The best way to keep your play going
is to simply let your characters talk things through.
As the characters talk and act, they will reveal things
about themselves and the situations they are in. Your
job becomes mainly one of reacting to what each character
says and does. Even though you are the one putting words
into their mouths, it is more like reacting than writing.
Each line or action leads naturally to the next. Remember:
for each action, there is a reaction.
Your play will come to an end when a final solution
is found to the main problem and each of the complications.
Finding a good resolution may be your greatest challenge
as a playwright. If you choose a resolution that is
too obvious or predictable or one that is too far out
of line, your audience will be disappointed. They will
be looking forward to an ending that is at least a little
or unexpected, but also believable. End with a good
closing line, one which brings it all together and also
brings a smile, a laugh,
Reviewing and Revising
The most important thing to look for in a finished play
is whether it works. Read your play out loud, by yourself
at first. Make changes and corrections. Then get several
friends or classmates to read it aloud (each taking
a part) while you listen. Ask for their comments and
make changes as necessary. Finally, correct any spelling
or mechanical errors.
Read your dialogue out loud whenever possible and use
simple, everyday language. Keep your characters “alive”
by giving them lines in all scenes in which they are
present. Often, the minor characters can be given questions
to ask, such as “What’s going on?”
This gives you a way to explain something to your audience
that otherwise is difficult to work into your dialogue.
Make sure each character has a distinct voice (not only
the tone of the voice but the way in which the character
It is often a good idea to build the action in your
play around one main character, the character who is
most affected by the main problem or is most responsible
for solving it. The other characters help (or hinder)
this character. This character should have a distinctive
personality, one that may change as the play progresses.
This personality will determine how the person talks
(loudly, softly, boastfully), what the person says,
and how the other characters react to him or her. Your
character needs actions — avoid having him or
her just stand around talking.
Stage directions always apply to the actor as he faces
Stage right (R): The actor’s
right as he faces the audience
Stage left (L): The actor’s
left as he faces the audience
Downstage (D): Nearest the audience
Upstage (U): Away from the audience
The acting area on stage is generally
divided into nine locations. The abbreviations are the
same as those for stage directions: “C”
means stage center. The following diagram indicates