The 48 hours or so after I turn in a project are always an awkward, unsettling time for me.
In yesterday’s case, it was the rewrite of my play “Lightning and Jellyfish.” My mistake was kicking it out the door and to the director on a Saturday morning of a weekend when I wasn’t loaded up with arts events to cover. As I cleaned, read, played games and watched a few movies on a rare, deadline-free two days, I tried not to think about Angela, my main character. But you know what happens when you try not to think of something…
Instead of trying to start a new project–which inevitably still carried too much of the last work’s DNA–my tactic is usually to pull out a half completed or unresolved older work. I find it easier to spackle or build a new deck on an existing piece rather than worry about fresh architectural plans. (I am also, as you can see, prone to not caring about mixing metaphors during this time.)
Without worrying about world building and character creation, I can still make a bit of progress.
So I turn to my play-in-progress “Popular Monsters” and its yet-to-be sorted out second third, searching for the as-yet-undiscovered path that will connect its front and back ends. I know these characters well. I just don’t quite know how to get them from point a to point c. Which might mean that point c isn’t where they need to go.
When a writer is trying to force-fit scene (or a beloved line, for that matter), it always seems obvious to me, so I try never to do it myself. Trying to find a connector usually requires retrofitting either or both ends. As such, I have files of deleted characters, dialogue and scenes. And I’m good with that. Having a pile of trash to stand on can make it easier to see where you need to go.
Side note: I find that I rarely if ever go back to material I’ve cut. Once the limb is snipped off, why try to snap it back on the tree? Let it grow.
Now if only I could do something about those metaphors….