Alien Invader

Developing a New Play

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A down period of productivity

So I haven’t done a whole lot on the play as of late.  Well, I have and I haven’t.  A couple of weeks ago I went through and rewrote Act I, but I did not really rewrite so much as reword.  You see, after having lived with Act I for six months or more, several lines which once were witty and fresh have become stale, cumbersome, annoying, and/or ineffective.  So I went through and reworded several lines, probably a majority of the lines, sometimes just changing or deleting or adding one word, other times completely rewording the line.  

In other instances, especially when a character has a monologue of sorts, I’ve generally cut phrases and sentences.  I have a tendency to be wordy in first drafts, in order to be crystal clear.  Now I am in a mode where I try to cut as much as I can before the meaning of the line starts to get too muddy.  I figure that since I am going to be in rehearsal with the actors, any lines that do not have obvious meanings on the page will still be “safe” because I could just give the actors the “answer.”  Though, I will only do that as a last resort, if the actors ask.

An unexpected obstacle or setback is that I have lost the hard copy of the play that I had when we had the read-through back in May.  This is not too terrible because it’s not like I completely rewrote the play during the reading, but it did help a little because I circled lines that were awkward, and starred lines that got laughs, and wrote little notes.  Hopefully I’ll find that soon, but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world.

The next step is the dreaded second act, which I hope will resolve itself in my mind soon.  Right now Act II fails in many respects, and doesn’t follow through with many of the “promises” that Act I makes.  Not that Act II is a total mess and needs to be rewritten from scratch—in fact I’d say most of it is usable—but the problem is that is sometimes runs out of dramatic fuel, or moves at an uneven pace, and doesn’t reach the extreme high-tension that it needs to.  Most importantly, some of the characters’ arcs aren’t really resolved at all, or are resolved in a quick the-author-is-running-out-of-time way.

I’ve put off rewriting because of other writing projects I’ve had, the biggest of which was writing a one-act murder mystery, but that’s done, so now I have no excuse to delay it any longer (except, perhaps, that I have no answers to the questions that remain).  I will feel much better going into rehearsal if I know that I’ve got a solid, excellent second half written.  

Time to gear up for some serious thinking and rewriting. 

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