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I got a great idea for a...well, I don't know what form it is yet!

You've got a great idea... It's dramatic, it's timely and it's burning to get out of you and onto paper.

But in what form?

Monologue? Long form monologue? Full length? Musical? Maybe 10 minute play?

I see a lot of writers immediately select what form a new idea should take, and not only do I believe that leads to writer's block later in the process, I believe it also limits the writer from breaking new ground.

I'm not suggesting every idea should break new ground. But I am suggesting that a new idea should not be limited right out the gate.

I've had this situation in my head for a couple years now, the story of a character applying for a job. When I first conceived the idea, I pictured it as a monologue that thousands of people would download to use at auditions.

Once I determined that I set to write. Nothing appeared on paper. Not one word.

So per my usual, I put it away thinking it wasn't time for that idea yet.

A couple months later, the idea returned to the forefront of my mind and I went to my idea file. This time, I thought it might be enough material for a one-performer show and began to write.

I got a little further, developed a couple different "character voices", imagined how it could open and typed up an outline for a sense of order.

It all stopped again. I saved the document. I walked away. The idea wasn't ready yet.

I read a story about the writing team of Avenue Q - Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty. They wanted to make a TV series about their down-on-their-luck puppet idea. They were approached by a stage producer and turned her down. Their idea was a TV series. Fortunately for us, that stage producer was persistent and ultimately got the team to agree to fashion their idea for a musical on a live stage.

I revisited my idea.

What the hell is it? Should it be a one-performer show? Maybe it's just a song? I decided to just start writing it. No matter what it would become, it wasn't going to become anything if I didn't get it on paper and so I wrote. I worked on the idea off and on for several months until I had the entire thought in a dramatic form. And it was ten pages.

Normally, those ten pages would be a springboard towards fashioning the idea for whatever structure I had chosen to shoe-horn it into.

But not this time. It has remained ten pages and has a performance time of approximately ten minutes. My idea for an audition monologue became a ten minute play with one character playing three separate roles.

Not completely ground breaking, but I never would have chosen to fashion my idea into a ten minute play. It had to lead me to that form.

I believe my takeaway in the process is this... the idea ultimately knows what form it will take, it's our job to get it on paper. It's like manifesting... first you grab it from the ether, then you crystallize it into words and then you massage it into your art.

Alan Saunders,

Friends told me I was late to the game for writing musicals, even though I've been writing them almost my entire life. so this blog is my journey into writing professionally for the stage.

Check out for how-to articles and resources for writing your own musical for the stage!

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