Monday, May 3, 2010

Hey, I'm Interesting!

The semester is winding here at my school. Today is the last day of classes, which means that at ten am this morning, my last official Children's Theatre class took place. Though we are technically meeting twice more to finish up final project presentations, I am so sad that this class is over. It was easily one of the best classes of my college career so far, despite all the stress I went through over my Peter Pan project.

And speaking of that project, I presented it today! Every time I met with my professor or even talked to her, she would congratulate me on all the work I had done on the script. Until last night, I accepted the compliment but never really believed that I was worthy of it; I just didn't feel like I had really done that much work. But what I realised last night was that I really have done a lot of work on the project- it just doesn't seem like it because, well, I'm a writer and writing is what I do for fun. And yes, the script was hard work, but I enjoyed every minute of writing it, so I didn't see it as work, really.

After I met with my teacher last Wednesday, she asked me if there was anything she could do to help me with the project. I had given her a copy of the three scenes I had written and said that if she had time, I'd love to hear her comments on them. She's doing a lot of writing work of her own, as well as a million other things, but since she rocks, an e-mail popped into my inbox around noon on Saturday- her comments. I was scared to click on it- what if they sucked? But eventually I did and was ecstatic at what I found- she loved them!

Of course, they were in no way perfect- even after the rewrite for today, they still need a lot of work- but she really liked them and gave me a lot of great suggestions. I gave one of the scenes a huge facelift, finished one of the scenes that had been incomplete when I handed it in, and made a few smaller conventional changes to the third one. There are still a lot of changes I want to make-I am struggling a lot with Peter's voice (he sounds too mature for his age and attitude) and though the play is set from the 1860's to the 1890's, I need to make sure the dialogue isn't so old-fashioned that it sounds stilted.

But even though I want to do all of those things, my presentation went very well. I had to explain why I chose to continue with the script, as doing so wasn't actually an option, and my explanation was simple- I am passionate about the story and feel it needs to be told.
I cast all of my classmates in the scenes for the staged readings, so four or five of them would be onstage while the others would watch. The actors did quite well in their characters, and the best part was the audience reaction- I got great laughs and "aw"s and gasps of surprise- pretty much everything I wanted from my audience, I got. YES!

A required part of the presentation was a Q&A at the end, where we were allowed to ask questions of the audience and vice versa. I asked them a few questions, and got some great, great stuff- some suggestion were made about the plot that I've already got penciled in, some awesome questions were asked that made me want to delve even further into the material. And the absolute best part of the Q&A session was when one of my classmates raised her hand to ask a question and said, "Your writing just always keeps me interested."

There are few compliments better than that. If a writer's compositions don't keep their readers' attention, there's a problem there. I know I have a ways to go before I'm a Libba Bray or a Neil Simon, but I hope that being an interesting writer is a baby step in that direction.

Now that the project itself is over, I'm ready to continue work on the script- for real. Now I'm not writing for anyone but myself as I develop the story. With my classmates' and teacher's support, encouragement, and suggestions, I am confident and ready to put in the work!

In completely unrelated stuff, I have been obsessively listening to When You're Home from Into the Heights for the past day or so. You should check it out. I haven't seen the show, but the song is so catchy.

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