Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and beautiful

Sent off the assignment to Confidential Job #1. Worked on the first act of MRS. TILLER’S (DEADLY) STORYTIME, and realized, partway through, I had to change the identity of the victim, because there was no way the death of the first choice could be funny. Since this is comic noir mystery, it can be satirical, but it can’t be creepy. So I pulled back from creepy and made the adjustment. I didn’t finish the first act, as I’d hoped, but I made good progress on it.

In spite of some of the venting I did during the conference the past week, overall, I’m very proud of them. I pushed them very hard — I am a terribly hard taskmaster, and I don’t accept excuses for not getting the work done. You committed to the week — do the work. And, basically, we did a semester’s worth of work on a week. I didn’t let up on them at all. Those who took both workshops were a puddle on the floor by the end of it, but they had the bones of at least one short story/section of a novel AND a flash fiction piece by the end of it if they kept up with the work. Those who let go of the whole, “I see it this way” and “this is the way I always work” and just went for it learned a lot.

I’m re-reading Terry Brooks’s wonderful book on the writing life, SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS. It’s one of the best books out there on the writing life, and it’s a great inspiration when I feel like I’m not quite on track.

Took a walk on the beach at at the Boardwalk near the Amusement Park. It was beautiful out, and so many happy, playful dogs who were grateful to finally be outside after all the bad weather. It was really cute. A new restaurant will open on the Boardwalk next month, behind the ice rink — a tiki bar, no less. That should be interesting.

Figured out how I need to restructure the bridge chapters for ANGEL HUNT. As soon as I get the first two plays out to my producer, I can get back to that. I made some notes — it means restructuring the two chapters almost entirely into one, as I planned, and adding a few scenes. One scene, between Lianna and Zeke, where she initiates the contact instead of Zeke initiating contact, may have to be pushed later. I don’t want to get sucked back into ANGEL HUNT when I’m on deadline, because once I work on ANGEL HUNT, literally nothing else exists for the time I spend within the book. I simply don’t care if everything around me goes to hell in a hand basket. I care about the book and only the book. So I have to find a few days when I can give it my undivided attention with no distractions in order to work on it.

Started work on the next assignment for Confidential Job #1, which is far more complex and high profile than I expected. While I’m pleased they chose me and not someone else on their staff to do it, I also wish I wasn’t under such time pressure. But I’ll get it done, and I’m determined to do it well. Today and most of tomorrow will focus on it, with breaks to work on MRS. TILLER.

I do plan to take another walk on the beach this afternoon, taking advantage of the wonderful weather.

And ABC pulled their station from Cablevision customers — so no Oscars or Oscar viewing party for me! That’s okay — I need to work, and it’s not like we won’t hear about it on all the other channels all day tomorrow anyway.

Back to work.

Devon

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny (finally) and mild)

So, today is the last day I get ABC-TV. ABC and Cablevision are acting like two year olds, and ABC is pulling the plug on Cablevision customers. I don’t get to see the Oscars — ABC timed it purposely for this. The only show I’m sorry to miss is CASTLE. LOST is back to jerking around the audience again, I know how it’s going to end, and I just don’t care any more. I don’t watch that much TV anyway, so I’ll just watch other channels. I’m not willing to pay higher cable fees because ABC-Disney packed their toys and went home. Having worked on an ABC soap, back when I was first in the union, they nickel and dime and pay less than the other networks to their employees anyway. I mean, on an ABC soap, I earned the same for an 8-hour call what I earned on Broadway for a 4-hour call. The CBS soap paid much better, and so did the scripted NBC dramas. On the latter, I could earn in one day what I earned on Broadway in a week. Granted, it was a Very Long 16+ hour day and I was a babbling idiot by the end of it, but it paid well enough to be worth it.

Got some new Apps for the iPod: YOGA JOURNAL has an app with 15 classes, and I also got a Tibetan singing bowl app that’s really cool. Gives me more to play with when I travel.

The same student who disregarded earlier exercise specifications did the same in a subsequent exercise, and also did not rework the exercise I refused. And then argued with me when I called her on it. And I’m talking simple requirements, like number of characters required for the scene. That’s not misunderstanding the guidelines, that’s ignoring them. Granted, revised exercises have been set up as optional, but when I say what you’re submitted doesn’t fit the specifications, common sense dictates that you fix it before doing the exact same thing in another exercise. It reinforces my belief that previously written scenes are being posted instead of fresh material. So, for the next workshop, I’ll have to add more specifics in the welcome stating if I reject an exercise as not fitting the guidelines, it must be redone before moving on.

On the flip side, another student asked if she could skip an exercise, because she never intended to write anything like it. I said no, I wanted her to try it. She did, and, to her surprise, did a good job. Even if she chooses never to work in that genre, she at least knows she has the tools so she can, and if it leaks into anything else she tries, again, she’s developed a skill set.

I finally caught up on the humor exercises. I’m tired and cranky, and not feeling funny or even wry, but I think I got the basics. It was good to push myself. I’ve got the foundation for a couple of decent pieces that might turn into something down the road. The teacher’s given me great feedback, so I think, after a little more work, I can start sending some of them out into the world.

I finished the material for Confidential Job #1. I’m polishing it today, then sending it out, then starting on the next assignment for them. It’s got to go out before I leave Wednesday (it’s due Wednesday). I’d like to get it out on Monday, so I can go to the Greenwich LIbrary to invoice them through IE (they only accept invoices via IE). I’d like to get a few queries and submissions out this weekend, too.

So, today’s about Confidential Job #1 and getting back to MRS. TILLER. I’d like to write an act per day today, tomorrow, and Monday, then write the next play next week, then revise them and get them off to my producer by the 15th. Then I’ll go back to BLOOD SOUP and the three-hander and get them out in early April, with the sequel to TILL DEATH DO THEY PART out in May.

Of course, VALIDATION, the serious play, is tugging at me, so I’ll work on that in and around the others. That’s going to be shopped to an entirely different producer.

Seriously, if this headache doesn’t stop soon, I’ll have to cut off my own head just to feel better.

Back to the page.

Devon