Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Neurotic Genius

It's official. School has swallowed my life whole. I have lost all hope of properly sitting down with MSWord to work until December. I don't think I'll remember the things that come up that I want to share here either. I'm trying though.

There were a number of highlights last week, many of which are escaping me as one day blends into the next, but the biggest one is definitely as of 4:43am on Monday, September 6th, 2010.


*louder drumroll*

I finished the first draft of U:RS!! *queue fireworks, pompoms, and victory dances*

There were tears, there were laughs, and now it's in edits. Those are coming along slowly. It's all very superficial things that are changing: rephrasing to make lines and paragraphs more concise, typos, etc. Like I said, I don't think I'll have time for serious edits until the holidays roll around. Thaaaaanks, school. I can forgive The Good Doctor rehearsals because that's my favorite kind of work. Theatre can have my life...unless a publishing company wants it, and I'm iffy about my abilities to write plays professionally. But I'm excited to delve into playwriting. My mythos may not be deep with psychologically complex and stimulating characters Aristotle and Steven Hawkins would admire, but it's mine, it's cute, and I'll be happy with just that when I see it read in January.

*insert transition line to plotting a story*

In my playwriting class Friday, we were doing a character examining exercise where we took on the personality of our characters, and we had a "speed dating" session. It was interesting, but I don't think I got across what I wanted about my character because I was so nervous to do this in front of the class. I was after more seeking for something bigger, and less neurotic. But the exercise was productive in another way. While talking to some of these "characters" I learned some things about mine that I had to spew out on the spot and they just worked. Next thing I know, I have more plot points that could make it a promising one act.

What I realized later on was that I had just publicly done what I swore I'd never tell anyone I do. The only difference was that this time, someone non fictional (although portraying someone fictional) was actually talking back!

...Are you backing away from the keyboard yet? Give me just a minute.

When I speak the situation out loud and go through the motions in my room (or whatever room I'm in and no one else is), as if I were running lines in a play or spouting off an improv scene, it forces me to answer the situation immediately, to keep the flow going. Quick! The love of your life is walking away! What do you say to bring him back? Quick! The hero is gathering strength from his hero's creed, "I'm the good guy. You're the bad guy. I'm gonna beat you with ultimate bonds of friendship!" How do you throw him off his game? And so I stare down the computer screen, or the wall beyond the imaginary love interest/goody two-shoes hero, and I say what the character in the story/play/whatever would say.

It works for calmer situations too. Just have the conversation, and there it is. Afterwards, I'll think it over and see if it's something the character would really say or if it falls into a plot hole. If it's good, I plop myself down and start recreating the conversation in MSWord, praying I remember the key parts to it. That's a big reason why my first drafts are very wordy. I ramble in my thoughts, so these "conversations" ramble a bit, which makes my scenes ramble. But having that instant answer gets me thinking. Sometimes I come up with stuff that just never occurred to me before I talked/acted it out.

Maybe my play character is too much like me, and I really am neurotic. Or maybe it's just my inner thespian having a fit from performance withdrawal. Well, as the saying goes, if it ain't broke...

I'd say back to the MSWord futon, but I'd be lying. Back to the books!

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