I've been talking alot about this play I'm writing, and today I finished Act 1. Normally, that would be a cause for celebration. For me, it's a cause for confusion. I thought I was writing a long one act. Surprise!
I also thought my main character, Miss Palmer, was a sincere advocate for the preservation of penmanship in American culture. Turns out she's satirical, and maybe not all that heroic. Or likeable, even. I struggled against it, and then Harry Kolatz advised me to get drunk and go with it, so I did.
Go with it, that is.
(Insert winking emoticon here.)
I've never had much patience with writers who say things like, "I just let my characters take over" or "I just listened to what my characters were talking about until I figured out what was going on." Such remarks strick me as precious. After all, aren't you on the other side of the keyboard? Characters don't think, talk, or act without you imposing thoughts, dialogue, or action on them, right?
I'm not so sure anymore. I feel officially taken over by a figment of my own imagination. And all I can say is, "You go, girl!" But if you insist upon adding a second act to my long one-act, you better come to the table with plenty to say.
On Tuesday, I'm driving up to Southampton, NY to attend The Southampton Playwriting Conference, a 10-day playwriting workshop and festival which will culminate (I think) with staged readings of student work. I'll be sitting at the knee of multi-award-winning playwright and artistic director, Emily Mann (Having Our Say, Testimonies), and boy am I ever looking forward to this. I haven't received a schedule or anything yet (and what is up with THAT?!) but I know I'm supposed to submit the first 8 - 10 pages of the play I'm working on for the first day of class. That much, I have.
It will be interesting to me to see what I've got here, if anything. I like it, but hey. I'm me.