Barbara Barrett

Romance at Work

Thoughts from the Treadmill: Inspiration

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Photo by Leslie Sloan

Thanks to all of you who downloaded Driven to Matrimony while it was free on Amazon last week. Your help helped me achieve a rank of #3 in Kindle Free ebooks General Humor at one point.

Every so often the universe aligns in such a way that things seem to come together for a brief, exhilarating time. This past week was one of those times for me. Two experiences stand out as highlights. Today I’m talking about the first. Next week, I’ll hit the second.

Wednesday was the last of three class sessions in “Writing the One-Act Play” through Stetson University’s Lifelong Learning program. I didn’t sign up for this class initially, because the course description indicated we’d each write our own one-act play within the two-week span of the three class sessions, and I didn’t feel I’d have enough time to do the project justice while promoting the free week of my new book. But the course instructor, Don Salvo, was a student in the class I taught in the previous three-week time period, “What a Novel Idea!” and he assured me completing the assignment in that limited period was completely do-able.

To my amazement – also to a certain degree because I didn’t want to be the only student who couldn’t get her “act” together – I actually did complete my play in time. Not only that, I enjoyed putting it together and even liked what I created. A one-act is supposed to be about ten pages in length and ten minutes long. It’s a real challenge to get a beginning, middle and end plus a conflict, character change and resolution into that short amount of time. It requires focus and, at least for a newbie like myself, keeping the issue small and manageable.

I chose to develop four of the characters I’ve been considering for the cozy mystery series I’m working on. I thought a play might help me understand my characters better, how they talk and think and interact with each other. So I chose to make them all members of a book club who must come to a decision about what to read the following month. It didn’t hurt that I had a treasure trove of experience with my own book club to fall back on, although no character is based on any specific real person. All the characters are fictional. (I keep stressing that point to my own book club members.)

Following our third session, our class each presented their play to friends and other Stetson students who were invited to sit in our “cold read.” What an incredible experience. I can’t begin to tell you how gratifying and stimulating it is to a new playwright to hear her audience laugh where they’re supposed to.  Better yet, their genuine applause at the end brought a lump to my throat.

Although writing romance novels is still my thing, it was such a hoot to explore my creative side from a different perspective. Who knows? Maybe someday this will grow into a full play. See you on Broadway!

Available September 25 on Amazon KindleAndHeCooksToo_7346_75076fbc-thesleepoverclause

Driven to Matrimony

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The Sleepover Clause

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Barnes and Noble

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And He Cooks Too

The Wild Rose Press, TWRP POD

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