Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Inspiration & The Creative Process Part I

Last week The Atlantic asked its readers to chime in about their respective creative process, processes...processi?

So I thought I'd bring the question here. How does your creative process work? What starts it? What keeps it going?

For me it often starts with images. I'm a very image-driven poet and that goes the same for my playwriting. My plays often start as an image that I can't shake: a man and a teenage girl alone in a motel room, a wolf chewing through a door, Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son, pomegranates...

Sometimes these images become the first scene of my play. Sometimes they become part of a visual repository for my muse as a way to continually fan the flames of inspiration.

'Cause let's face it, sometimes you run out of steam before you finish that first draft. Then what do you do?

So how 'bout you? How do you start a play? Where does your inspiration come from?


  1. I use sense memory exercises to get started, usually. This means finding a quiet place, and then translating an emotional state into a need, giving it to a character and then giving someone else in my head the ability, but not the desire, to satisfy that need.

    Then I let them barter. And I write down what they say.

    I end up with a many wasted pages, but the few that are good are really good.

    I also write long hand to allow for the time required to listen.

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