Thursday, August 20, 2009

break on through

So, in case I haven't mentioned it, it appears I have figured out the dreaded synopsis.

For years now, I had been driving myself mad with writing these damn things. For a while, the very word 'synopsis' would have me depressed and away from writing for a week. And I know I'm not the only one.

And every time I had to write one, I would go back to the books and websites I had found to help me along. And every single one of them would mention how a synopsis is sort of like the blurbs you find on books--the two or three short paragraphs designed to sell the book.

And then it hit me. READ SOME.

So I ran into my office and grabbed seven or eight of my favorite books that had these blurbs on them, and read them. And read them again. And again. Until I understood what made them tick.

Within an hour, I had dashed off a better draft of the synopsis for 'A Death in the Family' (still with Mr. Robert's help!).

I know it's not the easiest thing, but thinking of it in terms of the jacket blurb is much more helpful than all the exercises and warnings and crap.

That was the first breakthrough.

While Bill's parents were in town, I had limited writing time, and I was trying to rework some of the next play I was going to send out, 'Pleased to Meet Me' ('A Death in the Family' needs to sit around for a month while it percolates from Paul's suggestions--thanks, Paul!). Before the weekend was up, I managed to re-read the play and put notes down about it. And I had one scene, that was a sloppy, drunk mess (just because the characters are drunk and sloppy doesn't mean the writing needs to be). And I knew that there was a lot of stuff I needed to cut, re-arrange, and the thought of it was daunting. So instead of cutting and pasting on the computer or in real life, I just re-wrote the scene from scratch by hand. I cut out three pages of repetitive nonsense and I think the script is better for it. I had to cut some good stuff out, but I left the better stuff. So you know, be happy that the great stuff is still there, you know?

I sent out a play yesterday. Goodspeed to it.

I know the process of getting a play out is hard, but I really think I was making it harder on myself than was needed because it is so hard. Does that make sense? I kept whining to myself, it's too hard, too much, I don't know what I'm doing. Well, I won't know until I do it. So here I am.

Things are much better on the writing front. I know I need to be creating but I feel like this is what I need to be doing--the uncreative submission process. What's the point of creating more if no one is ever going to see my work? I have to give my children their way into the world.