Category Archives: 31 Plays in 31 Days
Though 31 Plays in 31 Days ended last month, I was crazy busy with moving and picking up a second job (oh, post-grad life…) and procrastinating to post about it. But here it is: the final entry on the subject.
Sadly, I was not “playwright enough” to complete the challenge; I wrote twenty-seven plays in 31 days which, while impressive, does not qualify for a win. Those that did “win” get to submit one piece for possible publishing in the 31 Plays in 31 Days anthology.
My final plays:
DAY TWENTY-ONE: Mr. Sealy’s Opinion. Babysitter Evelyn tries to find out how nine year-old Claire really feels about her baby brother.
DAY TWENTY-TWO: Friendly Advice. A woman discovers that her best friend has used the first woman’s personal life as an example in her advice column… and it’s not flattering.
DAY TWENTY- THREE: Fair Friends. Going to your town fair means running into a lot of people you grew up with and discovering that sometimes you don’t want to know them anymore.
DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Everything to Nothing. Written entirely sans action, a girl decides to leave everything she owns and knows behind and move on. To where? She doesn’t know.
DAY TWENTY-FIVE: A-B. While writing this play, I wanted to see if I could create a sort of play-palindrome: that the play was the same lines, growing from the middle out to the beginning and end.
DAY TWENTY-SIX: A Real Brother. After unexplained events, a six year-old boy tried to convince his older brother that he’s truly sorry.
DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: A Pair of Strangers. Inspired by the true events of this date twenty-two years ago, a college dean at the University of Florida breaks the news to two students that their roommates have been murdered.
I learned a lot during this process, namely how to turn off my inner editor. This project also made me brave enough to try ideas that had been rolling around in my head for a long time. While obviously I can write whatever I want, when I want, for some reason, the idea that I might try out an idea in ordinary life and it doesn’t work out is terrifying. With this project, a bad idea lasts one day. It’s strangely freeing.
Though I didn’t win, I’m really glad I did this challenge and plan on doing it again next year.
Getting into the final stretch and I’m getting more and more behind…
My plays for week three (plus the two week two ones that I hadn’t yet written by last entry):
DAY THIRTEEN: Education Trial. In the days over over-medication for all of kids’ “problems”, schools would rather do that than actually help their students.
DAY FOURTEEN: Reciprocation. A man is angry that he performs random acts of kindness and gets nothing in return.
DAY FIFTEEN: Holding and its Patheticness. A guy realizes that now that the girl he’s still in love with is married- to someone else- with kids, he should probably start to let go.
DAY SIXTEEN: Ultimatum. Two girls are frustrated that their friend has suddenly stopped talking to them. They hatch a plan to get her attention again.
DAY SEVENTEEN: Teatime. Two characters, only one of whom is willing to speak. Jack tries to apologize to his significant other for an unknown crime using tea.
DAY EIGHTEEN: Eighteen. A girl is reluctant to face her eighteenth birthday because it means entering a whole new world.
DAY NINETEEN: Mom. Lily, 20, and Caroline, 50, have both lost their mothers, and can’t decide which is worse: to have more time with a mother you hated, or less but happier time with the mother you loved.
DAY TWENTY: Untitled. A girl confront her friend about the friend’s suicide.
And… I’m behind again. I will catch up soon!
As a writer, I like to challenge myself. Partly it’s because I enjoy proving people wrong- including myself. Partly it’s because I like to see what I can do. And partly it’s because I’m a huge scaredy cat and like to find ways to break myself of that. That’s why I’ve decided to take part in 31 Plays in 31 Days.
31 Plays in 31 Days is ” is an opportunity for playwrights to flex their writing muscles by pledging to write an original play every day in August 2012. Participating writers will join an online community of other playwrights and those who successfully create 31 plays will be invited to submit their work for our online reading production […] The pressure of this goal will allow you to set aside preconceived notions of what you should be writing and how you should be doing it. You will not have time to overanalyze your work, you will just have to write, write, write and be surprised by what comes out of you.” (description taken from the website.) It was created by Rachel Bublitz and Tracy Held Potter, and I think it’s a brilliant idea.
It’s not the first of its kind- National Novel Writing Month has been around since 1999, and its sister event, Script Frenzy, began in 2007. I’ve participated in each of these (NaNoWriMo for four years, Script Frenzy for one), and have never regretted it. As the description above says, writing so rapidly gives you no time to consult your inner editor, and I value that in this experience. I spend so much of my writing time thinking, ‘You can’t write that! It sounds stupid/doesn’t work/will cause people to think you’re insane!’ But in doing NaNo and Script Frenzy, I’ve learned that writing with those censors gives you half the novel/play you set out to write. Slowly but surely, these programs make you fearless- or at least willing to make mistakes. My favorite rule of Bublitz and Held Potter’s is “Submit the work that you’re not happy with. We don’t care if your characters are believable, if your plot is plausible, or if your ending is satisfying. We just want you to write a bunch of stories in a fixed period of time.” It’s not the quality that counts- at least not yet. The wonderful thing about these projects is that they allow you to force your way through your insecurities and while you might not have a polished play in the end, you finally got that idea out on paper, and now you have the rest of your life to bring it to full fruition.
I’m excited. I started writing my first play around 12:30 this morning, and submitted it around ten a.m. It’s a stand-alone monologue, and I feel like there will be a lot of those this month. I’ll keep you posted on my progress once a week!