The Musical Theatre Writing Challenge
Come What May is a month-long writing challenge to help generate work and keep the creative juices flowing!
So much of writing musical theatre is being able to work swiftly, and to a brief. Whilst we can labour away on our own projects – sometimes endlessly - the opportunity to really hone those necessary skills of speed and brevity in our own writing are few and far between.
Following the lead of our friends at The Literal Challenge and NaNoWriMo, we have created a writing challenge specifically for musical theatre writers.
It will not be easy. But it will be fun.
How Does It Work?
Once you sign up you will receive creative writing prompts every weekday (Mon-Fri) during the month of May. Your goal is to make it to the end. Simple!
Writers are notorious procrastinators, but there’s no time for that here. On Monday-Thursday you will be given a daily task and 36 hours in which to complete it. On Fridays you will receive a bigger task but, as we’re so nice, we’re giving you the whole weekend to complete and upload it.
We know that musical theatre writers come in all varieties – some of you write the book, some lyrics, some music, and other multiple combinations of the above. Therefore, each prompt will either be clearly adaptable to your particular skill, or have clear instructions on how to approach it.
Your responses to the prompts can be whatever you like, as long as they follow the brief provided each day. But it’s important to remember that your writing is not being judged by anyone. This challenge is about practice not perfection. It’s about turning up each day and getting something concrete onto the page. Remember – the work doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be. This is not a competition but a challenge to yourself.
Writing can be lonely, and musical theatre is the art of collaboration. So we have provided an opportunity for collaboration within the challenge.
If you have written something that you would like to collaborate on - whether it’s a melody, a lyric or a scene – you can choose to make it available to other fellow Musical Maykers (!). Not only will this help you explore working with different styles, but who knows, it might be the beginning of a beautiful new writing partnership!
It’s important to note though, that this is entirely optional. If you want to undertake the challenge just for yourself, or don’t feel comfortable sharing any of your work (because, as we’ve said – being good is not the target here), then that’s great, too!
- Does it cost anything to take part?
No! It’s completely free!
- Do I have to be a professional writer to enter?
Not at all. This is open to everyone. Whether you’ve written a hundred musicals and fancy giving yourself a bit of a challenge, or it’s your first time ever writing and you want to explore your creativity, this is for you.
- Is this for Lyricists? Or Bookwriters? Or Composers?
It's for everyone! You can write in whichever way you feel comfortable, or you can use the challenge to try something you've not done before. Every prompt will have three versions - one for lyrics, one for composing, one for book - and you get to choose which you respond to. You can also mix and match so you don't have to stick to one discipline for the entire month.
- How does it work?
You will receive an email at 10pm (UK time) the night before with the prompt for the following day. You then have until the following-following day at 10am to submit your response. On weekends you have slightly longer to complete the tasks.
For example -
If the prompt goes out on Sunday at 10pm you have to complete and upload your response by 10am on Tuesday.
You will receive the weekend prompts at Thursday at 10pm and will have until 10am on Monday morning to complete.
The first prompt will arrive at 10pm on Friday April 30th.
- What support do I get?
We will have an online presence (FB, Twitter and Instagram) where you can chat with the organisers and other Musical Maykers. We’ll also offer a variety of chats and online talks with writers to help inspire you throughout the process.
We will also have a weekly writers room (via Zoom) where you can share a virtual office and write alongside your fellow maykers.
- What happens to what I submit?
That's entirely up to you. It may be that there is something you write that sparks an idea in you, or something you're proud of that you'd like to share with others and continue developing. Or you might want to throw all of it in the bin! Either way, you retain 100% of the copyright of anything you write during the challenge.
- Who are you?
We are a group of writers that meet regularly online. Over lockdown we have created an online space to work and share thoughts and ideas (and sometimes just have a lovely natter with each other). We comprise bookwriters, lyricists, composers, performers and multiple combinations of those and all share a passion for making musicals. You can find out more about us here.
The team at TMTWC run this challenge for the sheer LOVE of Musical Theatre and new writing. If you would consider donating half a sixpence or so to help with the running costs it would be very much appreciated!
Supported by The University of Lincoln BA Musical Theatre