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Strike Up The... Frustration?

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Have you ever gotten so frustrated with a project, that no matter how hard you try, you can't put it away?

I have been in this mode for a couple months now...

The good things?

I love these characters so much

I really feel it's a story that needs to be told

The bad things?

It's not coming out the way I see it in my head

Ninety pages of brilliant characters, catchy dialogue and some good tunes and I can't seem to find a way to finish the story. I mean, I have an ending. But somewhere along the way, the story lost track and is wandering in the woods. Calling out for help.

And nothing seems to be able to break me out of it...

I've analyzed the story, the elements of a musical and even walked away. But I always find myself coming back.

What this tells me is that it is a good story and it's time to tell it.

But my approach isn't the right one for it.

So I took a different direction. Instead of focusing on the libretto. I started re-writing the story as a novel.

It's a lot of extra work and there's no telling how it will end up. But something tells me that by trying to tell the story in another format, I just might be able to get it out. Then, if it does turn out to be a better novel than a musical, perhaps there will be something I can lock into and convert into a dramatic structure for the stage.

I've already found some areas where the point I was making wasn't clear - and by writing in a different format, I get a different view of the piece.

The other method I'm trying is the "walk away from it and come back in an hour" process. Normally I would recommend putting something away for a couple days, even weeks if you can. But I discovered that by spending an hour or so on a difficult scene, if I walk away for an hour or two - nothing much longer - I can get back to work on it with a fresh perspective.

The next time you are experiencing frustration on your writing project. Try these different ways to jog the juices, and let me know how they work for you in the comments!

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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