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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How the play is progressing

I’ve extended Mary’s monologue to about three pages.  Now I find that little phrases and sentences are becoming significant and are starting to emerge as needing little scenes and extra characters of their own.  This is a process that I call “Chasing”.   I’m chasing these details out of the undergrowth, ferreting out the titbits that will make up the drama and the piece.  A play is different from a simple narrative or monologue in that the writer must show how the character acts within different circumstances.  We need to look for events that will demonstrate the characters and their interaction rather than just describing them.  Eventually the monologue will disappear as the information it contains is subsumed into dialogue and action.
The little dialogue interplays are taking on a life of their own.  I love writing dialogue.  As the conversations develop we learn more about the characters and their relative status and stand point.  Of course, at the moment, I am still gathering material about the characters.  I don’t even know who or what the other characters will be.  But I am beginning to find what other types of character I am going to need in order to show up my central character.  At the same time, the shape of the narrative is becoming clear.  We talk about narrative arc and character arc.  Basically, that just means how the situation will change and how the characters will develop from beginning to end.  For me, the narrative arc, the story, will come after I’ve discovered something more about the characters.  Once I’ve got that I can then place them in a landscape.

I've also just been given a little target to meet.  The monologue, which will be the first incarnation of the piece, will need to be about twenty-five minutes long.  Good.  Now for a lot more research into the actual events and circumstances of mary Anning's life that will provide the framework of the narrative.

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