I'm teaching myself how to write again. I'm starting with an old trick. Way back in my early twenties, when I read avidly and with naivete, I would hand copy paragraphs from stories by writers such as Bellow and Hemingway. It taught me a lot about syntax and voice. Now, I'm going a step further, but instead of copying paragraphs, I'm copying story structure. For instance, today I read a story I like (it's not great, but it works, for my purposes,) and now I'm going to write my own story that manipulates point of view, episodes, characters, turning points and themes in the same way it does. The words are different--different setting, different characters--but the blue print is the same. Having a blue print relieves me of the anxiety of not knowing where the hell I'm going. This is an exercise that I used to avoid doing. Now, I'm eager to start.
This approach to writing a story is not that far removed from finding playable action through script analysis, of course, or from writing a Hollywood screenplay. I think that doing script analysis, as an actor, is helping me to come back to writing narrative prose with a different, more 'process oriented' and patient attitude than I've had before.