Writing, Revision, and Sufficient Surgery

I saw a post by Kelly Kleiman at wbez and had a few connections to writing and revising.  The post is about theater, but I think you’ll see how it applies to writing as well.  Here are a few quotes–consider them writing prompts–without context but easily applicable even standing apart from Kelly’s paragraphs:

The plays often seem unfinished, like sketches rather than full-fledged pieces.

The betrayals and counter-betrayals come so rapidly, and to such an abrupt end, that I was left wondering what actually happened and why.   It’s fine to take a scalpel to one’s work, but simple amputation is rarely sufficient surgery.

Even Conor McPherson, perhaps the premiere English-language playwright of this generation, falls into the trap of declaring a play finished when it’s merely through its second draft.

Again: This may be the inevitable consequence of contemporary theater economics, a system which also frequently dictates the choice of two- or three-character plays rather than the crowds required by Miller or Shakespeare. But let’s try to figure out a way for playwrights to incubate their works a bit longer.

To read Kelly’s post, click here.  Happy writing.  Happier revision.

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