Thoughts on long-gestation writing projects

My current machine, the Toshiba Pieceocrap, may be in its final months. It is the third laptop on which I’ve worked on this play. Maybe the fourth.

I try not to hold development time against the projects I’m working on. Some hatch fairly quickly. Some take much longer. Some don’t even figure out what they want to be (a play? a novel?) for much of their gestation periods.

I try not to cling too tightly to dialogue and monologues from earlier drafts and not to try too hard to force them into fitting with the latest iteration. If memory serves, giant ramps were built in order to create the pyramids. Those ramps are long gone (My “ramps” are preserved in earlier draft folders, just in case.)

I try not to be embarrassed by how early, early readings of my stuff sound. It’s important to gather actors for such readings who you have great trust in (Yet I still hope Karen Irwin, Bill Simmons, and Ben Tebbe have completely forgotten the early, early draft of this one, read in Ben’s house, what? six years ago maybe?)

I try not to remember so that every time I pick up my play-in-progress, I am an audience member. What questions am I asking? Who do I care about? What do I want to know? What elements don’t seem to matter?

I try not to think about the cumulative hours of work required to make a play seem casual and easy. The goal is to make it seem alive in the moment, not to reveal the writer at work.

I try to remember that the long period of development allows me to treat the characters less as the accumulation of ideas from my head and more as active, living people whose agendas do not have to match mine.

I try to remember that the longer I live with these characters, the more I come to like them and the more I want to fairly tell their story.


Workshop teaching, upcoming “Going…Going…Gone” events, games, and more

March 21: I’ll be teaching a Midwest Writers Workshop course in Muncie, IN. More info and sign up details here:

April 12: Karen Irwin and friends team up for the April installment of “Going…Going…Gone” at Theatre on the Square. Note that we are bumping the show a week due to the Easter holiday.

April 17-18: I’ll be playing games–and leading some–at Who’s Yer Con, the wonderful free game convention in Indianapolis. Details here.

April 24: Remember that snowstorm in early March? Well, because of it, we moved the March “Going…Going…Gone” to a Friday in April due to the crazy schedule of the participants. This will be a double feature with two shows offered by Clair Wilcher, Bill Simmons, and Jolene Moffatt. Tickets here:

April 25: I’ll be co-hosting Rescue Party, a benefit gala for Indiana Landmarks, with the always-fun John Thomas (my partner in Two First Names Productions).

May 3: It’s time for our annual adults-only “Going…Going…Gone” collaboration with Angel Burlesque.

See you at something, I hope.