Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Check in the Mail

I received a check today for Betting the Karmic House being published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays for Three or More Actors (2005) by Smith and Kraus, edited by D. L. Lepidus. I'm always happy to get a check for anything theater related.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sylvia Beach Hotel Sojourn

I managed to stay four days at the Sylvia Beach hotel in Newport, Oregon. The hotel is well-known for having rooms decorated for individual authors. I was in the Oscar Wilde room. There's a Mark Twain room, Sr. Seuss, Edgar Allen Poe, etc. I wrote 50 pages of a new play while there. The hotel has a beautifully arranged, comfortable reading area on the third floor. Many, many readers are up there every day. I found a table where others did puzzles that I could set up my laptop (I bring a full-sized keyboard; I hate tiny laptop keys).

Many people staying at the hotel raved about the unpretentious accommodations, and that two cats roamed about, finding people to sleep with at night. Breakfast was a communal affair, easy to meet others. A formal dinner was optional, but it included much time to visit others and play a game called Two Truths and a Lie. I ended up not playing, a disappointment to others. I have an issue with lying, that it's wrong to do and weakens me. I didn't explain that, but on a few nights I found it easier to go out to Burger King, which also gave me more time to write (dinners take about two hours, with a leisurely presentation of food and much conversation).

I did get a lot of work done on a new, full length play. I had an idea for a story (about people who feel they have a special destiny in life), some characters, and a destination to aim for, and an opening scene in mind before I arrived. So when got there, mostly I just wrote. After three days of full time writing, I had 50 pages (I was aiming for 60) but then I burned out, so I spent my last day rewriting my opening scene/first ten pages. I'm a terrible first draft writer, but writing helps me get to a deeper place of understanding about my characters and helps me flesh out my plot.

I once wrote with someone who is a first draft writer. With her, you did a first draft, polished it, you were done. My writing as a way to see where I was going didn't work at all for her. She was great about talking through story/character/plot ideas before writing, but not so much during or after.

I do enjoy working with others and sounding out ideas and developing characters, but the give and take of a partnership can be difficult.

Since I've learned about the mechanics of storytelling, I find when I get a first draft done, there's something there I can build on.