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In the name of writing a play I have:
Done all of my washing and ironing. And then some washing that, if I were to be totally honest, could have waited.
Compiled the order in which everyone should (ideally and for maximum enjoyment) read every Virginia Woolf novel.
Caught up with the Guardian theatre blog.
Read a lot of twitter.
Lamented my lack of biscuits.
Spent time working out what is the best (free) App to use for dictation.
Read the internet. Yes, all of it (or something like that)
More productively, though, I have:
Written the first five minutes of the play.
Read things that confuse me about hedge funds.
Written lots of notes on to lots of separate pieces of paper.
Dictated several random half-thought-monologues.
Typed up three pages of other random-half-thought-monologues and lines.
Thought, decided, then re-thought and re-decided exactly who my characters might be.
Told real-life people about the play. Thus making it even more pressing that I actually finish the bloody thing.
Drunk coffee, walked through London with my music on and just thought.
In many ways this is the exciting bit. There’s still the endless possibility. It also means the release of pure joy that won’t come again until I can see the end of this draft. And that, as far as understatements go, is nice.
Next week, though, I’m making myself be more disciplined – I’m going to try and eliminate things like reading the internet in its entirety and replace them with solid page counts. So, erm, twenty pages in the next week? We’ll see.
I always envisaged that the WBN blog would be a mishmash of many things, not only the work we’re making* but also of theatre and writing in a more general way.
As of today I officially started writing a new play. I’ve written a couple of one-act pieces in the last 12 months, but not a full-length extravaganza. At this stage I don’t quite know where or how this play might go, I don’t know if it’s a WBN project or not, I don’t know – with all the uncertainty of a new script – if I will ever show it to anyone.
I’m telling you this because I’ve previously found keeping a writing diary useful for bigger projects. Generally I go out and buy a new notebook (yes, like many writers before me I have a relationship with new stationery that borders on the worrying) and begin work there. This time, however, I’m going to plot it on here. One – because I think it might (hopefully) be an interesting record of a writer’s process (or lack thereof). Two – there’s nothing like a watching audience to shame you into continuing. So I’m aiming to keep my patched notebook come scrapbook on here. Which is either genius or insanity. I’ll come back to this at the end of the process.
Today I’m going to set out some of my rules and starting points for this play (yes, I have rules when I start plays. This speaks volumes about me).
The big ones:
I’m aiming – no demanding – that I’ve finished a first draft of this play in six weeks. Generally once I’ve got writing I write quickly and hard, so in and of itself this isn’t too unrealistic. Providing life doesn’t come and bite me in the butt or something. Six weeks from here puts us in mid October. So, come October the 14th I’m wanting a printed copy in my hand.
The idea I’ve got for the structure of this play makes the text a little bit more fluid than anything I’ve written before. Having loved the process of working on Reasons For Listing, where I went into a rehearsal room with what I labelled draft 0.75, I want to let this script loose on actors almost as soon as it’s written. I want it to grow from this starting point and I’m quite keen to have some element of music or dance or juggling or kazoo playing (or maybe not) that’s integral to where it goes and what happens to it next.
And my thoughts as things stand now:
This is a play about…
*And though we might have been a little quiet on that front recently, be assured we’ve been beavering away in the background. Even if the beavering did turn into an extended sojourn in Edinburgh, of which you can read more about on my personal blog. I’m also going to grab Charlie and force him to do an audioboo about his first experience of Edinburgh Fringe