Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Perhaps a solution to my dilemma is at hand and it's thanks to John Irving.

As a subscriber to playwriting discussion forums, it's interesting and informative to read other playwright's opinions on the craft. Subjects that focus on how they overcome barriers when working out plots and endings is of particular interest to me, at least at this point.

I've shared...make that bemoaned my 'ending' problem ad nauseum here in this blog, attempting to convert a what was written as a short play into an hour radio play in order to enter the BBC International Playwriting Competition. The beginning moves along nicely until reaching the middle stage, at which point one arrives at the realization that there is no ending. This is the point where I question whether to continue pursuing playwriting especially since none of my plays have been produced.

Reading through one of the forums, there was one of those "eureka!!" moments upon reading the opinion (and advice) of novelist and Academy Award winning screenwriter, John Irving, who shared his philosophy on starting a new writing project:

"I begin with endings, with last sentences -- usually more than one sentence, often a last paragraph (or two). I compose an ending and write toward it, as if the ending were a piece of music I could hear -- no matter how many years ahead of me it is waiting."

This got me excited thinking that perhaps this could be a solution to my"never-ending" dilemma or at least something worth trying. There are two possible plays that I'm toying with submitting to the competition. As aside my two-act plays wrote themselves as did my one and only film script. In my wedding play, it ended with a wedding in an unusual setting but I knew exactly the direction the play should go and how it should get there. Does this make sense? My "Gin..." play on the other hand, had a few changes along the way, while my children"s script wrote itself since it was based on a personal childhood experience.

Perhaps I should put aside what has been written and focus on producing sentences that could lead to moving in a new direction or even a new play. Look - if it's good enough for John Irving, it's certainly good enough for me.

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