Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 161: Monday report: up to 64 pages!

Here is my every-Monday progress report that I promised as part of my renewed focus on finishing my play:

I devoted about 9 hours yesterday to writing.  I wrote a new scene, incorporated a pre-existing scene (one of the short plays that inspired this work), and also went through the whole script so far and did a fair amount of editing and reconciling to make the old stuff make sense with the new stuff I've written.  I am now up to page 64.  I am aiming for 90-120 pages, although I'm trying not to worry too much about the length and just write how ever much I need to tell the story. 

Oh how glorious it felt to get back to my play!  I had missed my "family".  It was wonderful to hear them speaking and watch them moving through their imaginary world again as they unfold this story for me.  This process feels a little different now, though, then it did before.  While I do still hear them saying things, I'm also noticing that my "craft" is coming into play more -- instead of just writing whatever comes out, I am now shaping things more, like when I see that I need to set something up better in order to give it a better pay-off, or when I catch myself writing too much exposition and need to weave in the back-story through conflict instead.  (You see, one of the cardinal rules of playwriting is to avoid the phrase "remember when...".  Audiences don't want to watch characters reminisce; they want to watch them act/react in the moment.  The past has to come through their current actions.)  Often times scenes will come out of me that are nothing but reminiscing -- this is the characters' way of telling me their backstory.  Those scenes are useful for me as the writer, but they don't get to stay in the play.  Instead I have to find a way to weave the back-story into the present story.  One of the ways I am accomplishing this is by using a ghost.  She isn't really a ghost, she is an external manifestation of an inner dialogue that the characters are having.  (If you've ever lost someone important to you, you have probably had imaginary conversations with them after they passed.  That's what I'm talking about.)  It's an interesting device that the people who have read the play so far have found effective. 

But the best part about yesterday's writing is that I am over-flowing with inspiration right now!  I so wish I could have stayed home from work to just write all day.  I got all sorts of ideas as I was walking to work this morning.  A bit of an outline is coming into my head, which is very exciting.  Up until now, I have been writing completely blind with no idea of where this was going to end up.  But enough pieces of the puzzle are in place now that I am starting to be able to see what is missing.

I can't wait to sit back down to write again as soon as possible.  I think an iPad may be in my future so I can sit down to write anywhere and everywhere....
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