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! 🙂