Monday, July 2, 2012

All Shook Up

I'm still a little woozy from this weekend's writing intensive at ESPA.  Winter Miller, the instructor, completely blew open my creative process.  I feel like I was put in a martini shaker with a bunch of different ingredients, shaken up, and poured back out.  The end result is still a beverage, but it looks and tastes very different.

Winter constructed the weekend in such a way that I wasn't allowed to do anything the way I would normally do it. For example, we weren't allowed to use computers the first day -- and I was so intrigued by the difference I felt writing by hand that I decided to write by hand for the entire weekend (god help me if I lose that notebook). But she also didn't have us just start at the beginning and write.  We played games where we inhabited our characters; we built sculptures; we made lists of random things and then wrote scenes inspired from those things -- often scenes that we would never expect to write (most notably, the list of the thing that absolutely would never happen in your play, then of course we had to write a scene where that thing happened).

I'm almost not even sure what happened this weekend, it's all such a crazy blur.  All I know is that I walked in Friday evening with some background information in my head (since my play is an historical piece), ideas about the main character and one other, and a handful of plot points that did not add up to a full narrative.  I walked out Sunday evening with an outline for the entire story from beginning to end, very clear ideas of the 6 main characters who are in it, and several rough scenes constructed.  This play is so clear in my mind now, if I didn't have to teach and rehearse and perform, I honestly think I could pound out a first draft in the next week or two at the most.

I think I need to shake up my writing process like this more often.  'Cause this rocks.

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