17 September 2012

And When the Arguing’s Over – Six New Plays

And When the Arguing’s Over – Six New Plays

And so after a few months of solid business writing I decided to take a break from the toil (well not exactly toil – actually it was bloody toil) and try out some new creative writing.

Instead of writing more short stories or continuing with the book I decided to write some conversations/mini-plays as a way to ease myself into it and also because I enjoy writing dialogue. At first the idea was to have these pieces without reference to the gender of the character, as in the characters could be played/read by either male or female.


After writing the first play Happily..Ever I realised this concept was a lot more difficult than I had originally imagined. In fact it seemed pretty much impossible, to me anyway, but I persevered, sort of. I sent off Happily..ever (a short play where two characters argue about whether or not to get married. One character wants to, the other doesn’t) to a reader who immediately assumed (or is it presumed) the gender of the characters although I made no mention to her of who was male and who was female. This, I suppose, goes to show that readers will use their own life experiences and views when building a picture in their head of what is written on the page – or maybe it’s just the fault of the writer.

Although it was interesting to me, (and a bit of a challenge) writing without assigning character gender started to hack me off slightly (that’s an understatement). Writing in this way is limiting because there are certain references and certain words that you can’t use, especially during an argument when expletives are flying from one character to another. For longer pieces such as The Elephant Frowned, which ran to 30 pages (an interview between a journalist and an idealistic film director) I decided to start off without assigning gender to let the reader decide and then give a clue about the male/female characters.
With Algeciras I gave up and simply called the characters Man/Woman although in real life I think the characters could still be performed/read as either gender.

Some snippets from the And When the Arguing's Over...

“Do you ever think that maybe sometimes some of your audience are coming for the wrong reasons? They’re not coming to your films to witness a searing in-depth analysis on relationships but they are simply coming to witness human behaviour at its worst. Your films are a release. After a hard week of dealing with assholes at work or at home, your films give them characters to which they can direct all of that hate and anger towards?” - The Elephant Frowned

"Because you’re a fuck up. You’re not a benefit to this company but you’re not a loss either. You’re just simply here making up the numbers, doing the dog work. I should get rid of you but it would cost me more to hire and train someone else to do your job. You do the minimum amount of work with the minimum amount of effort and I pay you the minimum amount of money I can and you still put up with it. You hate this job, I know it, I can see it in your attitude but you won’t make the effort to do anything else. You’re one of the cogs who will sit and do their job and complain about it, but in ten years time you’ll still be here stuck in the same place you were when you first joined this company." - Appraising

" I probably would be slightly offended and I’d probably spend a few hours wondering why you wanted me to leave and I’d probably come to the conclusion that you just wanted a one night thing. Then I’d think some more about it and I’d probably think that you were pretty rude and was it really such a hardship to speak to me for a while after we’d exchanged bodily fluids but then I’d come to the conclusion that you were probably just an asshole and there are plenty of them about so I would simply end up forgetting about it because life’s too short." - Algeciras
 
These six plays/conversations were an enjoyable writing experience and definitely a challenge in trying to keep the dialogue realistic and flowing freely. Now it’s time to move on and try something new.
And When the Arguing’s Over… Available on Amazon.

1 comment:

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