Subscribe: Subscribe to me on YouTube

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

NaNoWriMo Day: 10
Words Written: 17,518
Words Remaining:

(No, I haven't written any more words in the 24 minutes since that last post. Get off my case).

I'm probably breaching copyright here, but I just wanted to post the latest entry in the Daily Q & A section from the NaNoWriMo site, on account of it being amusing in the extreme. Well, I thought so.

"Q: Marki Shalloe, two plays have been produced based on novels you wrote for NaNoWriMo. How did this happen? And what advice would you give other novelists who want to write for theater?

A: A good playwright biographs her characters, maps out her scenes, and knows exactly where her plot is going. But we’re talking about me, who does nothing but drink copious amounts of whiskey and tear out pictures in Vogue just in case I ever get wardrobe money. I panic at deadlines, which makes me a natural for NaNo.

I joined NaNo because two friends offered to mess up my Significant Hair if I did not. I am from Georgia, originally Alabama, and we take our ‘dos very seriously, therefore, I NaNo’d. And to my surprise, I found it was a great way to force me to do the pre-work a diligent and serious playwright (i.e., not me) would do.

How did the whole off-off-WAY-off Broadway thing come about? I was lucky enough to have written a couple of plays before this, one about pirates and one about self-abuse. It turns out that people really like pirates and self-abuse so I became popular and invited to all the really good parties, if I brought the liquor. At one of these I was approached by Process Theatre, which is a lovely and brave place that does stuff like “Steel Magnolias” with an all-male cast, so it was a natural fit.

“How quickly can you have us some new stuff?” they asked, and I replied: “Why, I have something almost ready.” I had, of course, no play at all. But I did have “Four Glasses”, my original Nanovel about a female alcoholic who is bitter and unable to connect with people and is not an autobiography shut up. They bit, and it was produced last year. I brought whiskey and pizza to rehearsals, so was a shoo-in for production in 2005. “What do you have ready?” they asked, and I answered that I had this terrific new play called “The Suicide Manual”, which was my 2004 Nanovel and not a play at all, only they didn’t pick up on that because of the whiskey. “The Suicide Manual” is being produced next March. It makes fun of Virginia Woolf, Freud, Auntie Em, and is very, very cruel to Sylvia Plath, none of which I could have done without the support of hundreds of NaNos naively doing my research via the forums.

Moral: If you want your Nanovel to become a play, remember that the play doesn’t actually have to be written for you to sell it. Punch up the dialogue and don’t panic—you know your characters by now and all you have to do is remember they can’t move off a 12 x 12 space. Find theatres open to new work and whisper that you have something very new, which won The National Novel Writer’s Prize in 2004. Only don’t use pirates or self-abuse. Those are mine."