Any tips for playwriting?

Discussion in 'Writing for Stage and Screen' started by gemmarae, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. gemmarae

    gemmarae New Member

    I've had an idea buzzing around in my head for a couple of years, that I would love to actually put down in writing. I have no problems with writing paragraphs and summaries and comments, but when it comes to dialogue, I feel lost.

    I've been doing theatre since I was a child, so I'm no stranger to scripts. I make up arguments and conversations in my head when I'm in the shower. I have an end to the play I want to write, and an idea of a beginning and middle, but I cannot seem to get the dialogue to come out the way I want.

    Do you have any tips to help with this issue? The whole "just sit down and write" method isn't working out so well.
     
  2. Elle Gee

    Elle Gee Member

    Making playwrights isnt easy. I know, I've been there and there a lot of things to do. Here's what I would share to you. Be playful. You are making a story so be creative. Make your brain a big theater stage. Be imaginative with your playwrights. Also, if you want help, you can look on Google or YouTube for referrences.
     
  3. Brokewriter

    Brokewriter New Member

    So, here's where I find dialogue to be a rather fickled thing. It's just talking. Don't over think it. Bob: Hi Sally how you doing? How was your weekend? Sally: Oh it was fantastic Bob, Jeff and me went out for a weekend on his boat and we got to see the stars on the water. It was magical. Think about the dialogue you have in your everyday life. The people you talk to, take notice of how you adjust yourself in everyday situations. Such as, if you are talking to a stranger, you won't talk to them like they're your best friend right? So, you adjust how you talk, the same with writing dialogue. Say for instance you have a scene with a father and a son, the son hasn't seen his father for nearly twenty-three years, and the father is dying of leukemia. The son wants to forgive his father but he can't because his father wasn't there for him. He feels abandon and the pride that he feels won't let him shed tears for a complete stranger. Thomas: how long you got, Gabe? Gabriel: Can't you at least call me father, boy? Thomas: I call my father, father, you're just the selfish bastard who ran out on me and mom when I was born. Gabriel: No tears for a dying man? Thomas: We're all dying you self-absorbed prick. At least we try and make the time we have more meaningful. *crying* Have you ever tried to look for me, once? Gabe: It's not as easy as that. Your mother--your mother was a hard woman-- Thomas: Don't put mom in this conversation. To her, your dead, keep it that way. Silence. Scene.
    See, it's really that easy, not as dramatic but try and place yourself into the shoes of a person in that situation. How they would feel and react and then write it. Also, have the beginning thought out, but the middle and the end should be a mystery to you. Makes writing a whole lot more fun that way, just saying.
     
  4. simply_juli3

    simply_juli3 New Member

    Actually, play writing and plain writing is the same I think. Maybe start with writing your own story first then have someone read it. It's really important that the story captures the interest of the reader especially of those who have a wider range when it come to your market. Like for example, if your target market are teenagers, write something about romance with a mix of romantic comedy and drama. People loves stories containing different twist of events. They don't want to read another story that has typical endings, it bores them. Be creative and just enjoy.
     
  5. ewapc101

    ewapc101 Member

    “I was very lucky as a young man because I had my own theatre company from the age of about 21, and I just put up plays all the time. So you have the best ideas in the world, you put them on, and they fall flat. And, because that was and is my love—writing drama, staging drama, understanding it—I had to come back and say, ‘Why did that not work?’ It’s basically an ongoing exposure. The playwright begins to associate the joy of writing a long, beautiful scene with the humiliation of seeing the audience go to sleep in the beginning of it. He weens himself of the impulse [to write a scene like that] little by little. It never goes away completely. Everybody has an urge to entertain an audience if they’re writing drama—I hope they do—but the other urge, to have the horror of boring the audience, can only be inculcated by putting on a play for an audience and watching it fail.”
     
  6. ewapc101

    ewapc101 Member

    “I say a perfect example is [the joke]: ‘Why the chicken crossed the road—to get to the other side.’ That’s a good joke. ‘Why did the bantam chicken cross the dirt road?’ We realize that’s absurd, right? We don’t care that it’s a bantam chicken, and we don’t care that the road is dirt. We get it. Nonetheless, when we try to write drama, all of us make that mistake of adding extraneous information. So why did the bantam chicken cross the road is no different than saying, ‘Joe, a young man of moderate experience and perhaps some intelligence. However, he is overwhelmed by the influences of sex and drugs often, as we’ll see here in the story today.’ That’s how a lot of scripts start, right? With extraneous information. Some actor is going to play the part and if these things—moderate taste for sex and drugs—are going to affect the hero, we’ll find out about it throughout the course of the story. Telling us about it beforehand is a waste of our time. Writing drama comes down to three things: What does the hero want? What happens if he doesn’t get it? And why now? Everything else, throw it away.”
     
  7. ewapc101

    ewapc101 Member

    ‘What’s the biggest lesson you learned in 90 years of show business?’ He said, ‘Always take your wallet onstage.’ Here’s the problem: Actors and writers, artists in show business, are at a distinct disadvantage, and the disadvantage is that we do it for nothing. Show business is a tough business, and the rules in show business are the same as the rules in poker: When you got nothing, get out; when you got the best hand, make them pay. On the downside, we do it for nothing, and the producers know that, and on the upside, we get the great enjoyment—once in a while—of actually doing something and seeing one of our creations come to life.”
     
  8. gage9

    gage9 New Member

    I really want to learn this kind of things. I have a lot of free time during my work at sea so I think it would be lovely to start writting a screenplay. I would really love reading this forum to learn!
     
  9. jack18

    jack18 Member

    Have I eliminated ninety-nine percent of filler words like "well," "uh," "OK," "all right," etc.? While they are meant to make dialogue sound "realistic," they don't really add anything.
    Have I punctuated the dialogue accurately? Have I gotten someone else to read it out loud in front of me so that I can hear if the punctuation makes sense? It's super important to put periods, commas, dashes, semicolons and whatever else you're using where they belong. It's the only real opportunity you have to communicate the rhythm of the lines to the actors.Have I run a spell check? Have I proofread by reading aloud to make sure nothing has slipped through? Often, you can misspell a word into another correct word that your spell check won't detect. Have I given the play to someone else who has a good editor's eye?Do I avoid dialogue which is only there to "tell" about the characters? Can I replace it with an action of some kind? For example, instead of a character telling us he is afraid of spiders, he could jump onto the sofa and scream for help.If there are long monologues, do they have a good reason for being there?
     

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