Friday, February 19, 2010

Finally Cooking!

At last! My terrible, horrible bout of writer's block has broken! And none too soon, because the project the scene is part of is due on Monday! I am not actually using the trouble scene as part of my presentation, though I do have to turn in an edited version.

The breakage happened on Wednesday. We had sort of a work day in class and so for about half the class, I just read over everything I had that related to the project- the two scenes I had written, all the notes I had taken, my page of random thoughts about the Peter Pan story as a whole and what could be done with it... and then something clicked. One peice fell into place, then another. The brainstoriming I did with my friend Kara the other night really helped me create a skeleton of the synopsis. I formed ideas, rejected them, brought them back and remolded them, cast other ideas aside. Instead of getting hung up on the questions, I made a note that there were questions and moved on. Our teacher had given us permission to leave early if we wanted, but I stayed the entire time until I was one of only three people sitting in the classroom, writing and writing without any distractions. Then yesterday, I took all the notes I had made and typed them up, filling in the holes and answering the questions as I went. And now I feel pretty good abuot the project. I wish I were further along, but it's merely technical reasons (the library being closed and not having my own printer) that I'm not. But I'm actually excited about my presentation on Monday :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Frustration

I should know how to do this. I've been writing plays since I was seven years old. But now, suddenly, I'm faced with the prospect of writing a scene- one scene- based on or inspired by material that's been around for over a hundred years, and I can't do it!

This is so frustrating. That little cursor that begins a blank page has been blinking at me all day. Though we only have to write one scene, we have to approach this project as if we're being commissioned to write an entire play, so we need to have a general synopsis. I talked it over with my friend Kara, who had read the scene I've complained about in previous posts, and she helped me sort out the ideas I already had and also extracted some extra stuff from the scene, as well as giving suggestions over her own.

Now I sort of have an idea of what I want to do... but only sort of. I wish I would just stop thinking so hard over this.

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's probably best that I waited to write this entry, because I was too upset to write well earlier this week.

What am I talking about? What else- the scene for Children's Theatre. The experience is all coming back to me as I type up my weekly reflection, which includes a question about what we gained from the assignment. I feel bad wrting "nothing", because that's not true at all and it makes it seem like a bad assignment. It wasn't a bad assignment; my writing just sucked. Seriously. I am not being modest or anything- it was bad.

Okay, I'm not being modest, but I may be being a little dramatic. My writing wasn't terrible, I guess. There were parts of my scene that I was proud of, like how I matched the style of dialogue with Barrie's (to the point where my roommate, who is also in the class, asked me if it was an excerpt from the play. Unfortunately, she hadn't really meant it as a compliment.) I was also proud of how I revealed the big "surprise" of the scene, which could easily have been extremely soap opera-y and dramatic, but I worked for literally hours crafting that one line to make it both chilling and undramatic (is that a word?)

However, nicely crafted dialogue and subtley revealed secrets only make for great scenes when you fill the requirements of the scene. I failed so badly that it still brings tears to my eyes. I just don't know what to do to understand this stuff. I would love to be a playwright, but if I can't understand the concept of the dialectic, how can I do that?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I have always been really protective of my writing. Well, maybe not always- I was quite a confident little kid and had a reputation as a good writer in elementary and most of middle school. But when I got to eighth grade and was accepted into a tough advanced writing class, I realised that there were people better than me and I kind of shut down and became very secretive about my writing. To this day, there are only a few people to whom I show my writing.

So in Children's Theatre, we were asked to write a two-person scene that, in the course of the action, involves a change one or both of the characters' worldview. I have been working on this scene since at least Friday morning. I finally, finally finished it this morning with the help of my mom (who I have never, ever shown my writing to). I am so relieved it's done, but I don't know how good it is. I've actually shed tears over this scene. It not really because I think my writing is bad, but because I'm feeling the pressure of having it read in front of not only my teacher, but her playwrighting teacher. I hope it's all right...

On another note, Melissa is having a nifty contest on her blog, so check it out!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Learning to Adapt

I have mentioned before my Children's Theatre and I will probably talk about it occasionally for the next few months because WOW do I love it! It's funny that I say that because I was quite scared of children's theatre before, thinking it a scary, foreign animal of acting. But in addition to finding out that it is, in fact, no such thing, I am also loving the class so much because we're talking about writing and adaptation.

Adaptation is something I've been interested in since... before I knew what it was. It's natural for children to mimick, and naturally I gravitated toward my favorite stories. As I grew older and continued to be an avid reader, I found myself wanting to play certain characters from the books I devoured, and this led me to adapt the stories.

In the past few years, there are certain books that really jump out at me for adaptation. The biggest one is For Freedom, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I have a half-written screenplay based off of it and one day, I would love to get the rights to truly adapt it (I think it would make a wonderful stage play as well as movie; I'd love to do both, but especially the stage version.)

I always thought this dream was one that I'd secretly stew over, secretly and illegally adapting bits and peices of novels into plays that would never be mounted on a stage. But this class is showig me that perhaps I can actually do this- and what a wonderful class to discover this in! Our teacher is a produced and published playwright herself, so who better to teach us about the subject? I have a new hope about what I can do... and maybe one day, I'll just succeed :)