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Writer adapting her manuscript to the stage  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:12 pm
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Cat
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Mana: 
Hello from Vancouver. The air this morning is thin and crisp, -winter-ish. 

I have just completed my first creative non-fiction manuscript (lyrical memoir) which is sitting on an agents desk (book agent) being reviewed, even as I write this. It is to be a one person play and I need all the advice I can get on how to do this! Hoping to find it here.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:23 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
Pick up Louis Catron's book about writing one-person shows:

"The Power of One"

He also has other terrific books, one of which is "The Elements of Playwriting."

Keep in mind that, usually, past tense does not work well in theatre. The idea is to adapt it to present tense as much as you can.

best,

in media res

Last edited on Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:25 pm by in media res

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:27 pm
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Cat
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Mana: 
Many thanks, will do that! One of the challenges has been that most of the literature does not deal specifically with "adapting" a manuscript, more with how to generate ideas, etc,-the early stages. I have this nagging little voice in my head that goes like this,"just get started you nut bar, you didn;t know how to write a book 2 years ago! Just: start!". Still there must be somethign out there to help me oprganize the thinking that goes into the process of adapting!

Sigh. Thanks!

Last edited on Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:52 pm by Paddy

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:29 pm
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Cat
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Mana: 
PS, am lucky re tense," The manuscript is all in present tense, and all in the voice of the narrator except of course for dialogue.

Cat

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:36 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
I like the voice in your head.  Vomit it to the page.  Hear it.  Read it out loud, no matter how much it frightens the cat.

Then deal with the editing.

Welcome.

Paddy

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:42 pm
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Cat
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Mana: 
Sounds right up my alley. The book is a heartbreaking account (no mincing of despair),  about the caregiving year when my mother was elderly and unwell, she had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's . . . it is also about mich more than that, universal themes, etc, and is punctuated all the way through with moments of great beauty (I taped our conversations during the last year of her life) and am going to have those playing at times.

Yes, like the puking and gagging and spewing bit, no shortage of that.

Cat

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 03:46 pm
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Cat
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Mana: 
P.S.

DO you have an opinion about approaching a reputatble theatre and seeing if they are interested in collaborating? I do hear that is done.

What's going for the manuscript is that excerpts of it were shortlisted 2 years in a row in the CBC National Literary Competition, which helps. At some point I will need to collaborate. I have contacted varios people in town but open to suggestions, with thanks.

Also, I hear there are playwriting "templates" that help with structuring, which dearly appeals to me, and I would loike to work with those, or at least have them on hand, as soon as possible. Know anything about these?

Cat

 

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 05:27 pm
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Mana: 
"The Art of Adaptation" by Linda Seger, who has several good books out on writing.

It is mostly about film, but it will help you get out of the memoir mode.

But, I think paddy has the right idea about just get it down first, then start screwing aorund with form. Strike while the fire is hot with your impulse, then read the books.

You gave yourself the best advice" "just get started you nut bar, you didn;t know how to write a book 2 years ago! Just: start!".

As far as looking for colloboratng theatre? The best project (usually) to present to a theatre is a finished project.


best,

in media res

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 09:36 pm
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bkahn
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Mana: 
I have written several one-person plays--one was an adaptation of a trilogy of full-length plays, and have assisted others in writing them as a consultant.

The main point to  keep in mind, besides the "present tense" advice you already got, is to have a specific conflict in the play, as you would in any play. The main character wants something, something or things present an obstacle, the drama is in  the struggle. There needs to be something unique in your experience with Alzheimers (which has struck my family as well)that will make your story different from others, even in the midst of the common factors surrounding Alzheimers. Is it the particular relationship with your mother prior to onset of the disease? Is it the rest of your life that is put on hold but keeps pulling at you? Is it a particular incident on a particular day? Is it something that was central to your mother's life that is now lost? (Was she an artist, a writer, a neat freak...?)

Hope this helps

Good luck

Barbara

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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 09:48 pm
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Mana: 
Thank you! All very helpful!

Cat

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 Posted: Sun Sep 16th, 2007 09:31 pm
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leon
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Mana: 
hi.  i was going to say something similar to barbara.  you don't want "yet another poignant look at alzheimer's... check Lifetime for showtimes."  i like barbara's suggestions a lot.  also, you may want to look at altering the structure, or the sequence of events.  i know it's old hat, but it can be very effective on stage.  if the audience sees someone with alzheimer's early in the play, then later on it's three years earlier, and the person is just a little forgetful.  i'm being very simplistic about this, but you can play with it and see where it takes you.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 20th, 2007 03:02 am
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Cat
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Mana: 
yes, you are quite right. It is nithing like the usual perspective. Full of honest gutsy sexy talk, and the mother's voice, which is taken from recordings, that dispel the myths. Amen.

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