Playwriting

Tasty Lemonade

This week I travelled to the Missouri Thespian Festival by way of rickshaw and steamboat. Oh I kid, but due to some last minute things I wasn’t able to get a flight organized until just before Christmas. So the choices were slim. In order to get to Springfield, MO I had to take three planes. Three. (Weep for me and my first world problems).

But, what about a silver lining? What about looking at the glass half full? What about making some tasty lemonade out of spending a whole day going up and down in a silver cigar. (Weep I tell you!)

I decided to write a play. Why not? I was alone. I have projects that need starting. I was forcibly confined to a sitting position with a conveniently attached tray and/or writing desk. Why not?

The deal I made with myself was pretty simple. Long hand only. Pen to paper from take off to touch down. No stopping, no matter what. If I got stuck, circle around to something else. Keep the pen moving. This was the first time in a month I took to any creative writing and frankly I was itching for it. There was, I’m not ashamed to admit, more than a little bit of anticipatory glee.

So how did I do?

AWESOME!!! I’m not even backing down on this one. It was a fantastic experiment. Everything writing should be. Pen flying, pages filling up. I ended up with 24 handwritten pages, a pretty good outline, and re-wrote the first few scenes three or four times. I have the names of the main characters, and I’m really starting to see the story. There a biggish whole between the middle and the end, but for a first pass it was wicked fun! Getting going became harder with each flight, but I just applied all the tricks and tools I tell my students to use. One flight, I just re wrote the word “dancing” over and over till I found an entry way into the scene. Another time I started listing questions, things I thought were curious till I found one that I could answer in dialogue. I started writing a scene in the middle of the play and worked on that awhile before I had an idea for the beginning. Which I wrote and re-wrote till it became smooth.

All in all, it was one of those wonderful writing days. The kind you wish you had all the time, but really only come across once in a blue moon. And that’s ok too. The memory will soon fade (I don’t often spend time looking back on things) but the concrete writing will take me forward. I can’t wait.

About the author

Lindsay Price

3 Comments

  • Ok, I’m inspired!  Thanks, Lindsay, for reminding us to practice what we preach.  The kids think we do it all the time anyway.  :)

  • Thanks! I’ll be working on the play over the next year and it’s going to premiere at a school in the 2012/2013 season. It was thrilling to get such a good start on it.