Playwright-in-Residence Kirsten Kirsch (Blog # 2)

Hi there! Welcome back to processing process with me, Kirsten!

When I first started writing GIMPY my thought process was this:

Writing songs is easy for me. Most songs in a musical are the same melody with different words. No sweat. Please, the only thing I know anything at all about is musicals. I can turn this out in six months. 

That was September 2017. I look back now and laugh. My folder has 52 drafts in it. Only one is the entire script. 

So much of writing a show for me is preparing to write. I really had to learn to give myself the space I need. I don’t even like to occupy space. I like to curl up and make myself as small as possible. 

I’ve now done things I never thought I would do, like write a musical sex scene five times and then scrap it.  I had to re-learn things I thought I was incredible at . . . Remember those paragraph essay outlines they make you do from grade school to high school?  Bet I’m the only student who liked doing them. The playwright version of that exercise is called a “story spine”. The first time I wrote a story spine (and the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth time, too) I actually wrote a character map, which is an actor’s tool, not a playwright’s. I am the WORST at story spines and they are necessary and useful.  If this process has taught me anything, it’s how much I have to learn.

Writing for the stage is like fishing in the dark sometimes. It’s harder than I ever expected. But then things fall in to place. You find enough stars until you have a pocketful to count and arrange as your heart desires, to tell the best available version of a story you believe the world needs.