Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 176: Monday, er... Tuesday progress report

Alas, it's Tuesday and somehow my blog update didn't happen yesterday.  I blame my boyfriend.  My plan was to write my update last night before I went to bed, but we ended up being out late with some friends visiting from San Francisco.  My boyfriend thus insisted that I go home and get immediately to bed so I could get a decent night's sleep.  I dutifully obeyed, forgetting at that point that I was supposed to write in my blog.  So here it is Tuesday morning, and I am once again faced with my time trifecta.  Because I went to bed last night, I didn't get writing done.  And now in order to do this this morning, I have to skip out on my walk to work.  2 out of the 3: sleep and writing.  No exercise.  I have to choose which one of my promises to myself to let go: either my promise to update my blog or my promise to walk 5 miles every day.  This makes me sad.  I suppose if I could rewind last night, I could have cut the time with my friends shorter.  But then again, these are people I get to see maybe once a year when they are in town, so that seems like a lousy choice.  It just isn't possible to do it all.  But enough whining.  Let's get to the progress report.

Sunday's writing yielded 5 new pages, a new character, and a huge new conflict.  After the last scene I wrote, I had a strong feeling that Vivian (Frank's daughter) needed some kind of confidant, some person outside of her family to talk to, if for no other reason than to give her some way of voicing her feelings.  (Unless you want to write big soliloquies, the only way to reveal a character's thoughts in a play is through dialogue with another character.  In a novel, you can write what the character is thinking, but not in a play.)  But I also felt she needed some kind of life outside the family unit, to give her more texture, to allow the audience to learn a bit more about who she is.  And thus, Arnold was born: a married, traveling salesman who hooks up with Vivian when he's in town on business.  Boy, is this broad's life a mess.

Of all the relationships I could have chosen, why did I choose one so, well, pathetic?  First off, I don't feel like I chose it.  As I went through various scenarios in my mind, when that one popped in - for whatever reason - it was just right.  I just knew that was it.  Not the gay hair dresser friend, not the coworker at the diner, not the bonafide boyfriend.  Vivian is the sort of person who has been so hurt and so damaged that she would only risk intimacy with someone who isn't truly available to her.  (I find it helpful sometimes to "therapize" my characters - it helps me understand them better and see what choices they would make). 

I also know that Vivian will try to make some sort of change in her life in the course of the play, and have been trying to figure out what that is -- what a woman so blocked and so stuck in endless cycles of bad choices would be capable of doing to help herself.  I think I hit on it in this scene.  As it is something that will create a huge amount of conflict for Angie and Frank -- making for good drama -- I'm going to go with it and see if it sticks.  (I won't tell you what it is right now, I need to save at least a few surprises!).

So while 5 pages doesn't seem like a lot, it was a very fruitful day.  I have a lot of good ideas for what scenes are left that I need to write, and where this whole thing is going.  I even know what the big final conflict scene will be.  In fact, I think that is what I'm going to write next, even though it's not next in the play.  Sometimes it works to write out of order and then go back and fill in the connective tissue.

I am loving this process so much!  Who would ever have thought.  I can't wait to get back to it.
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