I’ve mentioned this before, but acting has helped me become a better writer. I’d honestly recommend to any writer to take an acting class, or a scene study class.
What does acting have to do with writing?
In a typical acting class, unless you’re doing a cold read, you’ll be given a script ahead of time to learn and prepare for class. It’s not just about standing up there and delivering the lines, though. You have to understand your character and the scene you’re playing.
The first thing you need to know is your characters’ background (education, family, social class, etc.), because this will affect everything about them: what they wear, how they talk, how they hold themselves, etc.
The second thing you need to know is their relationship with the other person in the scene. A stranger? A family member? An acquaintance? A best friend? Depending on your answer, the way you behave and talk is likely to change. If I’m talking to a best friend, I might be sitting back casually in my chair and going through my phone at the same time. If I’m talking to say, an employer, I’d be sitting straight and giving them my full attention.
Another thing to consider is what’s just happened before the scene? Did the character run all the way because they were late? In that case, they might be breathless as they speak. Did they just have argument with their significant other? Then they might be in a bit of a mood and have a snippy tone.
Fourth, what is the character saying? Do they mean it? Or is there subtext?
These are all questions I now ask myself when I write. It’s part of developing fully fleshed characters. Scene studies are also useful. You learn the importance of a particular scene. What’s revealed? How does it further the plot? These are also things that apply to writing.
So consider taking an acting and/or scene study class! Or pick up a book on the subject – as I’m sure you already have plenty of books on writing 😉