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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s