It’s with that fine line of setting up a bantering scene, noticing these two characters I’ve been working with in a scene where they have been duking it out with snarky and bilious manifestation, in which I’m noticing I’m only just scratching the surface with them–wondering if there’s enough comedy within that bantering that has me reworking a scene more times over. What I’m starting to think is that the bantering needs to stay, but as part of the underbelly for what I really need to have them be on page with one another, which can help if I work more vividly with more of their individual idiosyncrasies–looking, perhaps, more into the absurdities of their idiosyncrasies. I’ve been struggling a bit with this scene simply because I’ve noticed with both of these characters, when working more on drafting their biographies, that they are both eccentric, one, however, more than the other in a dry way minus the different levels that they both really need to be on. I need to aim more for strong absurdities that don’t so much parallel one another; and even though both character behavior sets may be absurd, the different levels of them can sustain better the bantering. Yet the absurdities need to be pitted with more bizarre countenance in one character where one character feels he/she has to win all the time; and the other character feels that he/she has to be the center of attention.
One of most interesting things I’ve noticed with playwriting is ideas generating from personal experience–at least I’m noticing this in my own approach with it. Sure. It’s fiction. And embellished. But at the heart, or the core, from where I start, personal experience seems to fit. Sometimes personal experiences are merely avenues to begin at. And that’s where brainstorming more readily connects. After that, I’ve noticed some ideas configure better with what’s called “intention”–a focal area that I’m learning about in my class and beginning to capture inside my drafts. It’s not just character biographies that orchestrate details. I wasn’t yet done. The missing link is the intention. Sounds easy enough, but intention is the adaptive key necessary along with characters and details about them. The root of their existence is their intention. Intent isn’t simply what characters’ plans happen to be, it’s what the characters want and how they are going to get it. So linking intention to each character and continually reminding myself that there is a purpose or more of a reasoning for their existence with intention becomes centerpiece for me with organizing the play. As a writer, I get a quicker take, or so I notice more with intention, how charged or uncharged their emotions are and how far they actually get emotionally. If you don’t have intention, you really don’t have a play. It’s not only the building block, obviously, after you set up your character bios and have forged a path with them, but the path becomes more set as long as your characters get that intentional advantage that you need to apply.
I’ve learned it’s encouraged for a playwright to take an acting class, to visualize your play and, in general, see what an actor goes through in terms of understanding more the intention of your play, that your own intent as a playwright and what you have created with your characters also resonates with what your characters are wanting and what they are trying to get. I shied away from acting after the 5th grade, simply because I got nervous messing up a line where I said the line before I was suppose to, but it’s true when writing plays you’ll see much more your direction as a writer of plays and where the play is headed if you include yourself in the physical, a brief period like that of an actor to help encompass your own intent as a playwright. Now I just have to work up the nerve to do that. Wish me luck! 🙂
No better way to start off the New Year than with comedy. Today I attended a writers meeting encompassed with various genre perspectives: non-fiction/fiction/memoir/youth/screenwriting; but what lit up the room for me was about learning the many different comedy styles. I was familiar with some but I hadn’t yet pinpointed specifics sold to an inclusive genre, at least not with some of them. A lot of good tips, stories, and lessons. Discussions on generic vs. uncommon, stereotypes, absurd or exaggeration, dark or edgy, slapstick, dry, wordplay, observation, context, and parody lent themselves from the meeting for me to think about not just already working with them in my novel and play but also working with them, more specifically, in my poetry. So in drafting the next few poems, I’ll be working at comedic undertone. Sometimes comedy knows best.