How many of you have tried writing before? Raise your hands.
Yes. Yes. I see. Wonderful.
How many of you have tried writing a play before? Sigh a collective groan.
Yes. Yes. There there… I know what you’re talking about.
I am, quite honestly, in a bit of a rut. Late this past summer, I completed at 96 page first draft of Perfect Pitch: A Post-Punk Play with Music. I held a private reading with some local actors this past October and begun rewriting in November. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the most difficult aspect of playwriting isn’t the first draft… It’s the rewrites.
As it stands right now, Perfect Pitch has some strong, positive elements. It tells the story of a young professional and a young musician who befriend each other at a tumultuous time in both their lives. Cole and Shane bond instantly, but as they fall for each other, their ultimate destinies in life pull them apart. Cole quits his job and he struggles with his responsibility to provide for his terminally ill mother, while Shane’s band strikes it big and tours the world non-stop, mentally exhausting the band. It’s a story about falling in love with your best friend, but realizing you met ten years too early. The John Lennon quote comes to mind: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Those who’ve read the first draft have reacted positively. I’m working from primarily from the criticism that the play needs greater focus, more developed secondary characters and a revamp into a three-act structure. I know what the play needs…in theory. But the discipline that I need to develop is the discipline to cut and rewrite, cut and rewrite. I sit down at the computer, look at the text and think: “But… it’s done, isn’t it? Do I REALLY have to write this again?”
The play needs work and I know I’ll finish a second draft. I’m in a rut, having barely rewritten ten pages in two months. But I’m determined to retake the initiative. At this rate, I’ve been writing the play for close to a year and a half now.
It took Neil Simon more than two years to finish writing his first play. It took two months to write his second.
Puts things in perspective…