Tom Minter's Off The Stoop Blog

a playwright's journey, creating, connecting, and conversing.

some FAQS

with 2 comments

some FAQS

…hard to believe as it may be, writers have quirks. Here are some I will fess up to:

The title comes first. If I have the title, I can write the play..

Characters emerge after the title, and usually cross the back of my eyes already named..

I’ve written over 30 plays and have never used a title, subject, or character name twice –though I have gone back to revisit a character once..

Every scene, has a tempo; I have headphones on, listening to music as I write; what music I’m listening to depends on the energy I need for the scene… and the selections can change innumerable times in a single page, moving from Shostakovich, to Ellington, to Britten, to Beyonce, to Schreker, to Kander & Ebb, to Verdi, to Eartha Kitt, to Strauss..

I write from beginning to end, and never start in the middle..

Once I have the title, I know the arc of the piece…

Even though I know the arc of the piece, the characters may take me somewhere else along the way.. at which point, there is an inevitable moment of panic and exhilaration..

I trust my characters.. even when they challenge me.. though I don’t know that I especially like them then..

I am a very disciplined writer.

If I am just starting a piece, writing occurs in the morning; if I’m in the ‘chute’, I write as and when the current dictates..

I know I’ve connected to something when I feel the pull, tightening behind my belly button.. and adrenalin at the hinge of my jaw..

I stay away from coffee at this point..

I edit as I go along, having learned that first lesson: keeping a line, or scene, because it’s clever, is not about the story, but the ego..

I seem to always feel the next thing I write will be the best thing I’ve written.. a habit that tends to diminish achievement..

Being called to the stage after a performance, for a ‘talk back’ session, is an uncomfortable spotlight..

In all honesty…talent is not enough. And platform is not the entire answer. Finding a subject to write that dips into the zeitgeist is a great assist, but is still no guarantee of presentation -no matter how often your characters curse, naked. In truth.. it’s having a discipline to work, luck, perseverance and always denying the word “no”.


Written by tomminteroffthestoop

April 24, 2010 at 8:57 AM

2 Responses

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  1. I replied to your comment on my own blog and realised you might not receive it. So, here is my answer just in case:
    “thank you so much, Tom! You made the first comment (and what a comment)! Coming from you, it is even more appreciated.”

    This being said, if you want to share the link, do not hesitate. I would love for the story to travel.

    From Lalaland,


    April 24, 2010 at 1:51 PM

  2. Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you!

    I will try and remember that keeping a line, or scene, because it’s clever, is not about the story, but the ego.

    Loved it!



    April 24, 2010 at 10:44 AM

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