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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
Curated by Charles Tiayon
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Writing Is Not Sexy... and Other Observations on Co-writing a Play

I'd always thought writing had a romance to it. When I was younger, I mean. The Beats in a smoke filled bar filled with jazz; Thoreau and his escapes to Walden Pond; Neil LaBute hammering on his typewriter and cursing (I can only assume). Having written for the better part of a decade I can say now without equivocation: Writing is not sexy.

There are three distinct moments when writing a play I am most filled with nausea.

The first stomach knot: having my work read for the first time by new people. In the back of most people's minds who do an artistic endeavor is the lingering doubt that we aren't really any good at it (or, really, anything at all). Or even if we were once good at it maybe we aren't anymore. Every time someone new reads something I've written, the same doubt plops itself down next to me like a barefoot hippie with a djembe: every page turn another hollow rhythm to attack the senses.

But the first read went well.

Weeks turned into months. More was written; more workshop. Nadia and I discussed moments we needed in the play. We'd assign then go write. Then we read. Then we'd write more.

Sometimes we realized we had a ten-page scene that accomplished nothing. Other times a two page scene would be so dense it appeared to be unspeakable by Earthlings. At one point the play exceeded 200 pages. My personal working title for the script at that point was: "We Hate the Audience."!
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