Story Seeds, no. 1: Exit Interview

The last 24 hours have been rich with dreams, the dead, and the dying. This happens to me a great deal when I am writing more than usual. I don’t know if this is because the juices are flowing a little more feverishly, or if it’s because I usually eat more ice cream when I write. Either way, the dreams come, and I listen to them. For they are often the seeds of pieces that end up in print.

First: SK is a wonderful friend who is a playwright. We meet maybe once a month to discuss each other’s writing successes, failures, and in-process pieces.

Second: C is was a colleague at my school until she landed a better gig at another high school. But before she left, she turned me on to this article in Writer’s Digest that talks about collaborative writing, where two writers of different genres/styles hook up to write one book/play/whatever.

Third: I had this dream last night about. . . .

The serendipity of her handing me this article and the idea for “Exit Interview,” along with a meeting to be held soon with SK is all too much for me to question. I’m flowing with it, Friends. It’s that good.

When “Exit Interview” popped into my mind, it did so on a stage. I actually saw the characters performing it, complete with audience and selective lighting for maximum effect. And so, my first instinct was to call SK and say, hey, I’ve got an idea for a play that I think you might like to write.

But then I thought, maybe I should just write the story and give it to him to write the stage adaptation.

Duh. If I exert the effort to draft a copy for him to write the play, I might as well take it just a little more seriously and take it through the full writing process and generate a publishable work that I can shop around, and he can take that copy and do an adaptation for the stage.

Voila. We both win. 🙂

So, I’m on schedule to write 1,000 words every day on this draft through 30 June (I don’t anticipate it being any more than 7,000 words) and then see what I have to work with. SK and I will meet, probably, by the end of the first week in July, and I’ll pitch it to him then, if he doesn’t read all about it here first.

(er–SK, should you do just that, please leave a brief comment that lets me know you are indeed sneaking a peak)


What’s it about, you ask?

Bottom line is this:

Man is going though his exit interview. He is warm, the questions seem ambiguous at best, and he can’t wait to just get the hell out of there. The questions begin to get personal, and in his answers, he begins reflecting back at some of the pivotal moments in his life spent with others. These scenes play as flashbacks, and each time they come back to the exit interview, the lead character is getting weaker, and weaker, stung by the decisions that he made that were made for what he now considers the wrong reasons. When he gets up to leave, the interviewer asks the final question: how do you want to be remembered? The lead sits back down, confused by the question. The interviewer asks the question a second time, and when the lead gives him a blank look, he clarifies his question, which brings us to the real present, and which also brings us to the shocking realization that….

Now, now. Did you really think I would give it all away? You can probably guess the ending (or maybe not all of it entirely), but wouldn’t you rather wait to read it here?

I’ll post my thousand-word vomit drafts here daily, but just a word of caution: they are called vomit drafts for a reason. There’s a good chance that much of what you read will be changed. This process is used to get the first draft down in print. I then have something to work with, mold, edit, change, sculpt, paint, make it shine. It’s the sure-fire way to taking a piece to publication, because it’s one thing to talk about writing your story; it’s another thing entirely to talk about polishing a story you’ve already finished writing.

One thought on “Story Seeds, no. 1: Exit Interview

  1. Wow! Sounds like No Exit kind of. Except they are already dead. But the whole idea about thinking about who you were/are based on the decisions you made… that’s the same. The idea sounds very promising. Plus the idea of dreaming it is fortuitous. Many writers/songwriters dream the entire story/song!!!


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