The flowers this spring have outdone themselves. Before we know it, summer will be here with many changes. Instead of curling up in an easy chair in my library with a book to read, I will take my papers, books, and writing materials and move to the screened porch. And what of those summer reads? I queried some friends and learned most are reading romances, biographies, and how-to books. Currently I’m not reading much except for the newspapers because I’m working on a play I want to submit for a contest. I’ve just attended the Civic Playwright Festival in Fort Wayne and listened to some fine speakers, took in several workshops, listened to some readings with follow-up Q & A discussions, and took in some productions. The best part about this is the stimulation one gets from interacting with others who also are involved in playwriting.
One point made was how a play must have structure, a theme, characters that “do” something not just expound, and of course a plot. Additionally, a play or piece of literature should utilize “language” that is memorable with not one extra word. It all sounds easy to write, but it is difficult to cut scenes, phrases, and even characters that don’t push the action forward.
I’ve had a couple of “readings” of my play, and I’ve been pleased with the discussions. The “readers” were seasoned actors and actresses, and I found their suggestions helpful. The more we talked about the play, the more I knew I had to come home and rewrite several sections. It’s a challenging and wonderfully engaging process.
Two days after the Festival, I chaired a local reception for some winners of a writers’ contest and arranged for the “judge” to attend and make remarks. He focused on the importance that a story have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Again, it sounds easy enough to write a story with these elements, but having judged literary entries and graded zillions of themes, I can attest that many writers have a hard time accomplishing such structure.
I have attended many writers’ conferences, and each has given me insight and allowed me the opportunity to meet interesting people. Some have become good friends and associates. Summer is the time many conferences are in full swing. If you find one or two where you feel comfortable yet stimulated, you are fortunate indeed.