Tuesday, October 14, 2008

29 September - 5 October

30 September
In thinking about this week’s assignment – I really don’t want to look at that play again – but in thinking about where to take it next and how to pull something out of it, I found myself thinking about where the inciting incident would lie and realizing that it depends on where the play is going to go next.

If I’m working on a family drama, the dynamics of the family are the idea to be followed, so the inciting incident comes from those dynamics – who says the irrevocable thing that causes everything else to follow? To govern the reactions of the other characters in the room?
If I’m looking at it revolving around death, a meditation on the ways of dying – the inciting incident lies with Rose’s death and what happens next in that particular room.
And while I don’t know if the inciting incident actually resides within the scene as it’s written now, looking at it from the perspective of what happens after this scene, makes the decision about inciting incident clearer.

2 October
At Hyde Street Pier with the 8th graders: noticing the relationship of lines to each other.

Points of convergence (left):
Everything narrows down to a limited number of options, all roads lead to this one point, all choices made. - This feels like a very traditional way to structure a story or play.

Layering (right): The lines echo each other, though each one is distinct. There's a progression through the relationship between objects rather than a linear progression. Each line refines or changes the line before it.
This photo was interesting because I noticed the structure as I took the picture, but it wasn't until after I'd taken the picture that I really noticed what I'd seen and then got very excited about the image. There was another photo where the line of the deck is visible, but it wasn't as interesting for some reason. Maybe what works in this photo is the lack of context. It's just lines without the grounding of being in a particular place.
Also – research for the Fort Point project:
A crimp was a “recruiter” for sailors – you could sign up for a voyage or be kidnapped by the crimp. You had to pay for all your clothing and equipment, which fell apart quite easily and then you had to pay for the replacements, so sailors mostly ended up in debt to their crimp by the end of a voyage and had to keep working to pay off their debt.
The plimsall line on a ship is the line above which the ship is too heavily loaded and will sit too low in the water.

3 October
Oh. Structure.

I realize I’ve been thinking mostly in terms of content – what will I do, who are the characters, what do they say to each other – not in terms of the shape of the thing being written.

At the reading, Truong talked about wanting to write a book in the spine so that the reader had to break the physical book apart in order to read it – they would have to break the physical constraints of the book, to subvert and destroy the idea of what a book is. And all the poems are in service to that idea.

So thinking, structure as an organizing principle around which everything revolves. The physical laws that govern this particular world of this particular play – it’s algorithm, so to speak.

5 October – looking for inspiration
From Neil Gaiman reading: You can either write or not do anything – those are the two choices when you go to your writing space.

Best advice for aspiring writers: Write stuff. Finish stuff.

The entire writing process is beset by doubts. You can run across a gaping expanse of nothing if you don’t look down, like the Road Runner and Wily E. Coyote, but at the ¾ mark, most writers look down and fall into the abyss.

(Also, Neil was reading Chapter 6 of Graveyard which is the turning point of the novel, and, thinking about structure, I noticed how each section of this chapter started in the middle of things, action already occurring, someone in the middle of a thought or a dream, but always in medias res.)

From Andy Goldsworthy DVD:
Looking for obsessive forms that you come back to again and again.

The thing that brings the piece to life is the thing that will cause its death, that will destroy it.

Total control can be the death of a work.

The real work is the change.

Taking work to the very edge of its collapse.

The work makes itself.

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