Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I'll admit, I've been a bit of an ostrich during this whole downturn in the economy thing. I've been trying not to think about the 401k I just started at my day job (hey, I'm only 33, I still got years to put into that thing...but still...) and I am certainly trying to not think about losing my job (luckily this time, I work at a hospital, and it's very difficult to lose a job at a hospital these days especially I think, so hopefully, I will stick on the right path there). But it finally got my attention when I started doing my annual 'weeding of the theatres'.

This is how I figure out who to send scripts to. I spend time going to every website, seeking out new guidelines, figuring out who is still around (I wish I could say that hasn't been a problem) and who is still accepting at least synopsis and samples from the play. This has been disheartening to say the least. I've found at list six theatres who who have either suspended their play development or submission areas indefinitely or who have switched to agent-submissions only.


Stupid recession.

But I am going to keep working my way through. I have a reading of a play that's very tenatively scheduled with a local theatre group (like, we're trying to get people together to just do the reading at this point, so keep your fingers crossed). I need to get my work done out loud, even if I have to bribe people with pizza. That reminds me to check on the availability of a conference room at the hospital I work at for the reading. The only way my writing is going to get better is to get it done in some fashion. So I'm taking it to the streets, baby.

I'm also still working on 'All Shook Up'. I feel much better about the play than I did a couple months ago. It's actually got a plot arch that makes sense now, or at least more sense. It's almost ready to be printed out and torn apart again.

And I have several other things coming down the pike as well.


Friday, December 19, 2008


This isn't a post about normal distractions, like the phone, the mail, cats begging to go out then come in, go out then come in, go out then come in, go out then come in, facebook, facebook, cats begging to out out then come nauseum.

I've had those, I'll have those. But I find this to be more peculiar, and I'm not sure what to do about it.

I've been working on 'All Shook Up' recently and for the page count (close to 60 before I started the 5th draft) it was almost full length length. But it wasn't finished--far from it. I had a bunch of far flung ideas, several scenes that needed to be combined, and some odd character things going on. It was all so dispora, nothing clinging together very well. I'd too much plot, too many character quirks, and nothing very solid.

So here's the funny thing. This play came out of my attempt to do 365 days/365 plays, except I wrote a scene every day instead of a full play. I did if for close to six months before being in a play myself took over my life. And I started this play during that time. I had two scenes that ended up being with the same characters. One was with the main character, Rebecca, realizing she's a virgin yet has been empregnanted by Elvis in her dreams, and the other was another minor character, Mindy, and her desperate love for the Weekly World News (RIP). The first about Rebecca has remained in the play, but I fought hard through all the months I've been working on this play for Mindy and her tabloid obsession, but in the end, I just couldn't make it work.

But it was supremely distracting. I'd never had a character trait fight so hard to exist. I realized this is not the play for this, although you would think that since WWN was all about Elvis sightings and the play itself is about a character getting pregnant by Elvis, it would have been easy, but it simply wasn't working out. It was annoying, but it's how it pans out sometimes.

But I've never had this happen before. It was kind of disconcerting to have something from the play distract me from the play itself. It was novel, but annoying.

So I'm trucking along in 'All Shook Up' now, but it's requiring the biggest editing job I think I've ever done. But It's coming along.

Monday, December 15, 2008

what's wrong

Ever since I finished NaPlaWriMo, I have felt off in my writing. It could be that I've needed a break, and I took one.

But I think I figured out what's REALLY wrong.

I'm a a crossroads. I don't know where to go next. I am not obsessively sending out my work and I know I need to send out more, but I feel sort of stuck.
I'm new to the whole sending out my plays stuff. I don't know what one does. I suppose you just keep sending out plays until someone wants to do it, but I feel like I'm in a vaccuum right now.
And I think that has a lot to do with how I'm writing right now. Maybe not so much the how as not having a group to help me hear my plays out loud. I don't think I know enough people who have the time or the energy to invest in an evening of reading one of my plays out loud and discussing it. I know that the best thing for me is to have people read it out loud, informally, formally, whatever. But I need this so I can know what else I need to do to make it better. Because I feel like I'm a good writer, but plays are meant to be read out loud.
I feel like back in the Quad Cities right now, I would have a much better time with trying to get this done. But you know the grass is always greener and bullshit like that.
I'll admit, I am kind of complaining without doing much work with this aspect. I don't know much about playwriting beyond actually writing the plays and sending a few out here and there. I wish there was some kind of guidebook.
But I can just write my own as I go along. I just need to get it together and get it done.
So nothing's really wrong, exactly. I just need to get my ass in gear.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I sometimes worry about the things I want to write about or have written about. Sometimes I worry that I might be writing something too controversial--that I might be thought of as a bad person or something. That it's not societally correct.

Case in point, a new play I'm working on is about the Goebbels' children (for a quick overview: This story is sad and fascinating. There are some scenes already growing in my head, and yes, at least one or two of them involve Hitler, but a different kind of Hitler that a lot of people might not know about. He loved children, particularly the Goebbels children. So that's intersting. And controversial. Trust me, I never thought I would be saying I'm seeing a side of Hitler I didn't know about.

However, I am not writing a pro-Nazi play or anything. I think it's just interesting to see what was happening there with the children as the center of the play. And one of them, the almost eight year old, Hedwig, or Hedda, is tugging on my sleeve to get my attention and has been for a number of months. She has a story. I will tell it.

But then I realized that I have another play I wanted to write about Janusz Korczak (again, quick overview: This play has been hanging out since 2001 when i took history of the holocaust from Dr. Arthur Pitz at Black Hawk College my last year there. I have several scenes I have planned but nothing has come together--until now.

Here's two group of children, on opposing sides, and a similar fate.

But I'm still kind of concerned about the controversial nature of the work, I don't know. I just am afraid I might be offensive (which it would be to someone ANYONE regardless of what I write about), or I might give the wrong idea. Which is funny since I'm not sure right at the moment is even the whole idea.