Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Writers Weekend

I've set up a writers weekend for the end of this month. Several playwrights will attend, gathering at a house near the Oregon Coast on Friday afternoon. After dinner there's a writing session, where everyone goes off to write. On Saturday, there are three more sessions of just writing. During breakfast and lunch and after dinner a scene or two might be read out loud. After breakfast on Sunday, another writing session. After that, people generally are taking off.

These writing weekends are great for focusing just on writing and getting a lot of work done. The conversations are also wonderful.

I generally take a lap top and laser jet printer and end up printing for people. I can write on a computer, but I really need to see something on the page to rewite.

My first drafts are generally quite rough. I generally know the direction I'm going, but I find out what happens when I get there. And what happens can be different than what I expected. In a writing class I would call this heading North, because I know that by going North a character will find something like redemption, etc. But what that redemption looks like, how it plays out, I have to go North to find out.

I've also written ten minute plays based just on an idea and a set up (two characters in the afterlife in conflict about X), but I've found if I don't have an underlying story to go with the idea and set up, no amount of tinkering will fix that lack of direction and purpose. I've tinkered with some ten minute plays up to a year before I finally got a deeper fix.

Deep meditation is another way I get to that deeper place of what a story is about. I try to lead at least one three hour meditation a month to get to a place of quiet, peaceful mind.