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2017-09-15 01:59 pm

New post on -- NEXT PERFORMANCES - Base Instruments and Gilded Cages at Arisia 2018!

Mrs. Hawking is returning to Arisia this January!

I am delighted to announce that Team Hawking is undertaking preparations to begin putting together our next round of production for Arisia 2018! We will be continuing our tradition of performing the two most recent installments, the part we debuted the previous year as a lead-in to a brand-new story, in order to make hook audiences into the flow of the series. So we are proud to present Mrs. Hawking 3: Base Instruments along with Mrs. Hawking 4: Gilded Cages, in its very first public peformance!

Soon we'll announcing the cast, featuring an array of both familiar faces returning to their roles as well as new stars bringing their talent to the table. And we'll make sure to keep you up to date on scheduling, development, and process as it unfolds. Until then, I hope to leave you all in anticipation of the next direction the Hawking story is about to explore!

And make sure to join us at Arisia 2018! this January the weekend of the 12th-15th at the Westin Boston Waterfront!
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2017-09-10 12:36 pm
Entry tags:

Gonna see IT probably

I am probably going to go see IT. I'd like someone to go with me, but most of my friends don't want to see horror movies and I've never minded seeing movies alone. I wish I could take my mom, the biggest Stephen King and horror movie fan ever, and mostly I want to go in her honor. This new version is supposed to be pretty good, so I bet she would have enjoyed it.

One thing strikes me, though. I think the new clown design is effectively creepy and all, but he weirdly reminds me of the time Frasier dressed up as a clown to play a prank on his dad. I think it's the shape of the head; Kelsey Grammer has a fairly large forehead exacerbated by the receding hairline, so I can't help but see him in the particular way they're representing Pennywise in the new movie. It makes it a little funnier and a little less scary to me. Maybe that's a good thing, as I generally am a crybaby when it comes to horror films, so maybe I'll have an easier time with a little of the bite taken out of it.
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2017-09-09 09:54 am

First update of Susurrus: Season of Tides!

The free-to-play browser game I write for, Susurrus: Season of Tides has had its first update since our debut!

Susurrus: Season of Tides, the free-to-play browser based story game I write for, has had its first post-release update!

New Content in This Release:

Nyx the bartender.
If you're stuck and could use some direction, or just want to know what interesting things are going on, head to the Giant's Dance and talk to Nyx, the friendly neighborhood bartender there. She knows a little bit about just about everything that’s going on right now.

News tab. As the city cycles turn, new quests and things to do emerge across the city. Click on the News tab to see reports of what locations have new adventures available to play.

New companion. There's some thorny business with some local psychics that could net you a new companion. Explore old ground with your Mind and Heart temperaments very open and see what comes of it…

Ask for the Secret Menu. Cosmic Coffee's secret menu is now available, offering a variety of stat-enhancing and healing artisan coffee blends specifically crafted for the magical community!

More from The Harbinger. They've reappeared in a few extra places, leaving behind a handful of Glimmer and cryptic clues. Characters who diligently pursue anomalies will have a new conversation and a few hints toward upcoming plot.

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2017-09-08 03:04 pm

Accomplishment chart, 9/1 – 9/7

Accomplishment chart, 9/1 – 9/7


- plotting for new storyline for Susurrus game
- drafting for new storyline for Susurrus game
- cutting down for Gilded Cages, version 3
- 2 journal entries

- confirmed Base Instruments and Gilded Cages for performance at Arisia 2018
- started gathering the casts for Base Instruments and Gilded Cages for performance at Arisia 2018

- physical challenges at Boda Borg
- 1 one-mile run
- 30 minutes climbing
- 1 two-mile run

- listened to episode 125 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

- made ginger-soy pork chops with steamed broccoli
- made crusted chicken cutlets with sliced cucumber
- made broiled sirloin with cherry tomatoes
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2017-09-02 01:38 pm
Entry tags:

The first thing you notice about Bojack (Horseman season 4 trailer)

(That title is very funny if you watch the show. 😁)

…is that THE HORSE HIMSELF IS BASICALLY NOT IN IT. That blows my mind a little. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a central character entirely missing from a season trailer for his own show before.

Herein I am obsessively analyze everything I see in the trailer for the next season of Bojack Horseman (debuting THIS COMING FRIDAY WOOOOOOOOOOO!) I did this with last year’s too and got pretty much everything wrong. Whatever, I enjoy it. But be careful if you’re not caught up, as spoilers be ahead. You can watch the trailer here.

The structure of the trailer is provided by Diane leaving Bojack a voicemail. Apparently she hasn’t heard from him in three months. That the last image we saw of him in season 3 was him driving out into the desert and experiencing strong emotion in response to seeing a herd of “wild” horses— not sure what “wild” means in the context of this anthropomorphic universe, but that was clearly the concept being drawn upon. Bojack has a history of running away and blowing off his life when things get challenging, so there’s a strong chance he’s been doing that for the time he’s been incommunicado. Did he join with that herd he saw? He doesn’t seem the type to want to live a simpler life, given his addiction to the various excesses of his celebrity, but we know from season 2 how living as just a normal person that was part of a nice family made him the happiest he’s been in years. So maybe that was able to be an escape from him.

But, because we see him in basically none of the trailer, we don’t know much of what he’s up to or what he’s doing. In fact, in sharp contrast to the season 3 trailer, we focus entirely on the doings of the important supporting cast.

Diane has a new job at the blog run by Ralph Stilton’s rich little sister, voiced by Kimiko Glen, or Brooke Soso on Orange is the New Black. She compliments Diane on not caring if anyone reads her work, to Diane’s disappointment, which suggests that the blog job is not working out as well as she might have hoped. The offices of the company seem hyper modern and full of “fun” accoutrements, which are visual shorthand for “cool startup.” Diane works at a giant screen in a nonstandard chair that looks too low, which make her seem weirdly helpless.

Mr. Peanutbutter is running for governor of California, and their house is bedecked with campaign things, like a bus with his picture on it and a parody of the Obama HOPE poster. He has an image of a nasty-old-man-looking woodchuck on the wall in a red no symbol reading “Chuck Woodchuck,” so I guess that’s his gubernatorial opponent. Diane kisses him and seems supportive of his ambitions, but I could guess that she’s going to find the demands of campaigning and accompaniments like invasion of privacy very stressful.

Mr. Peanutbutter campaigns on being “specifically on the side of the fact and… also feelings,” which makes a reporter comically throw up his hands and declare himself satisfied with no questions. I can’t imagine that they won’t use this storyline to comment on the horror that was this most recent presidential election, especially since as Mr. Peanutbutter is basically a know-nothing celebrity who lacks governmental experience, he opens some interesting avenues for parallels and critique. I wonder what angle they’ll take, since he’s basically a decent guy even if he doesn’t seem remotely qualified. That’s a heavy, sad topic, but this show is never afraid to go dark. At a rally where everyone cheers for him, Diane looks down in distress at her phone. Is she reacting to something on the phone, or to the crowd’s reaction to her husband?

Princess Carolyn muses about how she’s always wanted a family, which we knew all the way from the first season when she complained that Bojack didn’t respect her enough to have a baby with her. Then it cuts to her lovely boyfriend Ralph Stilton asking, “Would you, could you, with a mouse?” as he takes her hand in a fancy restaurant. It’s suggesting a proposal, but we don’t actually hear the question get popped. Her reaction of “Wow,” is a slightly odd response if it was a proposal of marriage. I like Ralph though, so I’m kind of hoping they tie the knot. I note with that “Green Eggs and Ham” cadence that they like to do references to children’s literature with mice in it in Ralph’s dialogue, such as “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” last season.

Todd is still crashing on Bojack’s couch, at least at one point, because Diane commends that she hasn’t seen him in a while. The next shot is, hilariously, of him walking on a runway at a fashion show for “Sharc Jacobs” (this is the first point the trailer made me laugh out loud.) As we later see some chick in a hip bar basically wearing his outfit, I bet you a thousand bucks he wandered unwittingly onto that runway in the middle of the show, and then the world thinks what he was wearing was part of the new collection, so everybody immediately starts copying it.

He also seems to be hovering by a Rube Goldberg machine with a pink lizard looking person. No idea there. He skis down a hill and steals a giant bag of popcorn while hanging off a drone. No idea there either. He’s Todd. He’ll have a bunch of weird adventures that will end with a gut twist by the end of the season, because that’s what he always does.

In Diane’s message she echoes Bojack, with “This is Diane Nguyen, by the way. Obviously.” This strikes me because it’s the same way he ended his voicemail to her when he confessed he was in love with her. They do on occasion draw parallels between the two of them to explain their bond, but that one gives me pause, as I really hope they’re not going to have her develop romantic feelings for him. That would not make me happy. I could, however, see the show have her turn to him for validation in a low moment, which he would be too weak not to take advantage of, and have it fuck things up. The show goes to places like that, and while I’d buy it, I care about the characters too much for that to happen to them. I want better than them for that, and again, they’ve never been afraid to blow relationships up and let them stay that way.

Diane narrates further. “It’s funny. Last time I saw you, you told me you needed me in your life. And then you just disappeared. Anyway, things are even crazier around here lately.”

We see a yellow convertible driving along the desert, which is presumably where Bojack is, given where we last saw him. We don’t see the car’s driver, but it’s definitely implied that it’s Bojack.

Diane wakes up in bed alone, with only Mr. Peanutbutter’s sunglasses in his place. Mr. Peanutbutter appears to be somewhere snowy, wearing a ski suit I think. So he’s traveling and far away from her, a reversal of when she went to Cordovia.

A shadowy figure in a Vincent Adultman-style fedora and trench coat appears, and it turns out to be that horse girl we saw trying to get in touch with Bojack through his agency at the end of last season. Todd initially freaks out when she approaches him, and she says, “Ever since I was a baby, people said I looked like Bojack Horseman.” She even points to a picture of baby Bojack in his signature sailor suit. To which Todd replies with the line that caused my second big laugh of the trailer, “That’s a terrible thing to say to a baby!”

It was pretty heavily foreshadowed last season that Bojack might have a child he never knew about. The most obvious was the fact that this horse girl was trying to get in touch with him, and she was described by Judah as “sounding like a teenaged girl.” The other suggestions that this might happen were more oblique. Thematically, one might say his taking responsibility for the seahorse baby last season was sort of an indicator that he might have it in him to be somebody’s parent. More literally and less literarily, when he hears Diane is planning on having an abortion he comments on how many abortions he paid for in his time, ending with, “Gee, I hope those women didn’t lie and actually just kept— my money.”

The joke at the end is a distraction for the possibility that what they actually kept is the baby. The timeline I suppose makes sense, as this likely would have happened during his stardom in the 90’s, and a child born at some point in there could conceivably still be a teenager. She has an odd voice, one I don’t recognize, honestly that doesn’t sound particularly teenaged to me. I’ll have to look the actress up, but I held off for fear of spoiling myself.

As a side note, in the alums beside baby Bojack is a very handsome vintage-y looking picture of two horses in sepia tone and fancy old-timey outfits. I like the picture very much.

Princess Carolyn tells Todd, “The world is dark and scary and full of creepy clown dentists.” We see the two of them surrounded by what appear to be wasps, him in a towel and her in an evening dress, and there’s even a shot of a boy being worked on by the aforementioned creepy clown dentists. For what purpose, I know not, but one of the clowns is a platypus in clown makeup wearing a pretty dress carrying a hockey stick. So that’s fun. She continues, “But you gotta push through and hope there’s better stuff ahead.” We see her walk out of an elevator with Judah, which implies they’re working together again, and Ralph come up and kiss her as they’re both wearing bathrobes.

We get a bunch of shots in quick succession as Diane intones, “I’m sure you’d say, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”” Diane stands between a blonde lady and the badger upon whom she pulls a gun from her purse. Mr. Peanutbutter has meets with his woodchuck rival, who bangs furiously on his desk. Diane furiously hurls her giant computer screen to the ground. And then, one of the most shocking shots in the whole trailer— a growling Mr. Peanutbutter holds an angry Diane by her wrists and shoves her against a wall.

Now what is THAT supposed to be? I know trailers can’t always be taken at face value every moment because they pull moments out of context to create interest. But it looks like an act of aggression, which given that they’re married has some rather horrifying implications. Are they going down an actual spousal violence route here? That’s heavy, and rather shocking for these two characters whose relationship has been presented as occasionally troubled but overall mostly loving and supportive. For the record, Diane does not look scared, she looks like she’s fighting back, so it may not be totally straightforward.

But Bojack does NOT do the “haha, isn’t it funny how terrible these people are” thing and leave it with no consequences. Maybe with a peripheral character, but never the leads. They would not show an incident of spousal violence without it having IMPACT. Like, it would be a storyline and they would deal with it. Again, I would find that a shocking direction for these two characters. And again, context may matter and give it a different vibe. For all I know, it’s bait for the BDSM furries in the audience— of which I am sorry to report I know the show has a fan base.

Princess Carolyn and the horse girl both say, “Where have you been?” to an unseen person, who I’m betting on is Bojack. That’s a pretty basic guess, but they went out of their way to keep him out of the trailer, so it may not be intended to be misleading.

Lenny Turtletaub asks if the world’s gone mad in his office. He has great film posters— “Glockerspaniel,” “Americanine Shooter,” and “Bulletproof Principal.” I confess I don’t get the joke of the last one, but it’s of a Great Dane with a gun in a bulletproof vest.

Mr. Peanutbutter and Pinky Penguin are at a black-tie party where a guy in a tuxedo is on fire, which is the mark of a good one.

Todd plays the triangle with an orchestra. We get a quick shot of Rutabega Rabbitowitz, to which I cheered because I love that smart Jean-Ralphio, amid a bunch of white roses with red edges. Makes me wonder if it’s an Alice in Wonderland reference, though he’s a black and white rabbit with red eyes like Bunnicula.

A mouse boy dances on a table in a grand house surrounded by other mice, so I guess we’re going to get to meet the Stilton family. They’re all wearing what look like cat ears and carrying torches, to which Princess Carolyn looks on angrily, so I think we’re going to get a clash of ethnicity or religion storyline as they contemplate getting married. Given how often cats have been used to represent Nazis and mice their Jewish victims, that’s an interesting possible reversal. OH, or maybe she’s like the white person who doesn’t understand racial minorities distrust of white people? Hm, but I doubt a show like this would involve torches in that case and make it look unreasonable. They’re usually pretty good about that sort of thing.

Princess Carolyn gets smashed at a party where one of the clown dentists hovers over a passed-out boy with a handsaw. Todd carries in jugs of mouthwash, which suggests this is not an upscale party. Actually I think it’s supposed to be at Princess Carolyn’s apartment. She may be dealing with the revelation that her boyfriend is prejudiced in some way. That would make me sad, as I like the character of Ralph.

A row of beetles dressed like Ancient Egyptians twerk. That’s… cool.

Brief flashback to what appears to be a scene from Mr. Peanutbutter’s old show, “Mr. Peanutbutter’s House,” with what I guess is a celebrity guest star.

Office Meow Meow Fuzzyface, another character I love, stops Carolyn and Ralph in traffic but appears to startle at the sight of them, then pulls a gun. Again, racial issues to be explored?

A child’s foot in pink slippers reaches down toward a gas pedal in a car, only for an adult foot in a green wedge sandal press down on the pedal alongside it. It is juxtaposed with a shot of Mr. Peanutbutter backing a tiny child’s toy-looking car through the wall of a hospital room. Shockingly, the patient appears to be his woodchuck rival, who has bandages on his wrists and what appear to be lobster claws where his hands should be— and a balloon that reads “Get Hands Soon.” I guess… that’s a thing? I cannot wait to see what happens there, as this show's trademark is to juxtapose the truly absurd with the deeply emotional.

Beatrice Horseman, Bojack’s mother, in her present aged state (as in, it’s not a flashback like when she usually appears) stares out a window, hands pressed to the glass and eyes wide in horror. There are many photographs taped to the window from the inside and we only see a faint outline of them through the back. In my headcanon his dad Butterscotch is already dead, but I wonder if this will resolve it one way or the other.

Diane narrates over all this. “THEN you would be so overwhelmed by the sheer ludicrousness of the situation that you would get in your car and drive to Hawaii!”

Finally, we see our only glimpse of Bojack— from behind, in the driver’s seat of the yellow convertible we saw driving through the desert. He pulls up to a little cabin which may be the same one in the picture Charlotte sent him from the brief period she lived in main thirty years ago. The one where he once fantasized about having a whole normal life, married to Charlotte, raising a little girl named Harper.

“Wherever you are, I hope you’re happy,” Diane finishes over this. “I really do, Bojack.” But once she’s done, a digitized version of Amy Sedaris’s voice says, “The mailbox is full. Goodbye.” So Bojack doesn’t even get the message.

Wow. I am excited. I miss the dulcet gravel tones of Will Arnet, but I am quite intrigued that they didn’t even show the series lead. Makes me think that there’s a TON of plot packed into this, as we have no idea what the main character is doing on top of all the rest they’ve teased.

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2017-09-01 07:45 pm

Accomplishment chart, 8/25 - 8/31

Accomplishment chart, 8/25 – 8/31

- worked on 1 companion quest for Susurrus game
- drafted consultant NPC character for Susurrus game
- drafted 40 newspaper headings for Susurrus game
- plotting for new storyline for Susurrus game
- wrote “Bravest Soul” scene for day #27 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- wrote “Impasse” scene for day #28 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- wrote “Fifty or Fifty-One” scene for day #29 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- wrote “Out of Place” scene for day #30 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- wrote “Enough to Compare” scene for day #31 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- 4 journal entries

- 2 fighter abs routines
- 2 two-mile runs
- 1 one-mile run

- listened to episode 124 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

- made ginger-soy pork chops with steamed broccoli
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2017-09-01 07:35 pm

Reflections on 31 Plays in 31 Days 2017

I completed the 31 Plays in 31 Days challenge for the sixth year in a row this past month!

I did it a little differently than I ever have before, but honestly I’ve been creeping toward this for several years now. Basically, I completed the challenge in July rather than in August, in order to get a play written earlier. These sprints to generate content are always most effective and efficient for me when I have outlines of what scenes I’d like to write. Because I knew I wanted to complete Mrs. Hawking part 4 this summer, but far enough in advance to have it edited to begin rehearsing in the fall, I didn’t want to be drafting it in August. So I did my outlining in June, drafted it in July, and editing was saved for August.

Part 4: Gilded Cages was in fact drafted, though I haven’t completely finished the editing for it. Most of what I posted for the challenge this month was from that first draft. But I ran into the problem, as I often do, that I wrote stuff that spoiled the ending of the piece and I didn’t want to just throw it out there. But that meant, in order to have something to post for all thirty-one days, I had to write new stuff. I suppose I could have just counted my credit privately, but I very much LIKE having something to show every day. And that made for a lot of extra writing work when I was busy, with editing, and with writing for my day job on Susurrus: Season of Tides, which honestly I could have done without.

I think the truth is, as [personal profile] inwaterwrit pointed out when I discussed it with her, that I’ve more or less outgrown this particular structure. The need to just generate scenes, content— regardless of what it is —is just not that important at this point in my writing. It’s more much important to use structures that facilitate the creation of larger works. I can sort of use 31P31D for that, as I did this month, but it comes along with certain problems— most obviously, the need to write extra stuff to fit the structure rather than just focusing on what I actually NEED to write.

I suppose I could just quit doing it… but I like having done it. I like the feeling of accomplishment, I like making lists of and analyzing everything I wrote, and I like having things to post on my blog. So I guess writing more— and having those scenes as groundwork for the future —is a small price to pay. And I had like six scenes drafted that were at least somewhat to very useable all ready for Gilded Cages because of previous 31P31D. Maybe I’ll stop doing it someday, but this was not that day.

To be continued in my analysis of what I wrote this time.
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2017-08-31 10:30 pm

31 Plays in 31 Days, #31 - "Enough to Compare"

This scene really needs more wit and thought, but I pushed to finish. Any scene with Justin needs to be very witty and clever, but I'm too tired to labor over it. Still, I'm glad I got an idea for a scene with Justin in it. I love his character.


Day #31 - Enough to Compare )
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2017-08-30 08:06 pm

31 Plays in 31 Days, #30 - "Out of Place"

This isn't from any particular place in the timeline. Just an attempt at a funny scene I pulled out of nowhere in my push to finish.

Day #30 - Out of Place )
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2017-08-28 09:48 pm

31 Plays in 31 Days, #28 - "Impasse"

Ugh. Garbage. Ill-thought out, context-free, with decisions made that shouldn’t be made until a thousand other things are figured out. But I got to finish the damn challenge. And I’ve arbitrarily decided this is the all-Hawking 31P31D, so I’m pulling out whatever I can think of.

Day #28 - Impasse )
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2017-08-27 08:27 pm

31 Plays in 31 Days, #27 - "Bravest Soul"

A rough, somewhat vague scene. It's a stab at imagining something that would depend on a plot I know nothing about, the thrust of the story in Mrs. Hawking 5. But I am excited to think about how Clara would be pulled in to help out, particularly because Nathaniel's in danger and she's called upon to be the third man on the team (so to speak) in his absence.

Bah. I do not want to be generating more scenes right now. But I'm pretty much out of non-spoilery Gilded Cages scenes, and I can't bear not to fill out the challenge here on this blog.

I should do more with Mary and Clara. I want them to have a friendship too, but I've never had much of an opportunity to explore it.

Day #27 - Bravest Soul )
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2017-08-26 09:04 am

31 Plays in 31 Days, #26 - "How Did You Come to Do This?"

Blargh. This scene, which immediately follows Day #25 - "Act Tonight", is not working. The idea behind it is that Mrs. Hawking has come to sympathize, even identify, with this client Mrs. Khan (soon to be Mrs. Chaudhary) in the course of helping her, plus is in a self-reflective and melancholy mood due to thinking about the past. These are supposed to combine to make her more open and forthcoming than she usually is. However, the overwhelming consensus at the reading was that she was WAY TOO open and forthcoming to be in character, and after hearing that I agree. I need to find a way to get the information across here while pulling massively back to keep Mrs. Hawking believable, but I haven't undertaken that editing operation yet.

Blargh. I have five more of these to do and I think I'm out of Gilded Cages scenes I can post without excessive spoilers.

Day #26 - How Did You Come to Do This? )
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2017-08-25 08:45 am

31 Plays in 31 Days, #25 - "Act Tonight"

As I said, I'm very close to running out of Gilded Cages scenes that are not excessively spoilery to post. But I've got writing for my game job to do this week, and of course I've got to actually edit the play for real. So I don't want to worry about writing new stuff for 31P31D right this second. So I'm just slamming down what remaining scene pieces I've got. For these last couple, the arcs may not be totally complete, but I'm just going to break them at the shifts that caused me to chunk them apart in the writing process in the first place.

Again, these scenes from the case need to be fixed up for logic and flow, but here's how they stood in draft one. Also, again, Mrs. Khan will be Mrs. Chaudhary to more accurate reflect the character's background.

Day #25 - Act Tonight )
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2017-08-25 07:24 am

Accomplishment chart, 8/18 – 8/24

Accomplishment chart, 8/18 – 8/24


- worked on 1 companion quest for Susurrus game
- wrote “No Knights” scene for day #18 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- finished “Giving Away” scene for day #22 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- wrote “What a Man Can’t Help” scene for day #23 of 31 Plays in 31 Days
- 7 journal entries

- listened to episode 123 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

- made honey-mango pork chops and steamed broccoli
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2017-08-24 08:10 am

31 Plays in 31 Days, #24 - "The Gang Case"

I am almost out of postable scenes from Gilded Cages. This might be the last one. Even though there were thirty-nine separate scene pieces, some of them were more "connective tissue" between moments, and others were pieces I don't want to show yet for fear of spoiling the ending. So I've only only a couple remaining, and I'm probably going to have to write a few more new things just to round out the thirty-one days.

I'm showing some of the early scenes of the case of Gilded Cages, which definitely need some clarifying work. It starts in medias res, and deciding exactly what bit of information should be parceled on when needs some fixing. Also, I need to make it super clear that the issue discussed here between the women is "men suck and marriage is awful" rather than anything like, say, the client's religion or other things. With Mrs. Hawking, the issue is ALWAYS "men suck and marriage is awful," but I don't want any confusion on that point. 😁

Also, I'm changing Mrs. Khan's name to Mrs. Chaudhary, on the advice of several readers.

Day #24 - The Gang Case )
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2017-08-23 09:49 pm

31 Plays in 31 Days, #23 - "What a Man Can't Help"

In trying to come up with what to post today, it struck me that despite going on and on, often in the text of the Hawking plays, about how important Nathaniel's relationship with the Colonel was to him, I'd never actually written any interaction between them. The closest I've ever come was a quick mention in what is thus far the only prose to exist of the main Hawking storyline— a short story I drafted about Nathaniel's falling for Clara during the time she was seeing Justin.

While version one of that piece is complete, I never finished editing that story, since other projects became more pressing. But it was an interesting experiment in telling other pieces of the story which will never be able to feature in the full-length plays. Not to mention a chance for me to practice my rather atrophied prose muscles, which are probably good for me to keep in practice, even though drama is my focus. I plan on sharing that story when it's finished, but it still needs a pretty serious editing pass before I do that.

I bring that up because I thought that brief moment mentioned in that story between Nathaniel and the Colonel might make a good focus for today's scene. Imagining exactly what their interactions were like is really useful to understanding how Nathaniel has the rosy impression of his uncle that he does, and giving context to how he remembers him.

On top of that, I like the small ways it's revealing of the Colonel. It's easy to see how Nathaniel doesn't realize what his uncle is communicating to him— as a self-centered kid in pain, he's not in a good place to be perceptive —but the Colonel offers a sympathy to his nephew's plight that speaks to what Reginald himself feels about what he's gone through.

Also, it's fun to imagine what a lovesick, nineteen-year-old Nathaniel was like. 😁

Day #23 - What a Man Can't Help )
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2017-08-22 08:41 pm

31 Plays in 31 Days, #22 - "Giving Away"

I've been picking at this piece for a long time. I think I could possibly extend it into a full ten-minute play with some expanding and polishing, but I pushed myself to finish it just to have something to post today. It's from after Mary and Mrs. Hawking have their break, and Mary agrees to marry Arthur and go to America with him. This is from just before their wedding, a moment between Mary and Nathaniel, who is giving her away.

It's mostly fluff, about the bond between the two characters. Developing their friendship is important to me while keeping it platonic, and I like how a piece like this pays that off in a powerful way. Also, it's an exercise in dealing with one of the largest potential pitfalls of the whole series, how often everyone ends up talking about Mrs. Hawking. Here, it is DELIBERATELY AVOIDED by the characters' intention. But, because of the recent blowup she's a conspicuous and painful absence— she refuses to attend Mary's wedding —there are some slight allusions that I hope acknowledge the reality of the situation without centering her.

Last year's Day #25 - Wedding Toast would occur just after this.

Day #22 - Giving Away )
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2017-08-21 09:52 am

31 Plays in 31 Days, #21 - "Very Proud of You"

Just a tiny bit of scene immediately following Day #20 - Learning the Hard Way", after Elizabeth delivers a bite of a reality sandwich to Priyanka and Victoria. This is important for all that it is short. It reveals Victoria's decent intentions, but her inability to understand just how much more Priyanka is risking and stands to lose if their scheme fails. As for Priyanka, we see a little of the weight of her responsibility, and how she is manipulated by Victoria's blind confidence, not to mention the invocation of a mother she felt like she never knew as well as she wanted to. The hugeness of her need— to save her neighbors, to know and be worthy of her mother —is established very strongly, I believe, in these small moments.

Day #21 - Very Proud of You )
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2017-08-20 09:35 am

31 Plays in 31 Days, #20 - "Learning the Hard Way"

This scene follows immediately after Day #19 - "Rebellious Young Girls" as Elizabeth comes in. Though the true delineation of the "scene pieces" as I call them are when a new character enters or exits and changes the dynamic of what's going on, each one encapsulates a tiny arc that is begun and concluded with that change. I think every scene ought to have an arc, and the scene pieces within it a smaller one within that, which add up to the overall arc of the scene. I'll admit, my scene transitions are determined by practical means— I switch them only when the time of the interaction or the location changes —but it maintains a sense of domino-like progress throughout the entire play.

Day #20 - Learning the Hard Way )