Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Murder your Draft: Playwrights Primal Blueprint

So let's talk about revision for just a second. When you make your first draft you pour your heart and soul into it. You've taken life events and characters stolen from people you've met and created a story that's very meaningful to you and is now a part of your soul. You've already got all the parts cast in your head with all of your favorite movie stars or friends playing the leads and you already have a moving picture in your head about how that play is going to look like onstage.

But there's just one's not onstage yet. It's only home is in the stage of your mind or dead on your page. And because you're so connected to the story you are blind to some of the main problems with it. Like every good parent you are blind to your child's shortcomings. But here's the thing, the play will never grow and become all that it's destined to be without going through some development and revision. So now like the Pheonix that has to die to be reborn you have to kill your draft to turn it into a play! Here are some ways that you can do it.

Borrowed from Inkspiration

  • Take some time off: get away from your play for a little bit and possibly start working on another. That shifts all the magic and labor of love onto some other project so when you look at a past draft you start looking at it more realistically. In fact mail it to yourself and when you open up the envelope look at it as critically as a prospective reader would. What stands out and what falls flat.
  • Get a reading as quick as you can: Get people to sit around the couch or coffee table and read it aloud for you. Don't worry about picking people that fit the character perfectly. Like a child struggling to walk for the first time an initial reading will tell you where the script falters.
  • Kill a character: Rewrite the play as quickly as you can but this time get rid of a character, get rid of a scene, keep everything but a new ending...Try to stretch the mind past the initial words on the page and force yourself to think about what choices could be made to make your story tighter, better, and more likely for someone to want to produce it.
So there you go! You have your draft and a story now kill it and start chipping away at the things that reek of "first draft" and see all the things that your play could be! 

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