Playwriting

Writing Through Your Problems

30 Days of Development: Lindsay is writing every day for thirty days, and submitting every day for thirty days, and blogging about it every day for thirty days. Whew! Can she do it? Stay posted….

DAY EIGHT

Writing: Moving on to something else today. Even though I have a lot of ideas zooming around in my head, I want to give things time for my little bees. Time is really any writer’s best friend; you walk away, you come back with fresh eyes.

I’m trying to see if an idea I have for another non-verbal play is ready to grow. The idea starts with having the only set be chairs, every person has their own chair. Add to that the need for adults to conform and contain teenagers. And there’s another classical piece running through my head which is from the ballet of Romeo and Juliet. Like a march but not quite. It fits the idea of conformity and containment well. Damn, just went online and Prokofiev is not in the public domain…

Thoughts: Wanted to talk a bit about writing through problems, which I mentioned in yesterday’s video.

In our never ending quest to continue the river metaphor, problems can sabotage your writing like a log jam. Wait, is that a simile? Don’t look at me, do you think I have an English degree or something?

I have such a strong (re:obsessive) connection to the flow of writing that when log jams occur it can hurt like a slap in the face (similes use like or as….?) I can be derailed for the rest of the day with one problem. Big or small, doesn’t matter. Well, as I’ve progressed as a writer (but apparently not as someone who understands the English language) I don’t stand for a slap in the face.

The best way I have found to solve problems is to write through them. It was quite hard yesterday typing in my notes and I could see the logs forming out of the corner of my eye. I had already decided to just get the notes in and not re-write on the fly, so I was trying to type faster and faster as the logs got closer and closer.

Here’s one of the problems:

  • Cosette wants to go to high school and have a normal high school experience.
  • She asks Catherine, her very normal older sister how to be normal.
  • But Cosette actually likes who she is….
  • And she knows she’s not normal….
  • So why would she ask how to be normal?

That’s a big problem.

But even the act of typing out something I know is a problem is helpful. I’m seeing the problem, thinking about it, forcing myself not to stop moving forward, and so my brain continues to move forward as well. That continuous movement helps and more often than not creates the Ah ha! moment. Ah ha! So that’s what Cosette really wants…

Don’t ignore problems. Write them out over and over again, ask a question, try to answer it, write some dialogue. And if the problem can’t be solved, take it out. Certainly there are aspects that can be left open to interpretation and the world of mystery. 3/4 of my plays have ambiguous endings. But anything integral to the these of your entire play, oh say something like, ‘why does Cosette want to be normal,’ (pssst! She really doesn’t!) needs to be answered.

Submission: White to the Theatre Roulette festival at Madlab Theatre.

About the author

Lindsay Price