Yesterday, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference gave a free preview of their April conference at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs, and I was honored to be one of the instructors selected to teach a class.
My class was titled, "Whose Story Is It Anyway?", a take-off on the popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? with writers take the place of the experienced improv stars. In leading the class, I may have sounded more like Harvey Fierstein than my usual self (I was still fighting a cold I picked up in Chicago), but I thought it went well. The writers who volunteered to help me performed at the top of their game, and the sellout crowd ate it all up.
The most popular activity? A version of The Dating Game in which each of the guys played a character from one of their books.
It was a big experiment on my part, and I think it worked. There may not have been any breakthroughs. The participants may not have gained any new insights about their characters. But if it challenged the audience members to think less and write more, if it inspired even one writer to get off their butt and act out their character the next time they have writer's block, then it was worth it.
Here's hoping the full class in April goes even better.