for Writing Plays
Writing a play or script can be as simple as telling
your friends what happened last night at the park. In
fact, that may be exactly what your play is about -—
something that really did happen to you and your friends.
At least that’s the way you will want your play
to sound. More than any other form of creative writing,
a play can bring your personal experiences (or your
imaginings) to life in a dramatic way. The tips that
follow should help you transform your best ideas into
exciting dramas worthy of any classroom or stage.
The first step that you need to know about writing a
play is that it truly is a process of discovery. You
can’t possibly imagine how your play is going
to turn out before you write it. In fact, if you choose
real-life characters based on people you know, or through
research, they will actually write part of the play
All you need to do is put these characters
“on stage,” give them a problem to overcome,
and then watch and listen to what they say and do. You
become as much a reporter taking notes and recording
conversations as a struggling playwright. Remember this
as you write your play.
where and when the story takes place.
Main problem: What
is the main problem faced by the characters in the
play? What do they have to do to overcome this problem?
complication or added problem makes it difficult for
the characters to find a solution to the main problem?
How can this complication help you to add humor or
suspense to your play? What can your characters do
or say to help solve or further complicate the situation?
Solution: How do
the characters finally solve the problem and bring
the play to an end?
if anything, does your play have to “say”
about life to your audience? Is there a moral, a lesson,
A play should begin with a dramatic situation that is
so strained and unstable that it leads to action. This
action either progresses, delays or reverses the events.
Either way, it presents a new situation that is often
less stable than the first. This process repeats itself
until certain events result in a stable situation. The
following is an outline of plot structure:
Opening Situation: The events
at the rise of the curtain, including the exposition
that gives the background or reveals what has happened
before the curtain rises.
Initial Incident: The first event
that suggests there will be a change in the situation;
an incident to which you can trace all future action.
Rising Action: Additional events
leading to the climax.
Climax: The highest point of emotional
intensity that occurs near the end of the play and
to which all action has been leading.
Falling Action: After the climax,
the brief events in which the outcome is resolved.