Playwriting

The first Draft Process – Four

Friday – a crack in the system.

All right I did it! I cracked! I worked on a different play today. No matter what I say about needing to push through problems, sometimes I’m just stuck staring at the walls. I decided to put the play to the side today and at least get some work done, even if it was for something else. I’m slowly working on a collection of ten minute plays for the spring. I got about ten pages of rough work done on one of them, which made me feel productive and, pardon the pun, not braindead.

Saturday – 3 hours – 8 pages

Finally, I got down to work on the Mackenzie/Franklin scene. I decided I’m going to keep the athletic Mackenzie, at least for awhile. I’ve got Franklin and Mackenzie talking in the scene on one level and then Scotty and Lavater also bombarding Franklin with images and comments. Scotty is becoming Franklin’s conscious as well as his memory – she says the things that deep down Franklin knows, she also spews out memories that Franklin has of him and his sister (Mackenzie) in happier times.

I think the scene works well. One thing I don’t want is always having Scotty and Lavater around when Franklin talks. Will need to think of a convention to get them out of the way.

Then I went on to do a mirror scene for later in the play where Franklin comes into Mackenzie’s world. I came up with a nice image for her as she talks about the need to show confidence on her face whether she is feeling it or not. She also tells Franklin that she used to think the world of him – clearly saying that now she doesn’t. I think this would be a good set up scene for the Franklin/Cara moment.

Monday – typing and background.

Typed in the work I did on Saturday. I’ve got 64 typed pages in total. I think that’s really good! Today I worked on a timeline for Franklin and Mackenzie. I think I know enough about them that I want to fill in the blanks from the rest of their life. This will help with Scotty’s memory spewing. Instead of making up things on the spot I will be able to refer to the time line. It will also help if I decide to do flashback scenes. Not sure that I will. Solidifying who these two are to each other, what their journey is in the play and what was their journey was leading up to the play is a very positive next step.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – more background

I took the timeline that I did on Monday for Franklin and Mackenzie and wrote out 13 memories for the two characters moving from the time the two were five and ten, right up to the present day. One for each year. An extremely productive exercise, even though it’s taken three days to do it! One of the best things to come out of it is the exploration of what Franklin was like before the accident. After the accident he’s not exactly a likeable guy, which is problematic for a main character. Before the accident he was bright and friendly and most of all, a life line for Mackenzie. After the accident he completely turned away from her, as he did with everyone else and everything in his life. Not only did he become a different person because of the accident but so did Mackenzie. Scotty will reflect the pre-accident Mackenzie and make direct reference to these memories.

I’m away this weekend which is good – I’ll be able to gell this background work into my thought process and decide how it fits in with the story at hand. I think I’m inches away from constructing a first act. I just need to decide where I want the end of the first act to be and what tone – the entrance of Cara (so something funny) the major fight in the past between Mackenzie and Franklin (intense drama) or a fight in the present. What’s the tone?

Saturday – Two hours – 4 monologues

Always have a notebook with you! You never know when you’ll be alone for a time (even on vacation) and something will hit. Originally I wasn’t going to have Cara talk in the first act, but I had a long monologue where Franklin talks to the audience that doesn’t work anymore. I put it into Cara’s voice and I think it will work nicely as bridging moments. For the first draft anyway. They also work as science moments as I have Cara explaining, in her wacky way, about how the brain works. A good way to combine human qualities and necessary information. There’s an image in one of the monologues that I really like – Cara talks about how the body is not a democracy – it’s a dictatorship run by the brain. It’s the kind of image that will come to life in the minds of the audience. I’m always on the look out for those.

About the author

Lindsay Price