Vineland Revisited: Being the True Tale (Told in Reverse) of Cedric the Man-Eating Plant


The Brief

I think we’ve done enough content for a bit so let’s look at structure.

And more interestingly – let’s look at erutcurts!

We are writing a play backwards today.

Or do the Pinter thing from Betrayal and reverse chronology.

if you’re writing in another language);

(or right to left or up to down

so you read it left to right

But still maintain the sentence structure

So that you need to read it from the bottom up

Maybe you want the play to go backwards line by line,

It read to time a at word one backwards go and end the from start to needs just one so, front to back from word for word play entire the write to want you maybe or.

!sdrawkcab gnihtyreve etirw dna erocdrah og nac uoy rO

Don’t use computer programmes or algorithms though to do it for you!

And bonus points if you can make the backwardnessity make contextual sense with the play!


The Excerpt

I could hear my offspring singing, ready to break out of my planter, and spread their seed around this world, ready to go out on their own, but all I could think of was that my dinner was repeating on me. The blonde chick had been kinda stringy, with more than a hint of bleach. I shoulda eaten her first. I shoulda…

To Read the Entire Play

Click here: 1902.06 – Vineland Revisited

(Oh So) Quiet Conversations



The Brief

So from one end of the world to another…

And as I’m on my way to the Nordics, myself, what better time to respond to someone who, in my own personal eyes, is one of the few people I can call a true contemporary artist.

From the Sugarcubes all the way to Utopia, Björk has been an artist who hasn’t just re-defined herself, she has re-defined her art – constantly pushing the boundaries of what art can do, how it relates to the artist, to her audience and to the world.

So to celebrate her 53rd birthday back in November, your task for today is to pick one of her songs (musically or lyrically), or one of her albums, or one of her videos, or one of her costumes/masks, or one of her interviews – and to respond that that.

And do something different with your play. Change the format. Don’t make it look like all of your other plays. Make this one stand out and look strange and odd and quirky and cool…

Björk deserves all the respect we give her – so for bonus point – make her shine! Make her the star.

And for those of you who don’t believe that bonus points are real… oh they’re real.

If you collect 833 bonus points, you can exchange them in March for 832 bonus points! It’s a bargain! But be warned – if you collect too many, they may melt.


The Excerpt

ANNA            So, anyway, he’s a med student at State and he asked me out, but… I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to go.

JEN:                You don’t want to go out with a future doctor? Why not? Is he ugly? Does he have hairy thumbs? Halitosis?

ANNA:            No, I just… I think I’m into him. (She points to MUSICIAN)

JEN:                The piano player?

ANNA:            He writes his own stuff. Did you know?

JEN:                All I’ve ever heard him play is old jazz and lame covers of Bjork tunes.

ANNA:            He plays more than that, really.

JEN:                (observing) He is kinda cute, in that scruffy artsy way.

ANNA:            See…

JEN:                But he’s a musician.

To Read the Entire Play

Click here: 1902.05 – Quiet Conversations

Sparks Fly



The Brief

Yes… it’s Chinese New Year.

So let’s take some inspiration from this magnificent culture and New Year’s traditions.

I’m expecting sea monsters, stove gods, red envelopes, upside-down fortunes, swans, lanterns and obviously – a pig!

For the linguaphiles out there, maybe find a few Chinese words and incorporate them in the play. “Mandarin or Cantonese?” Dealer’s choice!

Oh, and it’s bad luck on Chinese New Year’s to use negative words or to cry and to fight – so make the plays cheerful!

For bonus points, write something for a large cast – no more monologues and dialogues!


The Excerpt:

BOY 3:            I heard that our parents go outside the dome to save us from Space Dragons. They fly down to the surface of the moon from outside the Asteroid Belt and wait until after Earthrise to attack!

GIRL 3:           That’s not funny!

BOY 3:            It’s not supposed to be. (makes his hands into claws) RAWR I’m a Space Dragon!

TEACHER:     (clapping hands for attention) Children…!

MEI LING:     Actually, dragons are a part of lunar new year. But in our culture the dragons symbolize nobility, strength, and good fortune, and when we do the dragon dance, we are driving away evil spirits.


To Read the Entire Play

Click here: 1902.04 – Sparks Fly

Max and Margo



The Brief

Pick a number! Any number (as long as it’s between 1-60)

“What? Magic?! No way, dude!”

No! No magic! I don’t like magic! Unless it’s the magic that comes out of your magical fingers as you type today’s genius play!

No… just pick a number, any number (as long as it’s between 1-60)

Don’t you trust me? Just trust me. It’s not magic. I swear.

Just pick it.

The number.

Any number (as long as it’s between 1-60).


Now… check the link below

Don’t cheat! First pick the number and only then look at the link.


Good, now find the corresponding thing to your number and write about that!

Go wild!

For bonus points – incorporate the number with the corresponding thing and marry them into something uniquely extraordinary


The Excerpt

The number I picked was 19, by the way.

CHARLIE:      I was thinking tomorrow.

MAX:              Your mom’s making pot roast tomorrow, isn’t she.

CHARLIE:      Well… she claims it’s pot roast.

MAX:              (to MARGO) Charlie’s mom is the worst cook. Everything she makes tastes like cardboard. But her pot roast? Her pot roast tastes like regurgitated cardboard.

MARGO:        Oh, gross! (to CHARLIE) You, know, I think it would be better for your health if you had Mongolian beef tonight and stuck to mac-n-cheese tomorrow.

KENT:            And this is why we love Margo. She has much wisdom.

MAX:              Yup. That’s why I love Margo.


To Read the Entire Play…

Click here: 1902.03 – Max and Margo

Stormy Weather: A Relationship in Three Short (Rhyming) Acts


The Brief

Coz every year we do poetic briefs –

To do with either rhythm or with rhyme…

But this is now the fifth month of our game

So this year we’ll do both, I think it’s time.

We’ll take some inspiration from the Bard

But mix it up so that we do it new.

We’ll write a play that’s all Iambic Pents,

but also make it rhyme, we must that do!

“what sort of rhyming pattern should we use?”

I hear you ask with panic in your voice

Well, you can choose whatever fits you best

That’s right, you have the power – make your choice!

Right, that’s the easy part, and now the trick,

the language must remain ‘au natural’

Do place the play in modern times and themes

Maybe even make it factual.

I don’t want any mention of old Will

or texts that could be taken from his plays

No themes that maybe he has written ’bout

instead deal with our lives these modern days.

So write about things Shakes-boy couldn’t write

Like Mars bars, Gogglebox or World War II.

I hope you like this challenge, my dear friends

I think it’s fine. I do. I do. Do you?


The Excerpt

The sound you’re hearing is just a branch on the roof

I’ll show you in the morning if you require proof.

I love that your dreams are never boring,

And that you think of ships at sea when you hear me snoring.

But right now, I’m so tired I almost feel like I am dead,

So maybe drive the Master and Commander novels from your pretty head

Cuz all too soon our dogs will bark and growl and whine and peep

And we’ll have lost all chance of ever getting any sleep.


To read the entire play…

Click here: 1902.02 – Stormy Weather – A Relationship in Three Short Rhyming Acts

Art Therapy for Maturing Divas


The Brief

As you know, we are now called The Literal Challenge or TLC – so to celebrate that, let’s write a play about TLC.

“What? Second challenge and all you’re giving us are letters?! I expected far more!”

“Well, there is more! Loads more! In those three letters there is a whole range of possibilities”…

Perhaps set it in a spa, where customers receive special (!) TLC.

Perhaps write about a couple arguing about a Tables, Ladders and Chairs wrestling match (google it!).

What about a play consisting only of lyrics by the great band TLC, or just pick one of them – a monologue about a T-bone steak? About someone’s Left Eye? About eating a chilli? (This is far too early in the process for me to betray my age in such a way).

What about three characters talking but never using the letters T, L and C?

Or… go at it from a completely different angle. Take a hot bath and give your body some TLC as you free write (maybe don’t take any electronic devices though).

And of course – you could just write about THE LITERAL CHALLENGE!


The Exerpt

LUCY:             Impudent child. Tried to tell me there were rules. I told her I’d been cursing like a sailor before she’d been born and I wasn’t likely to stop any time soon, and when she’d been a    medic in a war zone she could maybe think about lecturing me. Fuck… was it knit six, perl three or knit five, perl two? (she begins ripping out stitches)

RED:               This is why you never complete anything.

DORIS:           It’s not about the finished project. It’s about the stimulation of the creative act. Making art is good for the brain.

RED:               We’re not ‘making art,’ we’re coloring in pictures. You’re just using a brush instead of pencils or crayons.

DORIS:           It is, too, art. I choose the brushstrokes. I choose the picture. And you, you select the colors you use. Or do you see a lot of cats striped pink and yellow?


To Read the Entire Play…

Click here: 1902.01 – Art Therapy for Maturing Divas





The Brief

Not sure why, but I’ve gone all nautical the last few days in my emails to you, so it seems appropriate that we use that for our first brief.

Ships, boats, water, blue, salt, sea, waves anything to do with this magnificent force.

Let’s start off easy (this is only the first challenge after all) – so write the play in the style you feel most comfortable in.


The Excerpt

Ordinary humans are told to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but that’s assuming eight-ounce glasses. Me? There are days when eight gallons barely quench my thirst. My husband makes good money, and my patreons on my podcast keep me in spending money, but you don’t want to know what our water bill is like. Some days… some days the ice machine can’t even keep up with me when it’s set to ‘party mode.’


To read the entire play…

Click here: 1901.31 – Parched