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Learning how to write

I've spent the last week sick as a dog (with tonsillitis), and it's given me lots of time ... well, to sleep, but in reality it's also given me the time I need to finish my Xmas Carol rewrites, if not the brilliant brain I'd like to make all of my writing coherent.

I've had a bit of time to think about this whole rewriting process. I expected that I'd write a play and then I'd hear people read it and I'd think, this bit is missing, this bit doesn't make sense ... but I didn't think I'd have to keep rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Maybe I thought I'd have to add 20 minutes to fill out a minimum length, or five minutes to let a character get off stage and change her clothes ... or rewrite something from 5 actors to 3 so it could be done affordably in a fringe environment. but I didn't expect I'd be rewriting and rewriting and rewriting, a million things changing again and again ...and the whole experience of writing on a computer is not what I was expecting, I can't just easily find the changes I made and I'm going back to old printed out bits when I'm looking for something I cut earlier so I don't have to make it back up again ...

But I guess what I'm doing is trying to learn how to write plays that work on stage. I know I'm on the right track, because I hear people say things I wrote and they make me laugh and even nearly make me cry - it's the miracle of having actual actors take my little scrawlings and give them life - and there is a monster there that will sit up and walk when they breathe on it. But making actual plays, real plays, not literary works in the form of plays, there's a magic in the flow from one sentence to the next, a lack of room for flab, a feeling of inevitability that has to be conjured in a short time on stage ... and I can't lose my audience or they'll walk out, which is actually a bit more heinous than having someone put down a book as they can come back to it if they want. If I were in college, I would have had several years of my things being done to learn what tweaks help to make it happen, but now I have to learn the much more expensive way, with actors that need to live off of their work, and me just grinding and grinding away in hopes of making even one hour that shines. And I don't think my Xmas Carol will be as good as I want it to be, three stars at best, and it's because it's fatally flawed as a script and I can't figure out what I need to do to make it right. But I'll get it as good as I can before we go on stage in December, and I'll have learned a lot by doing this, and for my next plays, they will be better for it as well. And I'm learning what I need to do to make a play happen: keep your eyes peeled for Three Brothers at the 2016 Camden Fringe, and a cross-cast HP Lovecraft adaptation at the 2016 London Horror Festival.

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