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Reflections on 31 Plays in 31 Days 2013


I am happy to report I fulfilled my goal of writing thirty-one plays for every day of the month of August, and I am very pleased with the result.

Last year I went in with the express intention of generating more ten-minute plays for my then-sparse dramatic portfolio. They're good to have because there are lots of opportunities to submit them to festivals across the country, and are therefore a lot easier to get produced than a full-length play. That turned out very successfully; of the ten or so ten-minutes that I've had performed in the year since, all but one of them were written during this period. This includes The Late Mrs. Chadwick, my most-performed piece, and The Triumph of Law, which won an award for best play.

This time around, however, I wanted to focus on writing out all the scene Ideas I'd had in my head for a while now but hadn't gotten around to committing to paper. I suffer from the same problem a lot of writers have in that if I don't feel I am capable of writing my idea exactly right at the given moment, I will hold off writing it until I feel I can do it just how I want it. Which means, of course, that I never actually get to writing it! It's basically just a form of procrastination, and I do much better when I force myself to bang out a draft, no matter how lousy or far from my idealized vision. At least then it exists in some form, and I have something to work with!

So this time around I focused on writing scenes that I would become part of larger full-length pieces. The first time around I only did that for a few pieces-- one for the original Mrs. Hawking script, several for Lame Swans, the graphic novel I had to write for my interdisciplinary study that semester, maybe a few others. I'm proud of myself this time, as it's given me a good start on first drafts for several full-length plays I've been wanting to write. As I said, these were all developments of previously conceived-of ideas. I do tend to write better when I'm already really invested in the idea I'm writing about. Last time that helped me a lot, as I drew from stories I already had, such as the many plot threads in my larp The Stand, to find dramatic situations.

Here's the boring data on the distribution of what universe the pieces are from:

The breakdown on what I wrote this month:

Mrs. Hawking: 12 - 39%
- To be possibly used in the first sequel, tentatively titled "Vivat Regina": 5 - 16%
  - "Worth a Crack or Two"
  - "Protege"
  - "Reading the Signs"
  - "The Other Mrs. Hawking"
  - "Serving"
-To be possibly used in the prequel, tentatively titled "Miss Stanon": 3 - 10%
  - "The Leftenant's Daughter"
  - "The Difference Between Us"
  - "A Force of Nature"
- To be possibly used in the second sequel featuring nemesis Mrs. Frost: 1 - 3%
  - "Pounding Against the Bars"
- From somewhere in the story's timeline: 3 - 10%
  - "Like a Loss"
  - "Receiving Notice"
  - "After the Funeral"

The Stand: 5 - 15%
- From "Sally and Deadeye": 2 - 6%
  - "For Her"
  - "Most in Need"
- From Carson Hill's story: 1 - 3%
  - "A Fair Trade"
- From elsewhere in the plot of the game: 2 - 6%
  - "Back East"
  - "Not My Brother"

Fairfield: 4 - 13%
- "Rich Men's Sins"
- "Glamorous Life of an Actress"
- "Not as Hopeless as They Say"
- "The Puzzle House"

Vantage City: 2 - 6%
- "Believing in Heroes"
- "Chausseur"

Vitality: 2 - 6%
- "Not Yet"
- "Be a Human Being"

Sundan: 1 - 3%
- "My Misrule"

Better Design: 2 - 6%
- "Dress Ourselves Somehow"
- "Onboard"

Fan fiction: 2 - 6%
- "Good Night, Night Vale" (Welcome to Night Vale)
- "I Killed Sycorax" (The Tempest)

Standalone: 1 - 3%
- "Shower Cake"

The breakdown on what I wrote last August:

Fierce: 2 - 6%
- "Pretty is Power"
- "Lie Down and Die"

The Stand: 7 - 23%
- "Colors in the Sky in Rain"
- "Public Enemy"
- "Pierced Silver Piece"
- "Earned a Little Something"
- "One Drop"
- "The Triumph of Law"
- "Confronting It"

Lame Swans: 6 - 19%
- "Fitting"
- "Pushing for Perfection"
- "Last Shot"
- "Don't Tell Anyone"
- "Complement"
- "Gunning"

Vantage City: 2 - 6%
- "Wondra"
- "Work-Life Balance"

Mrs. Hawking: 1 - 3%
- "One Can Hide Anything"

Fairfield: 1 - 3%
- "No Trust Left"

Better Design: 2 - 6%
- "Slimming"
- "Better Design"

Fan fiction: 2 - 6%
- "Chapfallen" (Hamlet)
- "Have That Dance" (Captain America)

Standalone: 8 - 26%
- "Service Is Its Own Reward"
- "The Late Mrs. Chadwick"
- "Explain"
- "The Old House"
- "Daughter's Daughter"
- "Moving Out"
- "Playing the Game"
- "Beloved Monster"

Almost forty percent of the scenes I wrote for this month were for some part of the larger Mrs. Hawking story. I'm very happy about that, as that is the project I am currently most invested in and would like to take further. I've been turning a lot of ideas over in my mind for it, so I'm pleased that I got out a lot of great stuff. I still need to develop a lot of the concrete plot stuff for those stories, but I'm accessing a lot of interesting character, which is just as if not more important.

There's only one thing, though, that makes me a touch disappointed in myself as compared to last year. I'm not so bugged that I didn't get many real, decent ten-minute plays since that wasn't my goal, but it is worth noting that I think I only wrote one ("Believing in Heroes") that truly counts in its current form, and only a few others that can be whipped into ten-minute play shape. But I am a little bothered that, whenever I struggled to come up with what to write for a given day, I could not think of any original stories to write about that were any good. Last time I got a many new stories/universes from the process, including Vantage City, the one about the fashion designer, the disfigured supermodel, Mrs. Chadwick, and The Old House. I'm not sure why I had such a hard time branching out. Not that I particularly NEEDED to, given my plan going in, but I am a bit disappointed with my reduced ability there.

In general, though, I am very happy with my work. I need more full-length pieces, and I definitely need to just freakin' make myself write. This was excellent for both of those.

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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