Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just do it

Shakespeare has the answer.

Well, sort of.

I realized what I was fretting about yesterday was the enormity of doing this story justice (this is my eternal fret, actually). And a line leapt to mind - my favorite moment from, not Shakespeare, but the riotous Complete Works of Wm. Shakespeare (Abridged), written and for quite a long time performed by my friends (since college, eek!) Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield (who is one of my critique partners, currently writing a brilliant novel about sex, drugs, and Shakespeare.)

My favorite moment in a show full of laugh-till-you're-sick moments comes just before the intermission, when Adam flat out refuses to go any further, because the one play left that the boys haven't yet butchered is HAMLET. And Adam just doesn't think he can do it justice.

Jess lifts a sobbing Adam from the floor, assuring him - "We don't have to do it justice. We just have to do it."

And that's the point I have to remember. Sometimes you don't have to do it justice (although you always hope justice eventually will be done). Sometimes you just have to do it.


Allison Brennan said...

OMG, you could have described my writing process, though I never get stuck at the end (I shouldn't say never, but at least not yet . . .)

I have that moment where I think everything is about to fall apart and I'll never save my book at a third of the way through. As I'm leading up to the midpoint and pivotal change. I fear I don't have all the elements in place, that my characters suck, that the book won't hold up. This happens between page 150 and 240 every single time (okay, after four books . . . and it just hit me at page 150 on the fifth book I'm working on).

I like your slogan and am going to have to remember it. Next time . . .

Pooks said...

Not only are you spot on with your sentiment -- you just brought back great memories. I saw Abridged in London a few years ago and absolutely loved it.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Yike, Allison, you don't know how grateful I am to hear you say that. It's so true - now that I think about it, there was ALWAYS a point with my screenplays that I just never thought I could make it all come together. Every single one. For me it's more like the third quarter - I do midpoints just fine, but everything just goes to sh-- I mean, pieces -- in the second half of the second act (assuming the general screenplay formula of first act 30 p., second act 60 p., third act 25 p., give or take).

So why would I ever have thought writing a book would be any different? (Actually, I now also am also remembering that dreaded home stretch week from my theater days when I just thought, wow, this is going to be an unprecedented disaster... and then somehow, suddenly, it all just WORKED)

So it's fine, isn't it? Just part of The Process.

For the record, I had a mild breakthrough today. To quote DEADWOOD - "Advances, None Miraculous."

But I'll take any progress I can get at this point!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hey Pooks! The show is a riot, isn't it? I've seen it more times than I can count, in so many different incarnations. In fact I was an unofficial camp follower (wait, do I really want to say that on the Internet?) of the RSC for years.

Congratulations on your Nicholls wins - that's a huge deal!

And, um... your husband is a tornado chaser? Do tell.

Pooks said...

Yes, and he's talking about us going on a chase tomorrow. Sigh. You just can't imagine how boring they are! (Well, except for the tornado part.)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Bored by tornado chasing - except for the tornado. My kind of woman!

I'm at my boyfriend's in Raleigh right now and yesterday there was one HELL of a storm - the Crabtree Mall is a virtual lake - cars and trucks in the parking lot are drowned up to their roofs. Millions of dollars worth of damage - the whole first floor of the mall must be under water (which is interesting visual imagery, when you think about if...)

California girl that I am, I've really never seen anything like it.

Weather is quite the thrill ride, IMHO. You may not appreciate it - but I am wildly jealous!

Have you - well - written about all this?

Pooks said...

Fearless Storm Chaser kept telling me to write a movie about tornado chasers.

Well, until somebody else did. Heh.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Oh, sweetie - TWISTER was ages ago! Go for it.