The Writing “Process”

It’s been an odd couple of months of too much and too little. I became unemployed around mid-June, and used my new free time to devote myself to writing my show for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. For said writing, I used an unusual method called “sitting on my ass and goofing off.” It hasn’t resulted in a lot of word count.

Procrastination is hard work! Worrying about a project, then worrying about various real world and personal problems as a way to avoid worrying about said project, and then worrying about all the worrying you’ve been doing can really take it out of you. I have felt extremely tired and overworked doing jack shit.

A lot of the worry comes from not having a clear idea of this thing called a “plot.” I had no sense of a plot at all when I did Death Perception in 2011. It was pretty much just stream of consciousness kvetching, saved by the structural conceit of being stuck with Death in a sort of “trapped in an elevator” scenario, and the ending was just what I had at the end with no time to spare. But it worked! The process with Someone Is Wrong On The Internet was almost the opposite. I had the end in mind from the get-go, and the problem was how to get there. I wrote a bunch of little vignettes and strung them together in the most logical manner I could. And it also worked! I was on a roll. A roll that I did not feel I was consciously controlling, but a roll nevertheless.

My 2013 show is called The Press Conference At The End Of The World, and the writing process is falling somewhere between Death and Internet. I have kind of a beginning, and kind of a middle, and kind of and end, but nothing firm. It is proving to be a much more plot-oriented sort of piece. I feel I need to have the beats planned out in advance, rather than the zen-like “just let it happen and we’ll fix it in post” semi-approach I used in the past. And it’s murder. Slow, unrelenting murder. I’ve never written like this before, and it’s kind of terrifying.

Ah well. I have done this to myself, and I shall have to sprint to the finish line in a more teen drama sort of way than is usual. Hard to picture, but true.

It occurs to me this has been a terrible piece of self-promotion. I think in Self-Promotion 101, whining about how hard it is to write is the second thing they tell you not to do, right after standing behind a cow.

Oh! Just because I like to complicate things, I’m also in a second Fringe show: To Mars With Tesla!, a remount of the English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties production from last year. Bad timing and bad luck kept our initial run from getting much of an audience, so I’m glad to be doing it again. It’s everything you want in a show. Tesla versus Edison! Silent movie comedy! Steampunk! Inappropriate grabbing of boobs!

Here are links to my two Fringe Festival shows. Click on links. Forward links. Stick links in one of those My Fringe 5 thingies. Promote the arts and shit.

http://www.fringefestival.org/2013/show/?id=2530

http://www.fringefestival.org/2013/show/?id=2504