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Friday, January 22, 2010

Word Smith

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! Before we get into today's post - if you haven't watched this clip yet of the Jon Stewart Show, do so immediately. I'm serious. Stop reading, watch it and come back to me. Not only is Jon Stewart's monologue written well, it is a phenomenal bit of acting. Just watch it, okay?

Moving on... I'm in the middle of writing a one act for SLAM Boston and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't written anything in awhile and I forgot how much fun (and work) it is to craft a conversation between two people. Not just a conversation, but a whole relationship. I was talking with one of my roommates yesterday about the TV show LOST. Now, I don't follow the show but I know that the plot is incredibly intricate/complex and as a result must be well thought out. We discussed how the writers must have volumes of notes in their offices (probably under lock and key) about the relationships between all of the characters - who is related, what their favorite foods are, even details down to where their first kiss was and if they've ever had a cavity.

That's the beauty of being a writer (in my case a playwright), you get to know your characters so fully that you know them better than many people in your life. And I like that about writing. I like helping my characters to say "what comes next." I like giving them quirks. Quirks that I possess, quirks I wish I possessed, quirks some guy who sat in my section the other day possessed. And for x number of pages, I get to plan out down to the last punctuation mark, what gets said. That's why I love the theatre. Words don't get jumbled because they are written down on the page for you. If you're the actor, you don't have to search for the right thing to say (the character might... but you don't have to make up what happens next, you've memorized it). The playwright can rewrite what the character wants to say (and I do mean what THEY want to say - if you know the character well enough their next sentence will come naturally as if right out of their mouth and not your pen) until you find the perfect combination of words. More often than not, I wish life was like that. I wish I knew the appropriate thing to say in an awkward situation. I wish knew the proper quip to come back at my tables with when they make an uncomfortable joke. I wish I knew how to be eloquent when I'm flustered. But I don't. So I guess I'll go on writing and playing pretend in hopes that some day, when the time is right, the words will just come to me. Until then however, I think I'm just going to enjoy my weekend.

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