Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 241: The art of writing vs. rewriting

First a quick blurb: There is a very exciting new addition to my play shower page: a movie trailer-style preview! The 3-minute video clip features audio and still photos from the first reading. This will give you a feel for what the play is about, for my writing style, and for how talented my actors are. There is also a great new video testimonial about my play from a fellow writer/director (look under "updates"), with more to come.  Stop by and check it out!  If you like what you see, please leave a comment on the indiegogo page and forward on to your friends. The more comments and referrals my page receives, the more likely indiegogo is to feature my play on its home page - meaning thousands of strangers would see it!

The process of writing this second draft -- which is now, thankfully, complete -- has been very, very different from writing the first draft.  Before I started this whole playwriting thing, if someone had asked me which I thought would be harder, writing a first draft from nothing or rewriting that draft to make it better, I'm pretty darn sure I would have thought writing a first draft would be harder.  I mean, how do you pull something out of thin air?  How do you create something from nothing?  How do you even begin on a journey when you don't know where it's going to end?  Surely, it must be much simpler to fix something you already have than to create something completely new.

Boy, is that not true!  While writing a first draft certainly isn't easy, there is a beautiful simplicity to it, an opening of yourself to not judge or try to be perfect.  The biggest struggle is not filtering -- just letting it flow, getting thoughts out on the page and seeing where they go.  That is not at all the case with a second draft.  Rewriting is much more surgical, more precise, more effort.  It requires a delicate, precise tool -- you don't want to lose the good stuff in the process of changing the bad stuff.   There were pieces I wanted to keep, and new pieces I wanted to add, and I had to try to fit them together.  I felt like I was putting together a complex puzzle where I only had some of the puzzle pieces, and had to actually make the other pieces to fit in between.

Of course the great thing about the second draft is that you do already know what you have.  You know that you have a play, and, hopefully, you know that it's good.  So there is a confidence in the work that you don't have when you are writing your first draft -- where all too often, you can write something you think is great, only to have it fall completely flat when you hear it out loud.

I get to hear this second draft out loud next Thursday, where my director will also get to meet all my actors and the real work on bringing this play to life can begin.  I can scarcely believe it's almost here.
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