You are hereMonthly archive / October 2010
Naplwrimo Founder, Dorothy Lemoult kicks-off our 5th Year with the first of our weekly Rhino Bursts*. Rhino Bursts are written specifically for the community by people we deem worthy of rallying Rhinos with the magic of their words and offer inspiration, advice, and that extra bit of juice as we focus on getting out that first draft. Dorothy's burst is fueled by her 5 years of experience fostering the community and watching, helping, and cheering for all Rhinos to cross that finish line on November 30!
*A burst is the sound that an adult rhino makes, though it is barely audible to human ears. A baby rhino on the other hand makes a squeak.
Dorothy Lemoult, here…
As many of you know, 5 years ago, inspired by the folks who created Nanowrimo, I started this crazy enterprise.
This year, I’m taking a back seat. Elizabeth Spreen and Toni Wilson have taken over management and forums moderation. They will be your trusty guides for the month and the site is already bumping thanks to their dedication and enthusiasm.
At this stage, waiting for the clock to strike 12:00am on November 1st, most of you are just eager to start writing your first line of dialogue or your first stage direction. Some of you have done some thinking about what you’re going to write about, some of you already have titles and some of you have not the slightest idea what your play is going to be about. Some of you are somewhere in the middle and some of you are letting your inner critic convince you that you don’t have time, after all, to do this thing.
I’ll be honest with you; the furthest I’ve ever made it in Naplwrimo was 65 pages. Finishing Naplwrimo is no small accomplishment. The main thing I have learned from those who finished Naplwrimo is that the secret to finishing is to get ahead.
Getting started is easy.
What I am hoping this pep talk will help you do is take advantage of your current burst of starting energy and get ahead. Here are some tips that are guaranteed to help you do that:
- If you’re on the fence, in limbo or torturing yourself over whether you can do this or not, try this: write a scene between your inner critic and you writer self. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write. Once you’re done, choose (never decide) what you’re going to do.
- After you’ve chosen (again, never decide), commit yourself for the month and write your first 3 pages. It doesn’t even have to be the beginning of your play. Just write 3 pages. Any 3 pages. If you don’t know where to start in your play, make a list of all the things you do know about the play you want to write. Keep writing. You’ll be surprised how much you already know about the play you want to write.
- Call, Facebook, Twitter or email 3 people you know (and that you know are supportive of your creative endeavors (don’t pick your saboteurs, you know who they are…) and let them know you’re doing Naplwrimo.
- Go to the Forums and introduce yourself to one other playwright on the site (it can be someone who likes similar playwrights as you, or someone from the same region as you, or even better, someone who seems to have nothing in common with you!)
- Go find 1 person who has finished Naplwrimo in the past and ask *them* for tips: Head over to the play archive, browse a bit, find a playwright that inspires you and contact them through their contact form.
- Bookmark the tracking page. That page is your friend. It displays all new posts in the Naplwrimo forums and on the site in one convenient menu. It will save you tons of time and keep you in the loop without having to browse the site for hours to find out what you missed. You’re here to write after all, and we know that!
- Read Adam Szymkowicz’s “Advice for Playwrights Starting Out.”
- Follow the 7 Rules of the Rhino.
- Don’t let anyone tell you there are rules to doing anything. Follow your own rules.
- Save your wrists from Repetitive Strain Injury and install the free program WorkRave to help you remember to stretch and take breaks.
- Write, write, write!!
As an opening ritual, here is Homer’s Ode to the Muse:
O Divine Poesy,
Goddess, daughter of Zeus,
Sustain for me this song of the various-minded man who,
After he had plundered the innermost citadel of hallowed Troy,
Was made to stay grievously about the coasts of men,
The sport of their customs,
Good and bad,
While his heart,
Through all the sea-faring,
Ached with an agony to redeem himself and bring his company safe home.
Vain hope – for them.
Their own witlessness cast them aside.
To destroy for meat the oxen of the most exalted Sun,
Wherefore the Sun-god blotted out the day of their return.
Make this tale live for us in all its many bearings, O Muse.”
– from Homer’s Odyssey
I now declare Naplwrimo 2010 open!
Write, Rhino. Write!
I hope everyone has gotten over their candy hang-overs and started off on the right hoof! Come here to check in with all your fellow Rhinos about what you've done on your first day of NaPlWriMo!
I still don't know which play I'm going to write. I've got two candidates. One is called Tilting and it's loosely based on Don Quixote with an at risk youth and a vietnam vet.
The other is a high concept play called A Brilliant Shaft of Darkness which is more or less about Alzheimers and focuses on a scientist working a a large particle collider.
I have no clue what I'll start writing at midnight, but hopefully I'll get there by the 30th. Really excited to start this up; it's been months since I've devoted any proper time to playwrighting.
Who's in a time zone where it's already midnight? How's it going?
We're almost there!
I thought this might be nice to post up to help everyone get to know their characters if they wanted to. Personally, I do quizzes like these every year so I can make sure i know my characters inside and out; so I'm sure there are other people who do something similar.
Obviously you may do this for any character.
[Part I - Back to basics]
1. Where and when was your character born? Is it significant?
2. What is your character's name, as written on his/her birth certificate?
3. Is your character male or female?
4. Was this character born before the story or during?
5. In November 2010, how old would your character be?
6. Is your character human? If not, what is it?
7. What role does this character play in the story (in relation to the main character)?
[Part II - A brief physical]
8. Describe your character's eyes.
9. Describe his/her hair.
10. Describe his/her predominant feature.
11. Does your character appear older or younger than his/her chronological age?
12. Does your character have any birthmarks or scars?
13. Tall or short?
15. If you got to pick the actor/actress to play your character on stage, who would it be?
16. What's your character's physical health status?
17. Any physical particularities? Explain briefly.
[Part III - Personality and psyche]
18. Describe your character's personality in one word.
19. What does your character avoid at all costs?
20. Complete this sentence: "My character is most likely to..."
21. What's your character's favorite book/favorite color/favorite show/favorite song/favorite food?
22. Who is your character's favorite person in the world - if they had to pick just one?
23. What are your character's hobbies?
24. What's your character's first memory?
25. Most vivid memory?
26. Your character's greatest fear?
27. Greatest regret?
28. Is your character bored easily?
29. What would he/she be most likely to do on a rainy day?
30. What would be your character's motto?
31. What would be the theme song of his/her life?
32. What is the single worst thing that could ever happen to your character?
33. How would your character describe him/herself?
34. Character's top five priorities?
35. How is your character's psychological health on a scale of one to ten?
36. Does your character get angry easily?
37. Talents and skills?
38. Greatest psychological flaw?
39. Character's darkest secret?
40. Optimist? Pessimist?
41. Introvert or extrovert?
42. Ultimate goal in life?
43. Tell me any additional information (related to personality and psyche) I should probably know about your character here.
[Part IV - Family and social]
44. What kind of childhood did your character have?
45. Your character's immediate family consists of:
46. What is your character's marital status for most of the story?
47. Is your character in a committed relationship for the greater part of the story?
50. Social class?
51. Sexual orientation?
[Part V - Relationships]
52. How does the character relate to other characters?
53. Does your character have a major love interest, and if so, who is it? Are they/will they be in a relationship (if you can tell us)? What is your character's relationship with his/her love interest like?
54. What is your character's relationship with his/her best friend(s) like?
55. What was/is your character's popularity like in high school/middle school?
56. How's the relationship with the parents?
57. How about siblings?
58. Is there someone your character would die for, no questions asked?
59. What are other characters' general first impressions of your character?
60. What do others like most/least about your character?
61. What is a something your character cannot stand in other people?
62. What is a surefire relationship deal-breaker for your character?
[Part VI - Your character and you]
63. Give us a three-word description of your character.
64. Give us a paragraph description of your character.
65. Would you want to be friends with your character if they were real?
66. If you've ever talked to people in your life about the character, how did they react to him/her?
67. What genre is your story this year?
68. Do you enjoy/do you think you'll enjoy writing about this character nonstop for 30 days?
So, I've competed already for two years and both years have gotten pretty close to finishing but ultimately lose due to other things that come up. I'm 17 and this year I decided I WILL finish.
My play is called They Call Us and has only 3 major characters (thus far), Me, Him, and Her. Their is a chorus/extras who fall under the category of Them. From what I have planned Me is a student in High School, Male or Female, who is describing the events at their school. Him/Her (Depending on Director) is this characters love interest, meaning that the lines for Him could be read by a female if Me is a ,ale (or by a Male if the director chooses that), and Her could be a male if Me is a female. So it gets a whee bit confusing.
Anyway, it starts on their first day of Junior Year (Act I) and ends at Graduation (Act 2).
Thus far, I know only some minor spots in-between...
I hope you, unlike me, are viewing the site after having slept in on this Halloween morn. I work 14 hours today, so I will be back just in time for the big hour. While I was in the shower, I was thinking about this, and I realized that duh, midnight comes to everyone in different time zones, so you know, it's probably midnight somewhere.
If so, have a happy first day of NaPlWriMo. I am in the middle of the country so I will be celebrating at a different time than some of you, but I will do announcements for the four main time zones in America. If you are elsewhere, feel free to join in the fun and create a forum wishing a merry midnight!
I hope you are all excited, because I definitely am. This is going to be a great year, and, in no short part, because of you all!
So enjoy your treats, avoids tricks and have a wonderful last day of October. Tomorrow, everything changes!
See you tonight!
Yeah, that's a working title, as I will be spending the rest of tonight and the better part of tomorrow coming up with some sort of plot. With any luck, I'll be able to come up with a plot to fit that title because I think it's awesome.
I'm having a hard time believing November is one day away. Seriously.
Are you excited?
Are you resting up? Stocking up on Scooby snacks? Wondering why lycanthrope is still the Word of the Day? Actually, it's a good word for me - given what my play is about. So maybe it's a sign.
The community is growing daily. Every time I check our email, there's a new group of people signing up for the event. And so many writers from the South! I want to welcome you all and look forward to writing with you this year.
I'm enjoying reading all the new play titles and descriptions. No one seems at a loss for ideas or inspriration. And if you are? Well, we can help you with that too. You only need to ask.
It's going to be an exciting month. And we're celebrating 5 years of writing plays. Which needs to be acknowledged properly. Maybe a virtual birthday cake or something. I'm thinking about just the right thing.
Finally, we'll have html badges and icons available to download to your blogs and websites on Monday. And we'll have a fabulous kick-off with a Rhino Burst from Dorothy. Woot!
Writing Down the Bones
One again, Ms. Goldberg hit the nail on the head. This is what I've been trying to say--take it ALL--the goodness and darkness in the world and in your experiences, your loves, your hates, your ideas--and bring it to the table with you when you write.
And for God's sake, don't be ashamed of your love. Ray Bradbury told a story about how he was made fun of for loving Buck Rogers comics and got to the point where he ripped them up. He returned to his first and true love after he realized he shouldn't have walked away from Buck in the first play--and neither should you! Guess what? I have a deep and a abiding love for bad pop music. I proclaim it loud. I love a fairly narrow genre of science fiction--but I LOVE IT. And I LOVE EARLY V.C. ANDREWS NOVELS! Are they trashy? Sure, but there's something fun to it. And if you love it, go for it.
And this is the biggest thing about NaPlWriMo that I cannot stress enough--Community. I started with NaPlWriMo three years ago because I was living in an area of the country that is not exactly NYC or Chicago. I also work a job where I have to keep strange hours. This makes it hard to become a part of the community here, what there is. So I found this site, and have been with it ever since. It was because I was a part of a group who, all over the world literally, were coming together to write a play. And having other people we can cry with, laugh with, share our problems and joys with, is what it's all about. Heck, that's what life is all about. And there's no group of people I would rather spend my November writing with.
All right, that's enough sap for once (even though I love it and I am not ashamed!).
There's roughly 39 hours left until November 1, 12:01 a.m. Through a stroke of luck, I will be with you guys, writing at that exact time! This hasn't happened before and I am terrifically excited about it. I hope you guys are too.
If you haven't had a chance to yet, please go here www.naplwrimo.org/forum/186 and click on POST A NEW FORUM and put the title of your play in as the topic and give us any and all details you would like to about the play. There's only like 9 so far, and I KNOW there's more of you out there than that!
See you guys on the flipside!
Naplwrimo runs on love, sweat and your generous help.
Thank you to our donors!
Machelle Allman, Holly Arsenault, Will Bond, Karen Chandler, Michael Lee, Leslie Liautaud, Jeff Mackey, Maggie McAleese, Marian McNamee, Marla Porter, and all our anonymous donors.