Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Michael Kimball

Michael KimballMichael Kimball  is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He is the recipient of the 2014 John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award (New England Theatre Conference) for his play Duck and Cover, which was also named BEST PLAY in the Northern Writes Festival (Bangor, Maine) and BEST PLAY in the 2014 Dezart Performs Festival of New Plays (Palm Springs,CA). His play Ghosts of Ocean House was nominated for the 2007 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, and his novel Undone received the Fresh Talent Award in the U.K. and was aLondon Times' bestseller in 1996. Michael has sold original screenplays and adaptations to movie companies and written episodes for the TV series Monsters.

Selected Publications:

Novels
Green Girls (2002, Morrow) Also published in England and Germany

Mouth to Mouth (2000, Avon Books) Also published in England, Germany, and Spain, 3 US book clubs, 2 UK Book clubs; Recorded Books

Undone (1996, Avon Books) 13 other publishers worldwide; bestseller in England and Ireland; 3 US book clubs, 2 UK book clubs, French book club; movie options: Crossroads Films

Firewater Pond (1985, Putnam’s Sons) Also published in Sweden; Film options: Charles Matthau, NBC

Stage Plays

I Fall for You (seven short plays about love & romance) -- Actors Studio, Newburyport, Mass, June 09; Firehouse  Theater, Newburyport, Sept 09; New England Fringe Festival, Oct 09; Acorn Studio Theatre, Westbrook, ME, Oct ’09; Club Passim, Cambridge, MA, Dec 09 

The Secret of Comedy --“A fierce breed of comedy.  An emotional wringer of a new play.  An intricate and wrenching study of four evolving griefs.” - Portland Phoenix “A must-see play.  Theater at its best.” Portsmouth Herald Players’ Ring, Portsmouth, NH, Sept 2007; Staged reading at Villagers Theatre, Somerset, NJ, Feb 2008; Nominated for 2008 Spotlight Award; “First Reading” by Abingdon Theatre Company, NYC, January 2009

Best Enemies -- “A sly, haunting, and remarkably fun existential comedy. . . Nimble, irreverent, and immensely entertaining.” `Portland Phoenix Players’ Ring, Portsmouth, NH, Oct 06; Nominated for 2007 Spotlight Award, Best Play Script; Freeport Community Players, Freeport, ME, May 08; Two Chairs Theatre Company, Grand Junction, CO, March ‘09

Ghosts of Ocean House -- “A masterful invention, built carefully, layer upon layer, each crumbling to reveal the one beneath it, until the entire tale is before you.” The Wire Players Ring, Portsmouth, NH,  May 06; Winner, Newton Memorial Playwriting Competition; Nominated for the 2007 Edgar Award, Best Play, by Mystery Writers of America; Banned by Utah State University, July 09

Santa Come Home -- “A smart, fast-paced, funny play that jingles all the old Christmas bells in a very surprising and new way. Shimmers with quick, snappy dialogue.” Colin Sargent, Portland Monthly -- New York Theatre Company, York, ME 12/2005; Two Chairs Theatre Company, Grand Junction, CO, November 2006; Generic Theatre Company, December 2008; Players Ring, Portsmouth 11-12/09 

Submit! -- co-written with Jennifer Saunders. Historical drama focused on the meeting in 1652 in which Massachusetts Puritan Simon Bradstreet coerced 50 residents of York, Maine, to sign a charter, making the town—and thus the entire Maine province—part of Puritan Massachusetts. Museums of Old York, York, Maine, multiple shows, 09; Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, Maine, 09

Actual Glass (30-min monologue for one woman) -- Maine Short Play Festival, Portland, ME, April 2007; Estrogenius, Manhattan Theatre Source, NYC, Oct ‘08; Love Creek Productions, Beckmann Theatre, NYC, Feb ’09; Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass, Dec ‘09

Say No More (10-min) Part of  full-length “I Fall For You”; also performed at Emerging Artists Theatre, NYC, Sept ‘05, MadLab Theatre, Columbus, Ohio, May-June ‘06; The Insurrection Theater Company, Phoenix, Arizona, Feb 2007; Boston Theatre Marathon, May ‘07; Players’ Ring, Portsmouth, NH, July 07; Merely Players, Owensboro, KY, July 07 (Part of “Open 24 Hours,”1st place winner, Kentucky Theatre Association Conference 2007-08); Indianapolis Fringe Festival, September 07; Best Foot Forward Productions, Bedford, NH, November ‘07; SE Theatre Conference, Chattanooga, TN, March ‘08; Voted “Best Play,” Salute UR Shorts Fest, Rapscallion Theatre Collective, NYC, July ’08; Actors Studio, Newburyport, MA, June 09; Inspirato Festival, Toronto, Canada June ’09; Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass, Dec ’09; SLAMboston, May 2009

Descriptions of several more full-length and short plays, and their production histories, can be found on Michael’s website.


Screenplays

Violet World (feature length) Original screenplay optioned by Republic Pictures, 1993

Tweedledum and Tweedledee (feature length) Rewrite of Alec Coppel script for The Matthau Company, 1991-92

Hush! (feature length) Adaptation of Zena Henderson story for Laurel Films, Inc., 1990-91

Monsters (television series) Three episodes for Laurel Productions, 1989-91

 

How I Teach:

“One good thing after another,” that’s what writing should be, according to novelist James Salter, and it’s been the keystone to my philosophy since I made writing my career 25 years ago.  When I read another writer’s work-in-progress, I do the same kind of line-editing as I do on my own pages, with two important differences: 1) I point out things I like; 2) I write margin notes explaining my edits.

I may question a word choice or suggest juxtaposing elements; I always look for non-essentials that can be cut. Structurally, if I sense a writer repeating, lingering, or avoiding crisis points, I’ll point it out, as I will point out other tendencies that may be problematic. Are the stakes high enough so your hero cannot simply walk away from a conflict? Do we care enough for your characters so that we don’t walk away? Is your story credible within the parameters of the world you’ve created? Maybe your premise needs more fuel. Are you going deep enough into your imagination?

Once I’ve digested and applauded and critiqued your work, I will e-mail a few pages about my reaction and enclose the same in hard-copy, along with your marked-up pages, via postal mail. I will encourage an ongoing conversation, either by phone or e-mail.

In sharing strategies and insights that I’ve learned—and that I continue to learn—I try my hardest to help other writers reach the goal that I set for my own writing: “One good thing after another.”