Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is it Ready Yet?

Today I was thinking about 'when is art complete?' As a musical theater writer, I would work and rework scenes/songs/etc with my partner all the time. Broadway has proved this time and again with re-working shows while in previews. And I'm not only talking about the most infamous rewrite of Spider-man, I mean numerous shows rework scenes to get it right. The musical The Scarlet Pimpernel actually closed and re-opened with a changed book/score and now The Addams Family will be closing on Broadway after December, but the National Tour is getting a huge rewrite

Novelist don't have it as 'easy' to retool their work. They get that moment before a reader (audience for a show) ever gets a glimpse of the pages to fix anything they feel is wrong. They work with an editor who sends them back to their computer to make changes. But once it goes to print and the baby is out there for others to see, the fate is sealed and there is no going back. Even though you may return to it months later and say to yourself "I wish I would have clarified x" - it's too late.

Such a different medium from stage; yet I love writing for both. Theater is a living breathing creative process that can evolve and change continuously. Being an author of novels, I must be content with that fact that the story is told and read and hopefully touches a reader with the concrete words on the page. No second chances to tweak anything in the story.

Unless you sell the film rights...then perhaps you get a chance to revisit those characters once again. 

Reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years ago:


You spend agonizing hours preparing.
The relentless research accomplished.
The creative process causing
Sleepless nights.
Thoughts flow through
Your mind until they
Collide into a gem.
The execution,
Fine tuned to your idea of perfection.
The culmination of everything,
Forming just the right mood,
Setting, and story.
You see the finish line
In the distance,
Progressing towards you
Like a momentous avalanche you can’t keep at bay.
Then all at once
You are there.
Standing back to look,
Pride fills you like a
Warm cup of your favorite beverage.
The onlookers arrive,
Witnessing what you have achieved.
You notice one more thing
You wished you would have done.
One more tweak.
One more.

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