Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A NaNo Skit

THE NOVEMBER COUNSELOR
A One Act About NaNoWriMo

By Elizabeth Hausladen


The stage is quite plain. There is a desk, an office chair, and an arm chair. Above the desk hangs a poster that says "NaNoWriMo: 30 Days, 50,000 words!"

COUNSELOR OS
My office is right in here.

Two people enter. They can be played by either men or women, although this script is written with a feminine slant.

The COUNSELOR is a professional looking person in her late twenties. She is well groomed, with every hair in place.

The WRITER is younger, perhaps college age. There are circles under her eyes and she is dressed in sweats. Her hair looks as though it hasn't been brushed in days. Under her arms she clutches a laptop.

COUNSELOR
Will you sit down? (Indicates the armchair)

WRITER
(gingerly sits down)

COUNSELOR
Now, what are you in for today? I understand it was something of an emergency?

WRITER
(bursts into tears)

COUNSELOR
(hurries to offer a box of tissues) Oh no, don't cry! What is the matter?

WRITER
My -- my book -- is TERRIBLE!

COUNSELOR
(freezes)

WRITER
My characters won't do ANYTHING I want. They all went out and bought gumballs last night. WHO WANTS TO READ ABOUT GUMBALLS?

COUNSELOR
Well...

WRITER
And tomorrow is the 15th. I'm supposed to have 25,000 words by the 15th!

COUNSELOR
(inches backwards and starts tugging on the edge of her poster)

WRITER
I was up to 24,593 words last night. I was SO CLOSE. But then my computer died on me and I lost HALF of that. HALF of my story! And all I remember are the gumballs!

COUNSELOR
(succeeds in pulling the poster off the wall and hiding it behind the desk) I am so sorry. That is terrible!

WRITER
My life is OVER!

COUNSELOR
Oh -- well you may feel that way now, but I'm sure that's not true. You've got your school, your family, your volunteering at the nursing home --

WRITER
I'm a great big failure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (bursts into tears again)

COUNSELOR
(Starting to get really worried) Uh, can you excuse me for a moment? I need to make a phone call.

WRITER
(Nods.)

COUNSELOR
(grabs a notepad and cell phone and leaves the office, crossing down to stage right. As she goes, she dials a number on the phone.)

(Meanwhile the Writer watches her leave, then pulls out the laptop and starts typing furiously)

COUNSELOR
Hello, is this the Office of Letters and Light? Why yes, I am doing NaNoWriMo! Oh it's lovely. I'm doing a mystery in Victorian England. No, it's not my first novel. Yes, that does make it easier. Say, I do have a, er, friend, who is not having such a good time. Well everything that can go wrong seems to be going wrong and she said something about gumballs... plot ninjas? No I hadn't heard -- (starts scribbling on her pad) Mhmmm. Yes. I see. Oh good idea! Yes. Thank you.

(In the office the Writer seems to hit a block. She stares at the screen for a long moment, then slams the lid shut and starts bawling again)

COUNSELOR
Yes. Thank you again! Goodbye! (hangs up and goes back into the office. She is worried when she sees the Writer crying again and hurries over to kneel besides her with more tissues) Hey, honey, it's okay. We're going to get through this.

WRITER
No one can save my poor deranged story!

COUNSELOR
Well I'm a psychiatrist. My job is working with deranged people. Now I talked to some professionals, and I have some good news for you. (holds up her tablet) First of all, you must remember that NaNo is supposed to be fun.

WRITER
Fun? (bursts out in maniacal laughter)

COUNSELOR
It's not about writing the next Great American Novel. It's about learning how to start and finish a story in a reasonable amount of time.

WRITER
R- reasonable?

COUNSELOR
Well one month is pushing it a bit, but if you can do a bit of crap in a month, you can pound out something decent in a year.

WRITER
But I can't waste time on crap! I have to pay bills NOW!

COUNSELOR
Right, so I have three words for you. December, January, February.

WRITER
I'm supposed to write three more novels?

COUNSELOR
No! Those three months are your saving grace. In December you take a break. You forget the novel ever existed. Eat cookies, make snow angels, open presents, sing silly songs. RELAX.

WRITER
Relaxing sounds good...

COUNSELOR
Then in January, you pick up your manuscript again and read it. Then you start going over it with a viking axe. Chop out all those pieces that are superfluous and unnecessary. Throw out all the gumballs into that truck in "Bedtime Stories."

WRITER
Oh so that's where they came from! I thought there were an awful lot of gumballs on that truck.

COUNSELOR
Then in February you start proofing. Maybe even let some other people take a look at it. Perfect it. By March 1st you will have something that you can actually read without wincing at.

WRITER
Really?

COUNSELOR
Really.

WRITER
(looks greatly relieved and picks up her laptop, opens it, and starts writing again)

COUNSELOR
Uh...

WRITER
(pauses) Yes?

COUNSELOR
I sort of need my office back.

WRITER
Oh! (closes the laptop, stands up and shakes the Counselor's hand) Right! Thank you soooo much! When I get published, I'm going to dedicate this novel to you! (runs out)

COUNSELOR
Yeah... I hope it's a long time before you learn that publication is an entirely different story. (hangs up the poster, then goes back to her own desk and starts typing) "Dear Miss Cole, I would like to bring to your attention my novel, DARK WITHOUT STARS..."

(lights down)

3 comments:

Delaney said...

You are awesome.

Victoria Rose Philomena Martin de Porres said...

*cheers for NaNo writers*

Elarinya said...

Haha! That was wonderful! So perfect.