A Father Christmas
Act Two, Scene One
Pages, 5/10/06: 5
Current Total: 101
At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Progress has been slow through the courtroom scene, and particularly arduous with the adoptive father on the stand.
So even though I badgered Tom for years about not doing it and following his heart, as I look at my glacial crawl of a page count, I’m kind of grateful that he became a lawyer and that I trust him enough that I can send him my script and not have him laugh me into oblivion. Or if he does laugh, that he’s got enough tact not to do it when I’m around.
What I’m facing in this scene that makes for slow writing (although my page count from yesterday seems to belie that) is that I’m riding the line between reality and what works for the stage. So I’m also grateful that Tom has been doing some major writing of his own, because he understands the need to bend reality a little and let suspension of disbelief take care of the rest.
(Although SoD is an odd thing – I read The Hobbit for a class in high school and loved it. So when I went to read The Lord of the Rings, I found it extremely tough going, and never got through the opening chapters of the first book. But when I went to see the movies, I bought into them with no problem, although, admittedly, I thought the first one was rough going until I saw it a second time. It was like my brain was too busy to conjure up Hobbits and Dwarves and Elves, but when Peter Jackson did it for me, it was great.)
The other difficulty is choosing the right words to advance the plot at the fastest possible rate. The century page mark means that this show is now 100 minutes long, there’s still a lot to do in this scene, plus in two scenes that follow. While a musical can pass the three-hour mark, and Neil Simon could let his comedies to pass the two-hour mark (back in his three-act days), I’m loath to do that. This is already a show that’s going to live and die on pacing, and I may have used up my pacing karma in the first act.
Plus, since it’s a warm family comedy/drama, and since it’s in a courtroom, I can’t take Raymond Chandler’s advice (“When I get stuck, I have a man with a gun run into the room”). However, I did take a cue from Mr. C and used the line of questioning to create some conflict, so maybe things will work out just fine. Besides, I’ve always been a get-through-the-first-draft-now-and-fix-it-in-rewrites kind of guy, and that’s exactly what’s happening.
And the good news out of all this struggle is that it’s pushing me as a writer. That’s why I always try to pick projects that aren’t easy to do. To me, there’s no sense in writing to formula over and over if it means stagnation (don’t hit me with how writing to formula and making it different can be a challenge – I’m not made of that kind of stuff).
So anyway, to refocus on the subject at hand, things are difficult, but cool. That is, until Tom has a look.
It’s a desperate game we play
Throw our souls, our lives away
Wounds that can’t be mended
And debts that can’t be paid
(via iPod Shuffle)