Friday, May 8, 2009

Make It Happen

Anyone for a footrace? Want to give yourself a deadline? Comment here if you're interested, I'd be happy to encourage you to give yourself a time limit. It works for me, maybe we can help each other get things done. Just gentle reminders, no trash talk.

Any takers?

A Gratuitous Blog Entry

"Gratuitous" means "unnecessary, without cause, unwarranted," and there are many ways to achieve gratuitousness. Any aspect of a piece of writing is gratuitous if it doesn't do the work it should.

I recently wrote a draft of a play with situations and language that those who heard a reading of it judged gratuitous, and their reasons were sound. I had not convinced them of the point, use, function of those situations and my use of language in the service of the work. Among other insights I gained from the experience was an idea that, while it likely isn't original, has novelty and may help me in my continuing development of the play.

I have decided to write a synopsis of the play to clarify the story I am attempting to tell. Writing a synopsis should help a great deal in sloughing off any gratuitous elements. I intend then to build out from the synopsis and basically re-write the play.

Reduced to even simpler terms, I suppose I will be outlining the play's plot.

Let me know if you've had any comparable experience in your own work.

Value of Deadlines

I recently had a reading of a play I've been writing for more than a decade in front of a dozen or more playwrights (led by Sarah Gubbins, FAIR USE and many other plays). The opportunity presented itself at Chicago Dramatists, with which I'm pleased to be associated as a Network Playwright.

I got very useful feedback, but the main take-away was the power of the deadline. I had learned less than a week before the reading that I'd get this opportunity and had to distill hundreds of pages of notes and a couple hundred more pages of dialogue and stage directions into a comprehensible first-draft, bona fide script.

Never underestimate the power of a deadline. For better or worse.

Blogging Hiatus

Please read today's post on my Meta blog, which explains my recent absence from these pages.