Off-off Madison

For the first time in almost ten years I have plays out on submission. That makes me very happy. As much as I enjoy seeing my words in print and online, there is NOTHING that beats hearing your words and seeing your stories acted out on stage. I’m submitting the script for MURDER BOY to several theaters in the Detroit area and then I sent off a short play to a theater in Flint for their short play festival. Doing all of this has got me thinking about the similarities between theater and publishing.

Of course when publishing short stories or novels, people always ask if you’re getting paid. This isn’t as true with theater venues. I think people assume that there is an apprenticship period for things like that, where it’s more about the experience gained then the payment. It’s not uncommon for playwrights to form their own theater troupes to put on their plays so they can see them onstage. I think the same thing is true of writers and small print and online zines.

The Off-Broadway theater developed as an alternative to the increasingly commercialized Broadway stage, much as small presses developed in response to commercial publishers. And then, when Off-Broadway even grew too commercial, the Off-Off-Broadway movement developed in the coffee houses and church basements and pubs of Greenwich Village. This is how I see online zines and smaller print zines like Crimespree and Hardboiled. At this level, it’s all about the experience of being read and developing skills as a writer that can only come from seeing your work published.

As hard as the publishing climate is today, I’m much happier trying to make it as a novelist in America than as a playwright.