Creativity #37 - Kill your Pretty Darlings! And your play will Rock!

So we have all been there.  You are writing, and this amazing, lyrical, poetic, gorgeous writing spews forth from your consciousness, and you are excited out of your mind how you created such amazing work!  You feel like you are the writer you always believed yourself to be! Your time has come!

"Oh my God, I am a genius!"

So as you continue writing your play, you keep referring back to this amazing, lyrical, poetic, gorgeous writing, hoping it will give you inspiration to continue to write amazing, lyrical, poetic, gorgeous dialogue, characters and more! You love these pages so much. They are the essence of who you are as a writer. You hope that reading these pages over again will give you more divine inspiration to continue to be the writer you always believed yourself to be.

Ay, there's the rub.

When I was writing THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS, my one man show about how I developed PTSD and more from training in Yoga, I had a number of pages, passages, narrations that I thought were profound.  They were amazing, lyrical, poetic, and gorgeous!  I loved them them so much!! In my mind, they were the essence of the best that I can write.

But as we got into production of THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS, I realized that in order for the show to work, it needed to race faster and faster towards it's dramatic conclusion, and it needed to run under 90 minutes.  Much of my amazing, lyrical, poetic, gorgeous writing was in the latter half of my play... 

So, with great pain..... I CUT MOST OF IT.

I cut my best writing right out of my play!

Why? Because it didn't fit into the overall through line and direction of the PRODUCTION!

You always have to go back to the fact that your play is written to be ALIVE!  And in that aliveness, there are some elements like pacing, through line and run time that don't apply on or don't show up on paper.

Sometimes in order to produce a great play, you need to KILL YOUR PRETTY DARLINGS - those pages which you love that don't serve the overall production.  

And it hurts.  

It hurts bad.

But when you get a review like this, it makes it feel a whole lot better!

“THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS is one of the most extraordinary pieces of theatre I have seen on or Off-Broadway in years. Mr. Wolf’s script is nearly flawless in its eloquence and is one of those rare pieces of work that reminds us of our common humanity. Mr. Wolf’s one-man performance is exquisite, inspiring, courageous and beautifully constructed. I laughed even as I was moved to tears. See THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS soon. Because you will want to see it again.”

- Lise Avery, Anything Goes!!  Internationally Syndicated Radio - 

But my PRETTY DARLINGS weren't lost to the world. I did something fun to save them! After the first production of THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS, I took the play, and put all of the cut passages and pages I loved back into it, and turned it into a self-published book! And people loved it!

In story-telling of any kind, you have to remember that plays are different from short stories which are different from novels.

If you are developing a play, when in production develop the courage, if necessary, to KILL YOUR PRETTY DARLINGS!  And your play will ROCK!




Ken Wolf