A Writer Pushing Himself into Unfamiliar Territory

Here I am at my normal writing location, but today, as the rain crashed the writing party, I find myself sitting out the outdoor restaurant, towel around my shoulders, feet away from the pool, with classic pop music from the 70s and 80s playing in the background.

Actually, not a bad place to write.

What am I working on this afternoon? A full-length play. The working title is “The Magic Pool” – I’m not sure  if that is going to stick or not. The play is clearly within the fable, classic storytelling genre. Quite a change from what I normally write. It’s a fable, allegory, and fairy tale all rolled into one – though there are no fairies, for clarity sake. It’s a story idea that came to me a while back when I was watching Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” at the cinema. Why I thought of it, I don’t know. But I needed an idea for a play to produce in the the spring of 2016, and this is what has been impressed upon my heart. The writing goal is simple: create a play with princesses, witches, villains, heroes, etc… without it being hackneyed and stale. Tall order, I know. But it’s a challenge I’m enjoying at the moment.

I’m not going to get into the plot-line at this point because I’m still working through A LOT of issues, but that is precisely the point of this post. I’ve realized that it’s a great writing exercise for me to write a full-length drama from time to time. I write many short plays, as you might have noticed. When I’m not novel writing, I’m almost always writing a short play of some sort which I use for festival entries, forensics competitions or with my drama group the RLT Players. But I’m realizing that full-length drama is a completely different beast. I haven’t written by myself a full-length drama since “Romans on the Couch” during Christmas 2010. It’s about time.

I’ve said before that I think writers of novels can benefit from writing drama from time to time because of the unique way that dialogue is needed to build character development. This is doubly true when writing full-length dramas. When I write my 10-minute plays, the objective is very focused. The story-line is streamlined and it’s rather easy to write a tight script when dealing with only a few characters.

But as I’m re-learning, writing a full-length drama requires compromise and patience. It’s a complex maze, not completely unlike putting a novel together – minus the description. It forces me to stay disciplined in my thoughts, and I have to remember many different characters and objectives and settings and flawlessly weave them all together. Not easy, that’s why it’s good for me. Anytime a writer pushes his/herself in unfamiliar ways is a positive endeavor.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. I hope to publish it by December.

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