Sharing The Love: Stage Combat

Today’s an editing day, which suits me fine, because Christ, am I sore.

This past weekend was weekend one of the annual stage combat seminars I attend, and it was the first time in several months I’d picked up my weapons — or engaged in anything resembling strenuous physical activity. Even though I’ve been an active stage combat performer for 12 years now, I like to keep my basic skills sharp, and learn whatever new tricks the instructors — my friends Rob and Cliff — might have to throw at me.

I regularly extol the virtues of stage combat to my theatrically inclined friends who have never before dabbled in the craft. I tell them, even if they’re not interested in swordfighting, there are a lot of non-weapons-based techniques that are great for any actor, if for no other reason than to keep them safe. You’d be astounded how many stage actors injure themselves (or their castmates) through badly executed face slaps or arm grabs.

Originally published in Renaissance Magazine #60 (2008) as Stage Combat: The Art of Illusion
Originally published in Renaissance Magazine #60 (2008) as Stage Combat: The Art of Illusion

A few years back, I wrote about stage combat’s role in the New England renaissance faire circuit for Renaissance Magazine. The final article was chopped down quite a bit, so I made a point of re-posting the entire, unedited article on this website as part of its launch content. It’s one of my more satisfying pieces of non-fiction writing.

Action Figures – Progress Report #7

What the –?! A post? What madness is this?

Well, in addition to having time to write a post, I have a reason to do so. After about a month and a half of work, I finished my first draft of what was originally intended as the second Action Figures manuscript, but for reasons explained in previous posts has become the second half of the first story.

It’s been an interesting challenge because the concept itself is born of two different media: Action Figures was conceived as a TV series. Like continuity-based TV series I’ve enjoyed and count as influences, such as The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, each episode was a self-contained story that had within it subplots, character development elements, and thematic content that linked several episodes together to create a story arc.

When I decided to re-do it as prose, I left the format in a sense unchanged; rather than telling one long story in each novel, each book would encompass several “episodes” that told semi-self-contained stories, and those stories would be bound together by some overarching element.

What I realized I had to do in combining the two manuscripts was adjust that overarching element to create a more coherent whole. Fortunately , I had a means to do that in my lead character, Carrie. As much as Action Figures is about a team of teenage super-hero wannabes, it’s also about Carrie undertaking a journey of self-discovery and trying to figure out who she is as a person, what she wants out of life. Once I realized I could carry that over through the individual “episodes,” the project came together a little more solidly.

The next step will be putting manuscripts one and two together and then reading it as a whole to find those spots in (the former) book one that enhance the character arc. My goal is to have a brand-new full manuscript done by the end of the month at the absolute latest, send it out to my test-readers for a look-see, make any last revisions, and re-submit it by the end of July.

That way, I’ll be so busy with a couple of shows I won’t have time to obsess over how long it’s taking the agent to get back to me. Clever, huh?