Warning–this is a longish entry
Find the Right Form, Then Make it Look Easy with your Technique
That’s really what good writing and good performing are all about. Finding the right form for the expression of your ideas and then making it as if it were completed with ease.
In performance the right form can mean, using puppets, props, degree of audience involvement, length of performance, using the fourth wall, interacting with the audience, live, film, music, and more. In writing form runs the gamut from poem to flash fiction to short stories, novels, essays , creative non-fiction, standard non-fiction and then there is the whole genre thing—literary, mystery, humor, and more. Often, the creative thought chooses its own form somewhat like the Harry Potter concept of the wand choosing the wizard.
Which brings me to what I am going to share with you today. I am not sharing the work itself because it will be produced in February but has not yet been published.
The name of the work, now a ten-minute play, is “Pinpoint Wisdom” It first saw the light of page about five years ago as a short story. I wrote it as a challenge to myself, to those in the creative world who were slamming my entries to various short story contests, rejecting them out of hand because they were not “literary” fiction. I decided to try my pen in this genre. The saying/ question, “How many angels are on the head of a pin?” came to mind. I like this because it seems deep but in working out my tale
The story came into being as a dialogue heavy work in which I determine that the wrong question is being asked by th echaracters. My critique group liked it. Using their comments, I polished my story and sent it off, waiting to be embraced by the literary journal world. A few “reading fees” later, I determined that my cost was exceeding any benefit of seeing the tale published and put the story away for a while.
Various contests challenged me to remake it,–as an all-dialogue short, a poem, and more.. Still failed. Finally I saw the Ft. Point Channel contest. 10-minute play involving dance.
Hmmm, my characters dance in the story. I groaned. The discipline of play writing is not for the lazy or faint of heart. Because I ‘m a performer, I can shift focus to staging easily. But when I do it for myself, I don’t have to meet the conventions of stage formatting which is a pain in the neck to write for those not used to it.
Sigh. I researched the form, and doubled down . Hours later it was done—first draft that is. Then I polished and polished again. At last, I sent it in. Then, I forgot about it.
Amazement! My play was accepted and will now be produced! The right format for this thought was stage. But it took me five years to find the right format.
And in shaping it, each time I had to submit a program that was well crafted enough for technique to promote the tale.. Technique should never be in the way/ It should be your box of tools. The house or finished piece should be smooth and lovely. All of those times you hit your finger with the hammer, that’s all forgotten,. The crooked nails you had to pull out and replace, the changes of size, color, etc—none of that should show in the finished product. Of course you have to know what kind of house (format) you are building. Each time I switched, I had to re-think technique, so the constant reshaping of my work was a graduate course in creative writing.
Persistence, attention to craft and to the demands of each form. Now my work will live in a different way, as a play! My first. A director and actors will interpret my work for an audience. As a performer, it makes me rethink how I shape and present the words of others when I am on stage. Humbling. Exciting!
So, don’t give up on a piece that is languishing in your computer. Maybe it should be presented in another form. Don’t skimp on the craft of that other form and format. No matter what, rethinking and reshaping will give your mind a creative boost.
See below for the playbill with my name in it as playwright—Mine is one of six ten-minute plays being offered on the Valentine’s weekend in Boston.
So, I just found the playbill in my email(draft). So exciting!
I cannot thank Ft. Point Theatre Channel enough for selecting my show, Pinpoint Wisdom!.
The play is being produced on Feb 13 and 14, contact for tickets(free) is below)
https://www.facebook.com/events/328361430684525/ is the FB page to find out more about everything…
Tickets for Channel/Dance are free. You can reserve a seat below or just show up and take a seat until we are full! Half the seats will be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.