Rewriting is hard.
Is the first draft more difficult to write, or the multiple revised drafts that follow? That’s a dumb question (that I just posed). Every single step of writing and developing a play is ridiculously hard and makes my brain crave sugar and naps.
(Never trust a skinny writer.)
A Nice Indian Boy has been a real challenge for me to rewrite. The reason why will make me sound very full of myself, but it’s kinda true- the first draft is actually pretty good. The first draft, of this play, surprisingly, turned out pretty well. I don’t know how it happened. It’s intricately plotted and well structured, and has multiple motifs and running jokes that all intertwine and pay off at the end. It’s pretty good.
Unfortunately, it also has one huge, glaring, impossible-to-overlook problem- the protagonist is the most boring character in the story. Whoops.
So in the quest to actually make his story interesting, dramatic and meaningful, my rewrite has resulted in my beautiful structure crumbling to pieces. And in my laziness, I clung to my old draft, defended it, convinced myself that my baby is perfect as it is- which it really isn’t. The problem is in the foundation. The problem is in the very premise of the play.
In short, my first draft is like the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Delicious, but fundamentally flawed.
And so if I want my play to stand upright, function structurally, and be beautiful at the same time, I need to tear this thing down and rebuild it brick by brick. Layer by layer. Topping by…
Anyway. The good news is that once I got over myself and let go of my first draft, the writing has actually gotten easier. Retooling the premise has given me room to make the story more about the characters, and not so much about the cleverness of the jokes. I’m actually enjoying the writing instead of dreading it.
Today I am, anyway. 🙂
And now, time for lunch. Guess what I’m having.