How To Write A Play…7 Tips…and more

Creative Writer's
Journal

Custom created Journal for the Creative Writer. 275+ lined blank pages include a famous quote to inspire the writer in you. Several sections of 'How To'.

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A Journal for Women. A quiet space to write your thoughts, your dreams, your concerns. Custom created for you with quotes on each page to soothe those worries and inspire one to dream.

I Wanna be a Writer

This beautiful and custom book, with some of the best quotes out there, will motivate you to dream big and write exciting stories. 'How To' sections will help you get started...

35 Tips on Creative Writing. A collection of writing tips that this author has learned over the years while honing her craft.

How To Write Creatively

Custom designed for creative women. Each blank page holds a famous quote from a female writer, director, actor, poet to inspire your writing. Several sections of "How To" will help you with your efforts.

Creative Writing for
Women

A collection of short plays, written specifically for the young actor in the classroom or drama department. Some are fun and silly; some are more serious, addressing real issues in a teen’s life. The collection is all "G" rated. The educator does not need to worry about any 'adult' surprises in this collection. Perfect for the classroom the plays are approximately 10-15 minutes in length with no sets or costumes.

Bigger, Better! Volume III has been revised, containing all new plays. Written specifically for the young actor in the classroom or drama department. Some are fun and silly; some are more serious, addressing real issues in a teen’s life. The collection is all "G" rated. Perfect for the classroom the plays are approximately 10-15 minutes in length with no sets props or costumes.

The Bullies

Bullying is a nationwide problem in our schools. This one act play tells how one young boy deals with it...

No Means NO!

Teen girls are being pressured from all sides to have sex. Their boyfriends and even their peers. This play explores decision making and how four girls took back their power!

Ethnic groups have polarized and bullied each other for years, out on the street. Recently teens have taken to their cell phones and computers to do the same. Blacks against whites against browns. All good kids at their core, but divided by the color of their skin.

Jessica and Alan have dated all through high school. Even though Alan gives Jessica no cause to suspect him, she is obsessed with him and is very jealous. Alan tries everything to reassure her and finally he is forced to break up with Jessica. The consequences are disastrous. 3f. 1m.

You're Fat, You're Ugly & You Dress Weird

Bullying is precipitated by something as simple as how someone dresses, or if they have braces or glasses. And it can be relentless....

Mean Girls

She's the new girl at the school. Instead of being welcomed, she is talked about, snickered at, and ostracized. Until the mean girls find out how cool she is...

The Trans-G Kid

Trapped in the wrong body, this brave young boy makes some changes...

Cyber-Hate

A digital weapon used by our teens. Cyber bullying is out of control and can drive its victims to horrific acts...

Just for fun! Mr. Winston Churchill, one of the greatest leaders of the free world, invites us into his library while he paints and talks to his cat, Admiral Nelson. The cat tells the audience about his life with the Prime Minister and his opinion of humans and their love for war. 1m. 1cat.

The Last Text

Teenagers are multi-tasking. Texting while driving. This story brings home the fatal consequences...

Love Never Leaves
Bruises

Domestic violence only happens between adults, right? Teen dating violence is a common event and the best kept secret.

The Run-Away

Teens running away is epidemic in our country. Tens of thousands of kids are missing today, mostly runaways. It's dangerous and sometimes deadly...

A look into the world of the parents who are trying to do the right thing…support their child….love their child…sometimes even save their life. Their child is confused and frightened by their physical being telling them they are one gender while their heart, soul and mind are telling them that they are another.

This short play's setting is a support group for parents. Resigned, angry, confused, religious, experienced and lost, they come together out of a common desperation. Some handling the situation much better than others.

The expectations from parents, teachers, coaches, and peers are tremendous! Add in a young man who has known for years that he is gay. Will his parents support his choices? Will his ex-marine father, living the football dream through his son, understand and accept him when he chooses dance over sports?
2m. 1f

Cheets is looking for an adventure! The elf had heard about 'town'. Emma and her mother went all the time but no one from the fabled forest had been there. Cheets was certain it was a magical place and he decided that he must head for troublesville. He stows away in the car one day and finds himself in busy, noisy streets all alone. He begins his adventure by befriending two cats who live in a house with two humans. Then because of his obsession with carrots, he is captured in a trap.

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Hollywood, actors, friendship, stage play, film, success,Ideas have come to me in the visiting area of a state prison, a haunted lighthouse, my days in Hollywood, or listening to  stories of my mother, growing up with 13 siblings ….. the ideas come to me in a little kernel of truth and I am inspired to write.

I am frequently asked ‘how can you be so prolific?’,  ‘how do you write so many plays?’ ‘where do you get your ideas?’

So I thought what a perfect time to give my readers seven tips about writing their first stage play.  After all, 45 play scripts ago and seventeen years earlier I began writing my first script.  And that led me to create the Creative Writers’Journals and Handbooks which includes ‘how to write a play’ and ‘how to create exciting characters.’ I went on to create a book of writing tips. 

        SEVEN TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED  … and more 

1.  Format is very important.    If you submit your new play to anyone they will not read it if it is not in the proper format. There is software out there that

offer auto-format but I found them lacking.   Sample.playwrite.format
Notice character name is in CAPS and centered. Blocking (action) is indented and placed in parentheses. Setting, Rise and Dialogue are justified left. Single space between character’s name and first line of dialogue.  If one word it is placed next to character’s name in parentheses.  A ‘beat’ is a dramatic pause to enhance the pace of the speech and is placed in the dialogue where you wish the actor to pause for a beat or two. Or buy a play script from a publisher. Samuel French is the best.

2. Each page represents approximately one minute of time on stage.  So if you have a play that is 200 pages long, that won’t work.  Audiences aren’t going to sit for more than one and a half hours unless you are providing a circus, a fire drill, sex, and an earthquake.  Audiences are even reluctant to sit through “The Iceman Cometh” a classic by Eugene O’Neill.  It runs close to 3 hours.You should keep your full length script to about 100 pages which equals 1.6 hours of stage time.  For a one act divide that by 2.  For a ten minute play your script should be from 10-15 pages.

3.  Leave lots of white space on the page.  One day when your play is being produced, actors will need a place to make notes in the script during rehearsal.  This is a sample of an actor’s (mine) working script. The  how to write a play, Trisha Sugaek, inspiration,    actor usually ‘highlights’ their lines and writes the director’s blocking in the margins. (in pencil, as blocking frequently changes)

4.  The blocking is indented. This is where the playwright gives the characters instructions on when and where to move.  But, keep it short and sweet.  Remember there will be a director who has their own ideas of where he/she wants their actors to be.  Be aware of costume changes in your writing.  An actor can’t exit stage left and enter stage right, seconds later, if you haven’t written in the time it will take to give them the time to accomplish a costume change.

42 Tips about Creative Writing

5.  Your script has to work on a stage If your story takes place in more than one locale, you have to be aware of the logistics of set changes. So keep it simple to start.  If you are ambitious in your setting buy a book on set design to research if your set is feasible.  There are some wonderful ‘envelope’ sets that unfold when you need to change the scene.  But you have to consider the budget; would a theatre have the money to build it? Always a worry.

6.  Dialogue: Now here’s the, sometimes, hard part:  everything you want the audience to know, about the story and the characters, is conveyed in the dialogue.  Unlike a short story or a novel, where you can write as much description as you’d like, a play script has none of that.  NO description.  Here is a Sample.Dialogue.Sugarek of dialogue demonstrating how to move the story forward.

7. How To Know When to Change Scenes. When there is a date/time or character/scene change is a good guide. But be careful, if the time/day changes and there is a costume change needed, always remember the audience isn’t a patient creature and they will not sit and wait for very long.  A director can and will set up an area backstage for those quick changes and often the costume mistress will be there to help with shoes, zippers, etc. To save time, you should write the actor entering from the same side as they exited (when possible) to save the time it would take for them to hurry to the other side of the stage.

Did you miss my post about Publishers?

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Instruction on:
CW.Cover.ScanHow To Begin 
How to Choose the Subject of your Play
Formatting your Play on the Page
How to write Dialogue
How to Create Rich, Exciting Characters
Story Arc
Stage Terminology
Sending out Your Script

  ‘How To’  Journals and Handbooks for all of your Creative Writing, including how to write a stage Play! 
275 blank, lined pages for your writing.  Tips and famous quotes from authors, playwrights, directors, actors, writers and poets to help inspire you. 

WANT TO LEARN MORE?? … These new Journals/Handbooks offer a total of 14 points of ‘how to’. Available on Amazon.com    B&N, and all fine book stores.

Check out the new videos on writing 

If you’d like to try writing a ten minute play?  Click here
How To Format a Screenplay
How to Format Your Novel
How to Format a Stage Play

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This new, exciting, instructional book is a sharing of over twenty+ years of experience. This writer has honed  her craft of creative writing and ‘is still learning.’ 

Thirty-five writing tips that include:
That first, all important, sentence
How to develop rich characters
Writer’s Block
Procrastination
Writing process
What Not to Do (when receiving a critique)

 Takes the ‘scary’ out of writing!
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DON’T MISS MY  blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fictionwith weekly posts.  Also featuring INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS! with me once a month . We shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  

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6 Responses
  1. John says:

    Hey Trisha, thanks for your post on properly formatting a stage play. It seams to be one of the very few I’ve found online to be correct. I have BOTH Final Draft AND Movie Magic Screenwriter. BOTH have Stage Play templates, but the templates are NOTHING close to proper stage play format! Where can I get a proper stage play template?
    Thanks a bunch!

    • Trisha says:

      Hey John. Sorry, but I don’t think I got this message from you. So better late than never. I used Final Draft for awhile but found that they are really focused on TV and screenwriting. Same with Magic Screenwriter. So I manually set up my format because then I know it’s correct. One tip: When a scene includes the same characters (whether it’s two or six) I type, cut and paste their names over and over so it’s ready for me to continue. (Example)
      SALLY.
      JOHN.
      SALLY.
      JOHN. (of course in bold. then I cut and paste over and over as I need it. Works pretty good.)

  2. Tricia Gude says:

    funny my name is Tricia is there a big difference from a musical and play

  3. Tim Brown says:

    I’m going to say WOW, thank you very much this has been truly helpful. my wife and i are writing our first play together. we are extremely excited about it. there was some things that we didn’t know and we learn from you. I learn to keep each page approximately one minute long, I learned to keep the play time approximately one-and-a-half hours, ; I also learned to keep my playbook approximately 100 pages that was so many good pointers that my wife and I learn from you. so we thank you very much. Our play is a gospel play that would touch so many expects on life. It also reminds people that God is always there for them and never give up on payer! Thank you and God bless you, keep up the good work. …..

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