Playwriting

Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Days 5,6,7.

Lindsay writes every day for 30 days and posts about her experience; the good, the bad, and the bizarre twists and turns in the life of a playwright.


Thursday November 5thlindsay smiles with pen

Well it feels like I didn’t do anything to day. Which isn’t true at all. I typed out two scenes for the ten minute play collection and roughed out two more. I finished and formatted the November Theatrefolk newsletter today.

uthink-small

And that’s the thing. The beginning of this week was just me and my chair and the words. The rest of this week is all about time management. Tomorrow I’ll be spending most of the day preparing and practising for my Uth Ink Playwrights workshop and then Saturday I’ll be leading my Uth Ink Playwrights Workshop in St. Catharaines at Carousel Players. I’m totally looking forward to it. Looks like we’ll have a packed house of student playwrights. :)

So that’s what’s happening. Life gets in the way. As it should, because life is kind of the point of living.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t time for writing. There’s always time for writing. In a normal month it’s just sometimes easier to put writing to the side. That’s why I like doing focused projects like this where I force myself to find time to write. Even if it’s fifteen minutes, it’s time.

Had a smidge of self doubt creep into as I was chugging along this morning. Isn’t this scene exactly like that scene? Haven’t I used that line of dialogue before? I can’t even write 10 minutes on this idea. I need more ideas!

At this stage, it’s all about moving forward. There’s no time to look back, there’s no time for crying over crappy dialogue. Get the next word on the page and the next and the next. This way, by the next of next week (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to start rewrites. There’ll be plenty of time for crying then….

Friday November 6th

Tick Tock, Tick Tock. It’s hard to complain about being overwhelmed, when I get to be overwhelmed working on plays. Wah, poor me.close up of writing

More time management today: this is the fifteen minutes when I eat. This is the 45 minutes when I write longhand. This is the hour I run through my workshop. Here’s where I go to the bank.

Sometimes I’m really good at compartmentalizing and working in a regimented manner. Make a list, get it done, move on to the next one. Sometimes though, I like to play minesweeper and catch up on my stories, I mean, my websites (Fug Girls rock!) I get all discombobulated when I have to get RIGHT to WORK this VERY second. ( I know wah, poor me)

Two more rough drafts today of two more plays for the collection. Two more is two more I didn’t have yesterday! One of the scenes has some real promise; a trio of smart students try to come up with the right reasons to cheat on an exam and it ends up that they all want to do it for the wrong reason. They want the experience of cheating. Opposites are of great interest to me: good girls who do bad, bad boys who strive to be good, smart people who are attracted to stupid acts. This is how plays get started, you take the normal, the ordinary, the regular, and turn the scenario on it’s ear. Fun stuff.

Started a third play but half way through the first page it just…. sort of…. petered out…. Hmm. At this point, I’m not sure if it’s keeper. But I’m not sure it’s a loser either, so it’s worth typing out. If I can get a full page of writing out of an idea it stays and gets typed out. Sometimes all it needs is a rest and another go round to find it’s legs. Then I examine the characters and the conflict. Ten minute plays have to come to life in the span of an breath; they need strong characters and bold conflicts. What do the characters want? How does the conflict get in the way? Is the idea merely a sketch, or can it be fleshed out?

Just because the plays in the collection are short, doesn’t mean they should be shoddy work.

night timeSaturday, November 7th

30 minutes of writing at 6:30 this morning. 6:30. AM. It’s really dark at 6:30 AM. 6:30 makes me think I’m taking this all a little too seriously. Did I really have to write today? I’m putting in a full day of teaching, doesn’t that count? Even a little? Couldn’t I have just taken the day off? Did I really get any good work accomplished?

Maybe yes, maybe no. But I’m glad I did it. The act of writing, of putting pen to paper can be quite valuable. It’s valuable to know that the words come in a variety of circumstances. Writers write when it’s good and inspired. Writers also write when it’s crappy and dull. They write when it’s hard. They write when they don’t want to. That’s how you know you’re a writer. You don’t wait for inspiration, you make it come to you. You write for half a hour when that’s what you got.

Which, you know, sounds awesome. And I do believe every word. It’s still really dark at 6:30. Ok, off to Uth Ink!

About the author

Lindsay Price