I’m not a Playwright

9 02 2013

Words well within me, an unquenchable passion, until my fingers transfer them to the page. Writing, flying for my soul and spirit, frees me like nothing else.

Penning a play – especially one that must be performed within ten minutes – just doesn’t offer the same joyful release.

Two Problems

  • Story line: Really, what sort of story that has any plot development or character arc can be told in ten minutes? Solely with dialogue. In a single setting and make it a simple one. It can only be a snippet of a story and yet, the instructor expects it to have the richness of a full-length work.
  • Stage directions: I am bogging my script down with stage directions. Even as I know this, I feel the only way to develop my characters is to show their facial expressions and body language. So much can be said in narrative. My story seems empty if I don’t insert these specific emotions and actions for the characters.

I’d Rather Write a Story

I keep telling myself that the only difference between what I’m writing for this workshop and what I love to produce is the format. Instead of using paragraphs and quotation marks and endless lines of prose, I’m typing stage directions and parentheticals and character names.

I’m not fooling myself. I’ll be surprised if I pull the wool over the eyes of my professor and classmates.

The story is shallow and the characters don’t have time to be fully developed. They will appear onstage as completely formed, speak their lines and exit.

In the end, I’m hoping for a few chuckles over my preposterous premise. If I could change the world in ten minutes I would have some sort of dedicated following, wouldn’t I?

Have you ever written in a form that felt uncomfortable and unworkable? I’d like to hear your story.

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5 responses

12 02 2013
maricelmar

I really wanted to be a creative writer. I like also to learn how to stimulate people’s feeling when they listen or read my article. Hmmm… I am very novice writer. Any tips?

12 02 2013
sharonhughson

Have your writing be “in the moment” by using strong, active verbs and descriptive language that is realistic rather than flowery.
Example: The history exam was the hardest thing I’d ever faced in my life.
Or: My brain quivered like Jello when I completed the 90-minute history exam.
I would recommend following Kristen Lamb’s blog and checking out some other writer’s blogs. Many of them focus specifically on techniques to improve writing. I’m looking more at the college student angle of life – for now.
I really appreciate your visits and comments.
— Sharon

13 02 2013
maricelmar

Thank you Sharon. that’s a big help…

19 02 2013
beautiful loser

When I first started writing plays, I was terrified. I think the best thing I’ve heard as advice for 10 minutes plays is that every piece of dialogue has to reveal something about the charecter or advance the plot. You don’t really have time for anything else. And once you write it, read it aloud or better yet, have someone act it out and watch it. You will be able to see what does and doesn’t work.

19 02 2013
sharonhughson

Thanks for this great advice. I’m in the revising, cutting (who knew 10 pages was so little) and polishing stage since the play is due for my class by Sunday.

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