T-to-the-A

Staring too long

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on March 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

I’ve been working on one particular play, off and on, for the better part of the year.  It is a truly exciting piece of writing, and I don’t just say that because it’s mine… actually I’m probably less wont to say that because it’s mine.  I say it’s exciting because it is, it’s been very well received, people enjoy it, it’s even a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwriting conference (which is the like one of (if not THE) biggest-damn-deal-playwriting conference in the US – also incredibly difficult to get into, so we’ll be happy with semi-finalist and over the moon about anything further)  BUT, I can’t get the ending… quite… right…

And I’m trying to polish it up, because some theatre companies have been good enough to ask me for it, and I don’t dare send them a draft with attached waiver “By the way, I know the ending isn’t as satisfying as it needs to be, so, you know, cut me some slack and have faith that I’ll fix it!”  NO!  I need to fix it first.  But I’ve been staring at the damn thing so long now that the surprises seem less-than, the actions tired, and the grand revelations unimpressive… Because I’ve read it and fiddled with it and then re-read it over and over and over and… (yawn) You get the picture?  I can’t see it anymore!

The problem with rewriting is that you run the risk of landing yourself in Tinker Cove – a hard-to-get-out-of way station where sentences become needles in your eyes and beats echo in your ears, and you just want to throw the damn thing to the sharks!

(sigh)

But I’m making progress.

I took some time away from the thing, and now, coming back at it, I’m able to appreciate my words with some of the respect they deserve.  I’m able to laugh and gasp a little… and I imagine the first-timers will be able to gloss over that one bumpy word that is driving me crazy, with nary a worry of their own.

Because I’ve been staring at it so long that I am seeing only the flaws and hiccups, the good stuff is like “yeah, yeah, whatever.” in comparison to the glowing snags… but I have to admit, those snags are (probably) only glowing in my eyes.  The overall shape of the thing is pretty damn good.

So I’m trying to be kind to myself, even as I hash out these last few ripples… I’m trying to be confidant in the improvements I’ve made… and I’m hoping, seriously hoping, that the play wins a spot at one of these renowned development centers currently considering it, for the play brings one helluva hard-working perfectionist (me) with it.

I believe in this engine, it just needs a few more hands to help get it started.

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