My guest today is Crystal Smith-Connelly, comedic playwright of titles such as For I am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology. I have to say, plays are usually not my favorite genre, but Crystal’s subjects look absolutely hilarious. If someone does not pick them up and adapt them (starring Will Ferrell and Will Arnett), a great travesty will have occurred. Not only that, but she donates part of her proceeds to SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Welcome Crystal!
If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here.
1. Tell us your name, and a link to where we can find you (blog, Facebook, etc).
2. How many books have you written? This can include both published and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece (if published, feel free to include the links as well).
I’ve published two books of plays, and I’ve figured out what my next four books will be, and which plays will be in them, but I won’t start putting the next one together for a few months. The two I already published are:
For I Am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology http://www.amazon.com/Am-Zeus-Collection-Plays-Mythology/dp/1475104626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368583619&sr=1-1&keywords=for+i+am+zeus
For I Am Zeus: A Collection of Plays About Greek Mythology contains six short plays about the most entertaining of the Greek gods. Join Zeus as he suffers through marriage counseling, makes an indecent proposal to his sisters, and tries to sleep with anything that moves.
Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays http://www.amazon.com/Never-Trust-Angel-Other-Plays/dp/1482052113/ref=la_B0081JDXW4_1_2_title_0_main?ie=UTF8&qid=1368583685&sr=1-2
Satan is sure that his overachieving son will run Hell someday, but his wife has a secret that may change everything. Jesus wants to quit his job to start a Christian metal band, and now it’s up to God to find a new Messiah…but the person he has in mind doesn’t want the job.
3. Tell me a little bit about your current WIP.
I don’t have one…I’m just promoting my new book (Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays) right now. I mostly write short plays, so even when I do have a work-in-progress, I’m only working on it for a few days. ; )
4. What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?
Usually a line will pop into my head and I decide that I have to start writing immediately…and then I just see where it takes me.
5. Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips for editing efficiently and well.
It always helps to be a good speller, but if you aren’t, look words up in a dictionary if you’re not sure whether you’re spelling it correctly…spell check doesn’t catch everything. Reading your work out loud might help too…with playwriting, it definitely helps, but it seems like it could be helpful for other types of writing as well.
6. Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?
I usually find the information I need online and then copy and paste everything I think I can use into a Word document and then print it out. That’s more effective than printing entire articles that might have information I don’t really need because I have less paperwork to look through and won’t have to skim through a bunch of unhelpful information to get to the stuff I’m actually going to use. I always have fun when I do research…I’m usually researching different Greek gods and goddesses for my writing, so that’s always interesting and entertaining.
7. If you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?
Posting about my book on Facebook has probably been the best marketing…especially when I’m offering my book for free. I post on my profile, my author page, a playwriting group, and a few author/writing groups, and I usually get a good amount of downloads. Twitter is probably the least helpful…I never get much of a response when I post about my books on there, and I have a really hard time saying everything I need to say in 140 characters.
8. What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to writing this particular genre well?
I’m a playwright, and all of my plays are comedies. With playwriting, the most challenging thing when I first started out was formatting the plays correctly…as for writing comedy, when I finish a play, I always wonder if it could be funnier. People tell me they’re really funny, and I laugh while I’m writing and proofreading them, but even if I wrote the most hilarious play ever written, I’d still want it to be funnier.
9. What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out?
Never play it safe. Write what you want to write, and don’t worry about what other people think…being original is a great thing. In my case, I know that people might be offended because I write blasphemous plays where God is usually the bad guy, and people are very touchy about religion…but if I don’t like something, I’m going to write about it. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are my main writing role models, and they never play it safe in their work…I really admire that and think it makes for some great comedy.
10. What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2013?
My main goal is to sell more copies of Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays. The book is dedicated to Catherine Hicks and Tasha Lucia, two wonderful women who were taken from us too soon as a result of domestic violence. One dollar from every copy of the book sold will be donated to the SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in their honor, so of course I’ll be very happy if more people buy the book, so I can donate more money to this organization. : )
11. Pretend I am from a publishing house and you are looking for me to take on one of your books. Pitch it to me in 1-2 paragraphs.
Nobody Likes a Quitter is a full-length play that focuses on God and Satan after the end of their friendship. God kicks Satan out of Heaven for making fun of his magic tricks yet again, so Sapphire, Satan’s loyal girlfriend, sneaks out and joins him in Hell. She decides that Hell needs a renovation, and before too long, Hell is a great place to live…they have a spa, casino, amusement park, and Karaoke Thursday! When angels begin leaving Heaven to go live in Hell, God decides to get revenge on Satan, but he doesn’t count on Satan’s protective minions, Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer, standing in his way…or Sapphire beating him up every chance she gets.
Finally, is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
I’ve written more than fifty plays, and some of them have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Maryland, and France. My dream is for Will Ferrell to play Zeus in one of my plays someday and for Will Arnett to play God.