Tag Archives: rewrite

Writing “Crazy”…

I have been working on writing “crazy”.  There has to be a way to write it where it can be intense and alive off the page.  Not the crazy way out there kind of crazy but the almost perfectly sane, breaking beneath the surface kind of crazy.  I have been working internally on this for over a year now because I don’t really rewrite and know that if I haven’t solved it inside, it ain’t coming out any time soon.  Yes, I said it.  I am one of those.  I am not completely averse to rewriting but I haven’t had a play to date that has warranted me rewriting it.  I do tweak here and there.  My plays live internally so long that by the time they come bursting out I am in need of some serious Kegel exercises to get myself back to the place where I can begin again – conceiving/growing another play…  I have never seen a parent of a new born cutting limbs and shoving things in odd places on their newborn so I can’t see doing it to mine…  The sheer exhaustion of pushing out a play is enough to make me feel “crazy” without reorganizing parts. Never apologize for how you get the words to your page.  I am a firm believer that one of the things that makes Art – art, is how it is filtered through the artist…

I have heard Edward Albee say the following in person regarding rewrites:

Edward Albee: I don’t rewrite. Well, not much. I think I probably do all the rewriting that I’m going to do before I’m aware that I’m writing the play because obviously, the creativity resists — resides — in the unconscious, right? Probably resists the unconscious, too — resides in the unconscious. My plays, I think, are pretty much determined before I become aware of them. I think they formulated there, and then they move into the conscious mind, and then onto the page. By the time I’m willing to commit a play to paper, I pretty much know — or can trust — the characters to write the play for me. So, I don’t impose. I let them have their heads and say and do what they want, and it turns out to be a play.

You can read the rest of this interview at the Academy of Achievement website : http://achievement.org/autodoc/page/alb1int-4

I adore Edward Albee.  He’s a big reason why I work so hard on my craft.

Back to writing “crazy” – I saw “Silver Linings Playbook” today (David O. Russell, screenplay; Matthew Quick, novel, also directed by Russell).  What awesome writing! What a story…  The different levels and forms of crazy that people can be…it was like being in a “how to” seminar. And, the actors were phenomenal – all of them. This film answered a lot of questions about how “crazy” can be realized through story fearlessly.

Regarding my story — the one I need to write crazy in — I was afraid to let Valpecula have her full say…afraid I would edit her before her words could find air — something I never want to find myself doing because then, I’d have to rewrite.

Here’s to “crazy” and writing it fearlessly…

Act Two Hell, Part 2

I hate act two.

Act one is like planning a party, imagining the guests you’ll invite, the food, the decorations, your ensemble you’ll wear. Act two is picking up dirty napkins and loading the dishwasher. It’s no fun.

But I’ve promised my laundry list of tricks to survive act two hell.

1 – Step back. Ask yourself why the heck did you want to write this play in the first place? What did you want to say? Is that what you wrote in the first act? No? Then what did your act one actually say? Is that enough for you to finish? Or would you just as soon abandon it like the last three plays…

2 – Stop. Act two is the place all the seeds you planted in act one are supposed to pay off. The devil whispers that you’ve planted duds and you should pull them out and start over. Do not listen to this voice.

Go back and read act one. Note the gifts you’ve given yourself – the possibilities for payoff in act two, the unexplored qualities of character that sneak out in dialogue, all the clues you left behind for you to find.

3 – Next, ask yourself what you DO know about act two. Write those things down. It’s likely that you know one scene that needs to go in act two. Write that scene.

4 – Give yourself permission to write a really bad scene. The more lousy, the better. Of course, what happens is usually there’s something wonderful buried in that muck. And you can dig it out tomorrow and use it to start that new scene.

5 – Don’t throw anything out. Make a separate file for it. Or stick it at the end of your script. You’ll probably never need it or use it. But it’s nice to know it’s there. A writer’s security blanket.

And one last word of inspiration:

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the
unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Hans Hofmann (1880-1966)
Abstract expressionist painter