Prose Versus Play

Prose Versus Play

After a slightly average playwriting group, I decided to follow the one piece of advice recommended by the visiting playwright: freewriting. She had a more ‘creative’ approach, she would write about how she felt that day. An example she gave was what animal she’s felt like that day and what that animal wanted from life. That’s a bit hippy for me. I interpreted it as exercising a muscle. I would do at least 10 minutes of writing a day to keep writing fit. Get it, I said writing instead of fighting. They practically rhyme.

I brought a book called Writer’s Block; a perfect cube of starting points, situations and advise from writers. This block is aimed at fiction writers but it fits my needs. Yes, for ten minutes I will write about a heist, thank you Writer’s Block. Sometimes I find myself writing a script, A said, B said, dialogue dialogue dialogue. Sometimes I find myself writing fiction, story shorts and a stream of consciousness. I’ve posted many example in this blog if you want to see what can be achieved in just ten minutes.

I never plan it, I let it happen as is the way with freewriting. Recently I find myself wondering if I’m also a prose writer. Script writing is what I’d learnt at university and the stage has always been the aim but occasionally I write a short story that can’t be a play. I like it, it’s a break from dialogue dialogue dialogue. Are these couple of hundred words the start of 400 page novel or a collection of short stories? Where should I take them? Are they good enough to be taken further?

As I reflect now, I feel my strength is dialogue. Not to brag, but it’s what I’ve always been complimented on. I don’t feel I have the vocabulary and the temperament that one needs to be a prose writer. I’m not going to think of a hundred words to describe complex emotions. I want to swear, there’s nothing better than screaming ‘Fuck!’ rather than articulating what angsts the protagonist. In the words of Stephen Fry: “The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just a fucking lunatic.” So I’ll write what I want and swear as much as I like but I’m going to start calling myself a writer rather than a playwright.