Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Novel Ideas

Literally. For though this blog is not about my writing adventures, I did think it was particularly appropriate to mention this piece of writing news here on my acting blog.

For you see, loyal blog readers, for the last 15 months, or thereabouts, I have been writing the rough draft of a novel that takes place inside a community theatre production. And by the next time you read a post from me on Always Off Book, it will at long last be completed! It is exciting and hard to believe news all at the same time.

My story revolves as I said around a community theatre production of a fictitious play. It has it's ups and downs, this production. Until really weird encounters begin to take place. And maybe some messages from above are being delivered to certain people. So it's theatre, it's magic, it's passion. Actually theatre is nothing without a lot of passion and a little magic, as I have been recently reminded. It's also about redemption, in a way, which is often a thread in the good stories.

And I have been amused at how often the same muscles of imagination or flexed when writing as when acting. Being a writer doesn't make you an actor and vice-verca, don't get me wrong. I am just one of the people crazy enough to be both. But the process of delving into a character, giving them nuance and habits, finding ways to reveal their inner workings and their history without spelling everything out for everyone. It may be like comparing arena football with the NFL, but the similarities between acting and writing are undeniable. Only in writing, you are in fact performing every character, and not just one. And usually at the same time.

And of course an author acts as director, set designer, costume person, and so on.

So it has been a very interesting, frustrating, but rewarding and at times even eye opening experience, honing my writing craft while drawing on my knowledge of my theatre adventures and passions.

And not just the knowledge, but the feelings and emotions and thoughts of various kinds of actors in the midst of a rehearsal and a show. If in the end this novel manages to adequately describe to a third party how it sometimes feels to be involved in theatre, my job will be half done already.

Tonight I will write the final chapter, and that too will be familiar to actors; something into which a lot of emotion and time have been poured will be suddenly over. Though of course unlike the stage that is just the first step. There is second revisions. And third revisions. Not to mention the long road to publication. But first things first, and nothing will ever feel quite so visceral as the creation of a first draft, where you breath new life into a story, ex nihilo. And as I said, that aspect comes to an end tonight, and I thought I would share that with you, my loyal blog readers of Always Off Book.

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