Monday, August 13, 2012

Tempests - shaken not stirred

It is very quiet at the moment. As in the time after the tempest, before the next tempest. I’m enjoying the strange calm that has descended on my writing world, I am appreciating it as a small child appreciates a dead jellyfish on the ocean’s edge: by poking at it relentlessly until your mother yells at you to leave the damn thing alone.  

Stop poking it!!!
I have been writing so intensively, in such a dedicated and heartfelt manner that when I finally turned my engine off and listened to the dying sound of the carburettor, I was suddenly engulfed by a weird feeling of stasis. Like a bubble of water dropped onto me at the precise point and I am now like a flea or gnat floating aimlessly in it. I can see that there are things to be done outside the bubble, but it’s quiet in here and pleasantly weightless and strangely warm. 

Me, in bug format.
It is always a weird moment, characterised by all manner of variations on the above, when you have been working in a focussed manner on a script and that time comes to an end. For me it was two scripts – one going to stage in September and the other reaching a first draft via the Fastest Gestation in the West.  

I don’t write plays fast, I write them slow. I am like mother nature, I like to have a good hard think about the finer details before I evolve. I discard words, put them back, discard them and then put them back and then highlight them. I go back and read them after a month and wonder why I highlighted them and then un-highlight them. SLOW. So slow – painstaking even. 

Me and mother nature have so much in common - I love green twig bra's too!
Therefore the writing of a first draft in 6 weeks was like upgrading me from a coal fired engine to the TGV and cracking a whip. I just raced along the tracks screaming “Woahhhhh WOAAAAHHHHH, Oh God please slow down, I might need that word back there...”.

This just looks FAST, doesn't it!
Me: stately, classic, smokey.














I wrote whole scenes and deleted them a week later, I wrote monologues for characters and then doubled them in size and then split them into duologues, triologues and quadrologues. Don’t know if they are words, but that’s me, I’m a risk taker on the vocabulary front.  No, actually I’m not normally, but I am NOW. The thing was, the baby was growing fast and I was getting metaphorical stretch marks all over the place and I had to simply adapt or DIE. Or not adapt. It’s a bit less dramatic. 

In July I gave birth to a moderately sized baby called “Fury”. The best thing about that birth was that as soon as it was out, I was actually getting more sleep. Not less. So that was a turn up for the books. In September I will have to go back to the baby and give it a poke in the arm, and we all know how much they like being prodded. 

Until then: floating. 

See here: I am hanging with the writers at Yeah Write.

8 comments:

  1. Love this description of your writing process. Ellen and I have very different ways we get from point A to point B. Love the pics too, especially the trains. Erin

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    1. Ah, a trainspotter! We have a beautiful old steamy that runs in the hills outside of Melbourne endearingly called "Puffing Billy". Gabe loves it :)

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  2. Hehe. I REALLY enjoyed reading and hearing about your process :) You snagged me in with the great jelly fish comparison... whatever in the world made you think of that? :)

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    1. I was trying to think about something that Gabe really appreciates doing. Well, Gabe in fact does love to poke at those jellyfish remnants that wash up on the beaches round here. And I do spend an inordinate amount of time telling him to leave them alone. Thus - dead jellyfish :)

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  3. I sometimes don't think I write slowly enough. Although a post can sometimes take me all day.

    I love your green twig bra. :)

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    1. Me too, though it's damn uncomfortable.

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  4. I loved reading about your process, and I especially liked the pictures you chose.
    I wish I could slow down a little. You really make it sound so leisurely, which is a far cry from my current "Quickly hammer something out and pray it is coherent" method. ;-)

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    1. Ha! It has it's leisurely moments, but really I'm too precious! This has been an eye opener for me :)

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