Playwriting

The first draft Process – Five

The last post on this for now….

Monday – Two hours – working on outline

I don’t always do an outline. It depends on how the material is flowing. For this play I have a lot of bits and pieces to sew together and an outline is a good way to do that. I believe I have a strong opening with the physical images of the three main characters. I like the linking moments i have with Cara and the audience. I wasn’t going to use flashbacks for Franklin, but now I am (for the first draft). I think it’s important to show that Franklin was a likeable person at one time, even though he’s not now. To that end, I’m going to end the first act with the car accident. I’m actually pondering having Mackenzie in the car with Franklin, and also having Cara involved in some way. Maybe she spins out on the same bit of black ice and maybe it’s that which makes her start to view her life differently. That way, each one is (even though Cara and Franklin don’t know each other at that point) directly influenced by the same event.

Tuesday – 6 hours. 10 pages

Spent most of today working on the end of the first act with all three characters being involved in the same accident. It’s a very interesting concept. To the point where I’m actually considering starting the play with the accident. It’s something that actually gives me tingles in my stomach thinking about how it would work on stage. This is the hard part: do I continue what I’m doing and construct the first act as I’ve been planning, or do I go off in an entirely new direction? Is the new direction for the better? Or am I just avoiding working on what I already have? If I stick with what I have, and am I avoiding something new and exciting?

Since I know that tomorrow is going to be my last concentrated day on this play (off to a conference on Thursday and then come August things start getting busy again) I will probably stick with what I have, but when I come to work on the play again I will focus on the car crash. A lot of times it is said that for the second draft you should take the beginning, dump it out and use the end as the beginning. Seeing as I have over 70 typed pages of work that feels a bit…. harsh but that’s the way it goes. I want a play that excites me to write about.

I’m going to do a bit a research into the physics of car crashes.

Wednesday – 6 hours – constructed first act

Well it’s a bit taped together with holes and such but at least it has a beginning and an end. And then on top of that I have the work I did for the contest as a huge start for the second act. There’s a lot more about Franklin and Mackenzie that I originally planned, which is fine. I’m also very excited about having the three characters in the same accident and using that as a jumping off point for the next draft. I like the idea that Franklin and Mackenzie were in the car together – it gives him one more thing to be mad at Mackenzie about: he was “damaged”? and she wasn’t. It also gives Cara a huge wake up call in terms of how she wants to live her life.

I was busier with company business this month that I thought I would be (which is great, it means the company is busy even when schools out!) and the play just did not flow as I thought it might. Bottom line is that I really like the characters and no matter what direction the play goes in, I know they will always be there. They are three vivid interesting people and that alone makes all the work I’ve done this month worthwhile.

About the author

Lindsay Price