Becoming a Playwright, Part 1: The Story
By Brenda B. Covert
1 The most famous playwright of all time is William Shakespeare, but one needn't write like him to become a playwright. A playwright, as you may have deduced, is a person who writes plays. A play's purpose is to be performed in front of a live audience. Most often, a play is performed on a stage.
2 A play is written differently from a book. In a book, the author can describe what the characters are thinking. Characters can travel to many different places. Places may be described so that the reader can imagine them clearly. However, a playwright won't spend much time describing the setting. The audience will be able to see it! The playwright's characters won't do a lot of traveling; the story will be acted out in one place (the stage), and while sets can be changed, it's best not to have too many sets planned for a play in order to save time and money. Finally, since an audience can't hear thinking, characters must speak their thoughts aloud. Therefore, a playwright's focus is on writing down what each character says and does.
3 To become a playwright, one needs to develop a story that can be acted out, and it should have a beginning, middle, and end. It ought to have conflict in it - some problem that one or more characters have to deal with. Some of Shakespeare's comedies have to do with love and mistaken identity. By the end of the play, characters solve their conflicts by revealing their true identities and declaring their love for each other. What kind of story would you like to tell? Can you imagine it being acted out on a stage? This is the first step in writing a play.