Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Update on Writing a Play

Writing Inspiration - Writers Write

As you may or may not recall from my previous posts on this topic, I am writing a play!

I can only just now say that with any honesty because today, FINALLY, I started writing it.

I have that terrible disease where you're convinced that the very important and awesome thing you're writing will write itself by virtue of how cool it seems in your mind. The technical term would be procrastination.

Fortunately, I want to write this play badly enough that today, TODAY, I wrote two very rough pages of the beginning.

I don't think anyone really appreciates how hard a stage play is to write. I mean, you don't just write the way things are typically written in a books or magazines. You have to format it so its not just a story, but a PLAY. This looks something like...

CLARE types ferociously away at her play.

STEVE walks into the room.

STEVE: What are you doing?

CLARE: Shut up I'm writing a play leave me alone bring me some coffee.

And that's just an example. There are several different formats for a stage play, but this is the one I'd say I'm most familiar with. 

Besides the funky format, you also have to think about an actual performance of your play in order to write it. Unless your play has an extremely omnipotent narrator, you can't just sit down and say: 

Clare was majorly stressed out by writing her play. She wanted it to be amazing. She wanted it to be worthy of being chosen and performed. But she was distracted by a few things: The cookies in her desk drawer, planning her graduation party, and the TV show she'd just discovered on Netflix. But she was determined  So she blocked out the distractions and went to write her play. Unfortunately, when she logged onto her laptop, she decided to write a blog post about writing her play, instead. 

That just doesn't work. Instead, you have to very clearly and concisely SHOW the audience, by the actions and dialogue of the characters, what is going on. 

Last Friday, I got to meet author, editor, and publisher Regina Doman, and I recieved one very vital piece of advice from her about writing my play: HAVE A PREMISE* THAT IS ABSOLUTELY SO STRAIGHTFORWARD IT CANNOT BE MISSED. 

She was even nice enough to listen to the general plot of my play and suggest a really good premise to me: HOPE vs. DESPAIR. 

Everything in the play HAS to serve the premise, or it must go. My two characters have to embody the premise and convey the message while being entertaining and (hopefully) heartwarming. Since I have a 'counterbalanced statement' premise, one character has to embody HOPE, while the other embodies DESPAIR. 

This isn't rocket science, but, no, a monkey could not do it. 

So, that's a little bit about procrastination, writing a stage play, and premise. I will hopefully have a more praiseworthy update on this within a week since the deadline for play submissions is July 1st. 

As I like to do, I shall leave you with the only notable quote from what I have written thus far. The character Sophie says this to the character Thomas. I can't guarantee this will end up in the play when its all said and done, but here you go! Enjoy : )

“EVERYONE has a favorite color, Thomas, even if they don’t know it. It’s the color that makes you happiest. It’s the color that you’d paint your bedroom walls if you had the choice. It’s the one color, that, if everything in the world were suddenly that color, you’d be okay with it,”

* A premise being what the story is about/the moral it teaches. 

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