliefs, what do you like/dislike, what is your point of view on topics, what is your perspective. This is a much better way to deal with the “write what you know” adage. While you may not think you don’t know anything about a topic, you certainly would have a point of view on it. And once you’ve developed a point of view, you can give a character that same point of view. You can add a second character with an opposing point of view, lock the two in a room and there’s your play.
Do this exercise in two rounds. The first time through write down your point of view on the following topics. Do it secretly in a notebook that no one will see so you can be completely honest. There’s not point otherwise. For the second round, use a character in a play your working on. What is their point of view on the same topics? As you write, keep this character’s personality, speech patterns, word choice, relationships, and emotional triggers in mind. These should all come out as your write out their point of view. Because what you are really doing is learning how to write for this character outside the world of your play. Once you have that nailed down, it will be easy to write for them inside the world of your play.
Write down your point of view, and then your character’s point of view on the following topics:
- The Environment
- Overcrowding in Jails
- Gay Marriage
- Health Care
- Should Marijuana be legalized?
- Fast Food Tax
- Teen Pregnancy
- Immigration Reform