Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reviewing the past to look to the future

It's nearing the end of the year and I'm feeling introspective. Usually, this is also the time when that "so what did you accomplish this year, Eleanor?" question starts slowly creeping into my psyche, goals yet to reach.

- theatres who were the lucky recipients of my plays still haven't discovered that my plays would be the perfect vehicle to attract new theatre patrons
Really, and at least in my humble opinion, my usage of words and story lines are good and I should know, seeing that most likely those plays were hibernating on/in my word file for years before they saw the light of day. It's merely a matter of time before somebody discovers that they are a perfect fit for their needs

- in spite of good intentions, still haven't submitted my one and only screenplay, "Skate!" written years ago. 
This children's script is languishing in never-never-land because most likely it requires yet another re-write. The story is based on a childhood experience and thinking back, I wrote it with the help of Syd Field's how-to-write-a-screenplay step-by-step. As a member of a writing forum at the time, I threw caution to the wind and shared a scene or two with other screenwriters for feedback. Reaction was mixed with advice that included not bad for a first shot, amateur effort, interesting story line and go back to the beginning, try again with a re-write, which I did. While going through a box of papers containing writing-related material produced over the years, I came across a manilla envelope, flap enclosed, with the word, "Skate" written across the front. Staring at it for a few minutes, I debated as to whether I should open the envelope flap and go through it .This most likely would result in angst-ing over what is written and what should have/could have been written. Amazing what perspective will do for a story.

- two of my still-in-progress start-up plays are making more-or-less steady if slow progress. 
Why is it that some plays almost write themselves and in others, there are barriers that suddenly arise? Some characters endear themselves to me and make the task easier while others are difficult to get to know.
If you want to see where you've come from and where you are now, browse through old writing projects, especially plays. In addition to hard copies, my Word file is filled with various versions and updates of plays. The problem is that many of them are identified merely by numbers, for example: "blah-blah, #1" or "blah-blah #2" and so on. It's those old insecurities that creep up causing me to question as to whether version one and subsequent re-written versions should be deleted in case they are superior to the latest updated version. I mean, version six could contain gems that could be used in version seven and so on. A while back and upon the realization that I submitted the incorrect version of a play to a theatre, I sent a follow up email apologizing for the mistake and re-sent the right version. Some things can't be undone and sending the wrong version is one of them. That has to be the only reason for the rejection.

What is progress, anyway, and how do you measure or quantify it? Finishing a play, for me, makes the effort a worthwhile endeavor. The big challenge being the production hasn't happened - as yet - note the words 'as yet' - but as I always tell myself, hope springs eternal. Is there anything else?

Yours forever in playwriting,


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