Thursday, August 25, 2011

Theater Thursdays- Writing lesson from Theater

Tech Week

I’m sure I’ve talked about my glamorous life in theater before. Theater and writing go hand and hand for me. So I’m thinking on Theater Thursdays I might share with some wisdom that I’ve learned backstage that I apply to writing.

While reading people’s RTW posts yesterday I was surprised when people talked about days when they only write 200 words as being bad writing days.

It made me think of Tech Week. For non-theater people tech week is the grueling process of adding the tech elements (lights, sounds, scenery, costumes) to a play one line, movement, transition, scene at a time.

Some days we make it through 20 minutes of the play in 5 hours. It might take us a whole 10 hour day to get through one act of the play. But then there are scenes that fly right through. You’ll be crawling through the show at a snail’s pace and then the next set of transitions fly through at what feels like normal speed. The more elements and people involved the slower the process. Bringing all the elements together takes time. It’s like a dance; every actor and technician has to be in the right place at the right time for things to run smoothly.

It reminds me of writing. Maybe there are scenes in a story that can only be written in 200 word chunks but then there are other passages really fly. Honor both because work is work and writing is writing even if it comes 200 words at a time. Look at the scenes that are hard to write. Do they involve a lot of elements? (characters, scenery, action) Take the time to fit the pieces together even if it happens 200 words, 500 words, 1000 words at a time.

Does your day job teach you lessons about writing?


Angela Felsted said...

The nice thing about writing a poem, is that for me, each work is rarely 200 words, but it can take me hours or days to perfect it. Nothing wrong with that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good analogy. I like it better when the writing flows, but some days, it's all about focusing on one small section.

Alicia Gregoire said...

Good point about tech week. I'm shuddering just recalling the cue-to-cues.

My day job has taught me NOTHING recently.

Julie said...

This is a great analogy. I'm going to have to remember it the next time I'm mad at myself for only writing 100 words or some other small amount. We'd all love to write huge chunks at a time, but sometimes it just doesn't work that way.

Great post, and I hope you have a great weekend coming up.