Naplwrimo 2009 Burst #3: 8 or 9 Things to Try by Mead Hunter
8 or 9 things to try with your playwriting this month, as long as you’re at it:
- Be reckless. Give no thought to how a director or producer could ever produce what you’re writing. If your play calls for the galaxy to get sucked down a bathtub drain, how that will ever get realized on stage is just not your problem.
1a. Out there in the wide world are plenty of people to advise you against having 22 characters and five acts in a play that spans seven generations. Right now, you’re not writing for them. Run with the ball!
- Getting something down on the page is the important thing. Don’t worry about elements like theme, motifs, etc. These will emerge gradually; you can always tease them out in subsequent drafts if you want.
- This is an old trick, but it really works: as you fall asleep tonight, think of the place in your script where you stopped writing today and stage it in your mind. When you awake the next morning, you’ll know happens next.
- Hopefully you already do this, but: once you’ve written a new scene, read all the dialogue aloud. Sometimes the characters will wind up telling you what they want to say.
- Once you have several scenes written, go back at look at each one. What if you truncated these scenes at the precise moment where each one achieved its dramatic purpose? How would that affect its linkage to the following scene?
- Writing a play in a month need not mean retreating to your comfort zone. See what happens if you don’t. If you tend to write large, constrain yourself to claustrophobic settings. If you’re usually more genteel, kill a few characters off. Surprise yourself.
- Remember the old Playwriting 101 exercise of cutting every other line to see what that tells you about your story? If you get stuck, this little stand-by can be a nice little jolt of discovery. Or annoyance. But that works, too.
- Above all: have fun!
Mead Hunter has finally stopped shilling for regional theater and instead has hung out his own shingle: SuperScript Editorial Services. Stop by any time...
Thank you Mead Hunter for great tips as rhinos hit the half way mark of Naplwrimo 2009 !
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