Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 194: On the other side

I did it.  I finished my first draft.  At 6:40pm on Thursday, July 29th -- the evening before my 10 day deadline expired -- I emailed the completed first draft to my playwriting teacher.  I meet with him tomorrow morning to get his feedback.  I now have my entire cast lined up for the reading of it on August 9th.  I can scarcely believe I'm here.  Having never written a full-length play before, it was a goal that seemed so distant, so fuzzy and hard to picture, that I'm not sure I ever truly believed I would get here.  Or I suppose it would be more accurate to say I just couldn't imagine what it would be like.

And it is a strange feeling, being on the other side of finishing my first draft.  I almost don't know what to do with myself, not having to spend every spare minute writing.  Of course that will start up again shortly, as soon as I start working on my rewrites.  But until after the reading on the 9th, I won't be writing.   I will take in my teacher's advice tomorrow, and then wait til after I hear it out loud myself the following week before I start rewriting.  As much as I respect and value my teacher's opinion and skill, I want to trust my own instincts and ears when I hear it out loud, to see if I agree with his assessment. 

While I am prepared to hunker down and have to do a lot of rewriting, I will admit I have a fantasy of meeting with my teacher tomorrow and having him say: "Natalie, this is one of the strongest first drafts I have ever seen."  And then only having to make small tweaks, adjust and tighten up a few things.  But I know that isn't realistic.  First drafts rarely resemble final drafts.  But I'm going to savor this brief amount of time where I get to feel like "I did it!", and let myself feel the glow of accomplishment. 

What's next?  My current plan is to have another informal reading in September after I do a second draft, allowing me time to do one more round of rewrites before the formal, public reading I want to have in October for the play's birthday party.  I'm thinking now I might like to try to do a staged reading, though that may be overly ambitious.  It will depend a lot on how extensive the rewrites are.

I'll let you know on Monday how my meeting with Stuart Spencer goes.  I can hardly wait.
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