Wednesday, March 31, 2010

wrestling with that angel, subtext

Yep, it's an ongoing problem. At the risk of repeating myself, I looked back at other entries I have written about subtext, and everything I was going to say has already been covered.

Except this one.

In 'Sand and Water' a pattern emerged that has emerged before in my work, and rather than think it's a bad pattern, something occurred to me.

In the first drafts (maybe up to 12--I've gone there before), I can write whatever I want. Very few people see it, if any. Mostly they are for my eyes only, and a select few I can trust to give me a good opinion. And good opinion doesn't mean saying 'I liked it'. The few I have read my early draft work give me good constructive points on things--and they usually echo what I think myself.

In these early drafts, I noticed the subtext bobbing right to the top, and the characters say it right out loud. Before a few moments ago, I would get annoyed with myself and think, why, why, WHY can't I just bury that crap? I think maybe I need to realize I have to know myself for sure what the subtext is, and then I can bury it. So after my first first first draft, I spend my time grabbing the subtext and figuring out how to bury it. And this comes from knowing my characters well. And mostly I've used The Dramatic Writer's Companion by Will Dunne to accomplish my knowledge of my characters. I used it for the first time a few months ago, and it was super helpful. Some of the stuff I never read again after I wrote it down, but it was fine that way. I had written it out and gotten a better handle on my characters.

So yeah, I still wrestle with subtext. It's generally a pain in the ass, but it's one of those pains in the ass that are good and help you shape your work. So I'll continue to work on burying this subtext and continue to work. Something good is coming out of it--even if it's slowly.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sand and Water

Oh, thank God that exam is over. I am back on the horse, baby!

I'm working on 'Some Gave All' also, but 'Sand and Water' is demanding my attention as well. I have spent a long time gathering information: about the Donahue Triptych, an unbuilt house by Frank Lloyd Wright, building ships in a bottle, aplastic anemia and Frank Lloyd Wright's life.

The painting above, I found during my research. Artist Angela Dufresne painted this. And I just love it. the original building was to be in a desert in Arizona or New Mexico, on top of a plowed down set of three mountains (if I recall correctly, Wright said that he was going to put the tops back on the mountain with the house).

What I love about Dufresne's painting is that it relocates the house to the seaside, which works well for this play. Two of the characters, a husband named Andrew and a wife named Julia, came from the ocean and the desert respectively, so it was a great find.

So I'm working on characters and adding in new dialogue and am working on getting the outline of the play together, the subtext and all that good crap for the play. I love working with a play with only four characters. It's an interesting group of people. It's pretty crazy.

But after getting the certified dietary management stuff taken care of, it's great to be back writing after a month long hiatus.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Too Busy to Come Up With an Insightful Title

So yeah. that picture over there--that's pretty much how things have been going for me in the last couple months. I don't often bring personal things happening into my life onto my play writing blog, but sometimes it has to happen or it will go MONTHS before I update.

My fiance, Bill, is doing a job search and we've thought we knew where we were going at least once, but we are still looking. I don't even want to say on here what is going on, but I will post once we have a better idea of where we are going. Suffice to say, the options over the last few months have looked like that picture. I shouldn't complain--it's been interesting but stressful. Things are good though.

I haven't had much of a chance to get writing done since a couple things have happened.

1. I got accepted to Hollins' playwriting MFA program. I am very excited for this. I have known all along I wanted to go to graduate school, and this program is a great choice for me. Iowa Alum, the summer onlys and location are wonderful. So wish me broken legs and stuff on that.

2. I have an exam I am taking for my other life's job. I am a certified dietary manager (pending certification). This means I have been certified to take the test and after that, providing I pass, I will be a certified dietary manager. This is good because it opens my options for jobs and money up better than anything I've done for my other life so far. I take the exam this coming Saturday so after that we are back on the wagon, friends!

I have been working on several plays, and most of them are in the research stage at the moment: 'Some Gave All', 'Better', and 'Blue Sunny Day'. I am going to pull out 'Sand and Water' and 'Grace Kelly' at some point soon, but I really want to work on 'Some Gave All'. That's the one that's really calling to me.