T-to-the-A

Playing Janitor

In Essays, Playwriting, The Daily Drool on May 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

Rewriting… it’s not my favorite thing.  

In fact, I quite generally dislike it, greeting its obnoxious little face with all the enthusiasm of a cooked noodle; “But I just punched the last period!  Why can’t I be DONE?”  It’s the discovering of the story that is my favorite part.  I love puzzling my way along, ironing out kinks and solving mysteries… and there is nothing better than the high of reaching the end of a satisfied script.

But then the hard part begins… the readings and the discussion, the note taking, note disecting, and note applying.  Agh!  It’s enough to make you want to pull out your hair sometimes, as you strive to make what is good, even better.  And sometimes you just want to throw draft 2.5 at people with a firm “It’s finished!”

And some people do.

But it’s the cleaning it up that can make a good script fantastic.

So I dutifully don my janitor cap, and go to work cutting darlings, sharpening dialogue, and polishing rough edges.  

This past month I have been working on one script in particular, a script I was already quite pleased with.  I’ve been trying to raise the stakes, get my main character more active… It’s been rough going.  But I found that the more I asked myself “Is this the best you can do?”  I kept answering with a pouty “No.” and heading back to it.  And you know what?  I’m really glad I did.  Because today, as I look over the latest revisions, I can honestly say it is much more compelling than it was.  I did a massive rewrite, and it’s demonstrated to me the difference between pure inspiration and skill.

Because it’s hard to finish things.  

Some people have the idea and never act upon it.  Others act, but don’t follow through.  It’s a smaller fraction still that can see things al the way to the finish line, and that finish line is where the pay-offs are.  It’s that finish line that makes the difference between being a talented writer and being a talented working writer.

And I want to work!

So I’ve been developing this script for nearly a year now – from it’s inception to outline to first daft to current – and that’s a long time to spend with your creative babies, but I’m so happy I have because I can honestly say that it’s very nearly, maybe one more little polish away, from being ready to send out.

And for a girl who’s about to embark on her agent search, a kick-ass screenplay to go with all her playwriting experience is just what the doctor ordered!

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