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  • Inflexible Dynamo


Step one: Have a great idea. Hilarious. Suspenseful. Brilliant! Can't wait to start putting words to parchment—Yay!

Step two: Got the amazing opening monologue down completely, end-to-end in one session. Requires remarkably little editing; came out perfectly. I live for days like this! Writing is wonderful!

Step three: Bash out first scene just as planned. This is gonna be a good one. All characters, individual and clear and fully formed, just jump off the page.

Step four: Character 3 surprises me with an unexpected tactic. It's a good one. Forces me to rethink the next batch of forward movement, but the play as a whole looks better.

Step five: Character 4 suddenly—out of nowhere—suddenly morphs into a completely different character (one from a previous, directly related play—hello, excuse me, why are you here?) making it necessary to incorporate two more previously written entities. A strange turnabout indeed, but you gotta love the surprises in this game.

Step six: Realizing now that I have these repeat characters, the original ending will have to change. That's okay; it was a little fuzzy to start with. So, like the intrepid explorer Stanley, I place the pith helmet of my creativity squarely on the crown of my purpose and set boldly off into the jungle of the unknown.

Step seven: Realize now that my original first character, the one the play has been named after, has suddenly been relegated to a tertiary position. I wonder how much of my original scribblings I can keep. I had a whole series of utterly brilliant comedic running gags serving as plot tactics written down in my Notes for Play file. I’m sure I can salvage most of them.

Step eight: Hmmm. Is it possible to make the play about a different character and still keep the original title and premise?

Step nine: Finish first scene. Yep--it's now a completely different play. The words are still coming like an open faucet, but I'm not sure where it's leading anymore.

Step ten: Hey—no worries! I'm back on track because of Character Two's sudden reveal. Whew!

Step eleven: …which forces two other characters to get killed. Did not see that coming. Also did not see Character Four doing the dirty work. This...ummm...enriches...the play...?

Step twelve: Realize that the play is now a one-act and that because of the loss of two characters and that unexpected sentence that Character One just spewed out, the original planned Act Two is no longer viable. Hmmm. I have to think about this.

Step thirteen: Still thinking.

Step fourteen: Original two-act full-length play may actually be only a ten-minute play.

Step fifteen: Realize the opening monologue no longer fits. Maybe I can use it on its own. With some tweaking.

Step sixteen: Character 2 reveals she is now (and has always been, really, I just never knew it) female.

Step seventeen: Have to change the title (originally Surfing With Pasquale), as Character 1 is now in a coma. Coma-ing With Pasquale just doesn't have that snap.

Step eighteen: I think it's finished. Character 3 just suddenly ended their arc. I have nothing left. Pasquale still in a coma.

Step nineteen: Decide this is the last time I try to write a YA play.

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