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New Release ~ Creative Writers’ Journal and “How To”

Bigger and better.  Revision 2021 newly released Journal/Handbook.

How To Begin To Write
How to Create interesting Characters
How To Write Fiction
How To Write a Stage Play
How To Write Poetry
How To Write Haiku Poetry

275+ lined, blank pages for your writings.  Each page with an inspiring famous quote from actors, authors, playwrights, poets. 

Review:  Midwest Book Review 

“Creative Writers’ Journal and Handbook begins where so many writer’s guides should: with the basics of how to pursue a dream job as a writer. The problem with most writers’ guides is that they assume some prior degree of excellence or experience; but this handbook poses something different: the opportunity to begin with no prior skill level or experience. All that’s needed is the desire and passion to be a writer, and everything flows from there.
So if you ‘scribble’, if you like words, if your stories ‘find’ you, and if you aspire to be something more (say, a published blogger); then here’s the next step in the process. From how ideas begin to how they are nurtured and written down, there to be refined until they see the light of day (i.e. other readers), this journal offers support, insight, and ideas for jump-starting the creative process and linking it to action.

White, lined journal pages offer a workbook approach that augments white space with inspirational quotes on the process from other, successful writers. So while you’re staring at the usual journal blank pages, inspiration can spark from others’ experiences and insights.
This isn’t just about prose, either: Sugarek includes sections on different formats, from Haiku Poetry to writing a stage play. Each section offers inspirational insights into format, structure, and writing challenges – then uses the journal/quote format to encourage readers to put something down on paper.
So if it’s nuggets of information spiced with the encouragement of fresh lined, white space that is needed, Creative Writers’ Journal and Handbook offers a success formula beginners can easily absorb, all packaged in a survey that assumes no prior familiarity with writing.”
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry and October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan.
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Rewrites Are Fun and Creative!

Don’t Be shy about about editing some of your older work. For example, Next! A Hollywood tale.  This stage play is from 2009. Full length drama, for adults. What inspired me to look at it again was a little flurry of book sales for this play.

So I pulled it out, dusted it off and read it again.  And found some interesting spots to make it better. In this latest revision I added a whole new scene, which was overlooked the first go around. I couldn’t believe that I had neglected to tie up a loose thread, which the new scene did nicely. 
I have a philosophy; That is that no story is ever finished and I’ve never been shy about looking back and seeing if something needs a good polish or a rewrite. 
This story is about ‘cattle calls’. Auditions that are open to the public; to anyone with a resume and a headshot. Grueling, harsh, and often cruel, the casting directors are ruthless and go through starving actors like a threshing machine. 

Synopsis: Four young, brash actors come to Hollywood to live out their dreams of making it big in tinsel town. They are convinced that hard work and honed skills will bring them everything that they ever dreamed of. They discover that hard work and talent have very little to do with success.

This full length play tells the story of the unflagging optimism of these four actors. They never give up in spite of the daily exploitation and frustration. This comedic drama portrays the real story behind the auditions, the type casting, the ruthlessness and hidden agendas of the movie industry. How the beautiful people, with virtually no acting talent, become stars overnight while trained, talented actors work for years in menial jobs while pursuing a career in film and theatre. The four characters are representational of all the fine, new actors that Hollywood lures into its machination of heartbreak. The author purposely uses only first names as a symbol of how dispensable these young people are.

A surprising and shocking ending will keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

3f. 3m.
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry. October: Susanne O’Neal 
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What does it look like? From ‘no book’ to ‘finished book’?

A fellow writer and friend asked me this question:  “What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?”  After years of writing my blog and interviewing other authors,  it seemed to be each featured author’s favorite question.  Having also completed  several novels  I’d like to add my two cents:

When writing my first novel, (Women Outside the Walls) I did not have a deadline and it probably would have really helped. I was my own deadline setter and that didn’t work out so well. On the other hand, I think having a publisher breathing down my neck would have stifled my creative flow.  When life got in the way I wouldn’t work on it for weeks but then I would get inspired and work on it for days, weeks, non-stop, sometimes 10-14 hours a day. So I guess it all evened out.  Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write for a few days….you’ll make up for it with better, more relaxed creative writing.

Because I inherently ‘rush’, I found that I had to watch-dog myself and be careful not to leave out important roads of the story. I was in early proofing of the final product of my novel and realized (in a countless re-read) that I had never described my female negotiator’s physical appearance. (Yikes!).  Again, (if the writer tends to rush) go back and re-read your work to see where you need to flesh out a chapter or a character.

I am not structured at all, if ‘structured’ means writing an outline, a story plot and character descriptions. I write a new project in my head for days, weeks and then when my brain is about to burst I begin putting it down on paper (or in my case, sitting at the keyboard). I also write out of sequence and I think that’s okay. My novel’s last chapter was completed months before the middle was written.

Some writers have actually written whole books while blogging; they found it less daunting by writing in segments. At the end they had a book and then they published.  If you need a deadline the days that you commit to writing a blog would serve.  For me this wouldn’t work;  I would feel too exposed having my rough draft out there for the world to see as I am a writer who slams it down the first time around and then edit, edit, delete, edit.  Did I mention that the lettering is worn off my ‘delete’ key?

Frequently I will begin a story that has inspired me, not knowing much about the subject. It has sometimes stopped me dead in my tracks while I researched (example: hostage negotiations for Women Outside the Walls).   I had 8 pages of a new play about Winston Churchill written and  had to stop to do research on his life during WW II. I find that it can be done while I am writing and that is what I prefer. It’s more fun and keeps me interested. I don’t think I would do well having my research all done before I put my story down. I find that the research itself inspires my story line.

And then there is that unseen, unheard phenomenon where, with any luck, the characters take over and you become the typist.  Your muse begins to tell you the story.  This has happened to me time and again, and while I resisted at first (being a control-freak) I now embrace and welcome it.  In Women Outside the Walls my character Alma, at sixteen, is abandoned by her promiscuous mother.  Alma is befriended by the ex-girl friend of the man Alma had a teen crush on.  They end up being room mates.  I could never have dreamed that one up;  but my characters got together and decided that this was what they would to do.books, authors, book stores, women writers,

I don’t think that there is a right or wrong way to go through the process. Each writer should be unique in how they work. Instead of thinking of it as a project/deadline ‘thing’; think of it as a work of art, created just for you and by you. Where possible, let the characters lead you. They will never steer you wrong!

well, there you have it…the process such as it is and how it works for me. (First posted January, 2013)
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, July: Veronica Henry.
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Adapting your Stage Play into a Novella or Storybook

Many of my stage plays have ended up being the story outline (or more) in creating a children’s story book, or a short story, or a novella, or the bones of a novel.  I thought that I would share, with my readers and fellow playwrights my process in converting these plays/stories. 
The demand really began with my friends and fans insisting on more of the story they’d read or seen in a play. It wasn’t enough. Satisfyingly, they wanted to know what happened after the play ended, or they wanted to know how my characters got to where they were in the play’s timeframe. 
Currently I am adapting my latest children’s play in to a story book. A  chapter book with colored illustrations. 

First I pull up the full script. I re-read it in sections to get immerse, once more, in the story. The blocking will be my guide on describing the ‘action’. I will be certain to describe each character as they appear in the story. Something you can’t do writing a stage play. After I read this section of the play, I begin to describe the characters, the environment, the emotions within the scene. Remember, playwrights, you are now free to write as much description as you want. (But don’t be redundant or boring, please.)  I copy and paste the section of the play script into my new manuscript. Then I write above the scene in the play. I am able to use almost all of the dialogue that I have created in the play. After I have written the new work I delete the play script and go on to the next.  Here’s a sample:

Chapter 1 ©

Agnes and Annie, sister Aardvarks, stepped off the path into the forest clearing. Except for the occasional rustle in the underbrush and bird song it was a quiet, sun-filled idyllic setting. The smells of forest; tree sap, damp moss, rotting tree trunks, and hidden flowers filled their busy noses. It was worlds away from the dusty deserts in their homeland of Africa. They both looked around fearfully. The fanciful hats atop their heads bobbled in the breeze.
“I think we’re lost, dear sister.” Agnes moaned.
“This doesn’t look anything like the pictures of Australia in our book.”
“Oh, dear, I’m quite afraid,” Annie whispered.
“Whooo?” Something said from high atop a tree.
Annie rushed closer to her sister, “Ekk. What was that?”
Annie had always been the shy Aardvark. Her sister, Agnes had always been the bold one, leading the way and protecting her younger sister.
“Who?” Came the cry again.
“What?” Agnes demanded, looking up into the tree where she thought the sound was coming from. “There are so many trees, all mashed together, I can’t tell where the creature is, Annie.”
“Who?”
“That.” Annie cried.
“What?” Agnes demanded.
“I can’t see anything.” Annie said. “What do you suppose it is?”
“Not certain,” Agnes replied. “But keep a look out anyway.”
“I don’t like this place, Agnes.”

ACT I ©   (The section we are adapting.)
Scene 1

At Rise: Morning in the fabled forest. Pale sunlight filters through the trees.

(ANNIE and AGNES enter. THEY cross into a clearing, looking all around. THEY are wearing ridiculous hats and are carrying suitcases and a book entitled Australia. The WOODLAND CREATURES scatter into the underbrush.)

AGNES
(Gazing up into the trees, HER nose switching as fast as possible.)
I think we’re lost, dear sister. This doesn’t look anything like the pictures of Australia in our book.
ANNIE
(Frowning.)
Oh, dear, I’m quite afraid.

STARE

Whooo?
ANNIE
(ANNIE runs over to AGNES.)

Ekk. What was that?

STARE
Who?

AGNES
What?

STARE

Who?

ANNIE
That.

AGNES

Not certain. But keep a look out anyway.

ANNIE
I don’t like this place, Agnes.

AGNES

You’re such a scaredy-cat, Annie. It’s a simple forest, much like the jungles of home.

(DONALD, a fairie, enters whistling a merry tune. HE sees the Aardvarks. AGNES and ANNIE turn to run.)

DONALD

Don’t go. I mean you no harm.

STARE
Who? Who?

PATSY
(Knitting her web very fast.)

Eye–eee! Por favor, who are these ugly newcomers? Dios mío, ¿se comerán mis insectos? The bugs are for me and me alone!

You have your character list to refer to so you don’t forget or leave out a character from your play. In the story books, I always use an illustrator to bring the story alive with their wonderful color drawings based upon the scene I chosen.  I try, as much as possible, to give the artist full rein; hoping that they will be inspired by the writing. That approach has been very successful for me.  Here’s another sample of adapting a section of my play:

 

©   A couple of days had passed since Emma had visited the clearing in the forest. She and Donald had still not solved the problem of helping Annie and Agnes on their journey to Australia. There suddenly came some rustling of the undergrowth and Stare, the owl began to hoot.
“Who? Who? Who?”
“What’s wrong, Stare?” Emma peered up through the leaves and branches trying to see the owl.
“Whooo?”
From the path a man stumbled into the clearing. He wore work clothes, suspenders and a bow tie. A tool belt hung from his waist. He carried a large tool box. He walked to the middle of the clearing and made a courtly bow.
“Greetings from the Royal Court.”
“Oh my.” Emma murmured.
Donald stepped forward a couple of paces. “Greetings to you. Who are you, sir?”
“Who?” Asked Stare.
“Who might you be, young sir?”
“I’m Donald, a fairie of this realm.”
Taking his half-glasses off his nose he polished them with a clean, white handkerchief, “Blimey. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.”
“And you, sir?”
“Who?”
“Not now Stare.” Donald glanced up.
“Allow me to formally introduce myself. I’m Sir Fergus, the royal engineer. I’ve been sent here by the⸺”
Emma sighed, “The Queen.”
“Our Queen.”
“Who?” Stare asked.
“Who?” Annie asked.
“What’s a queen?” Agnes asked.
Cheets began running around the clearing, “The Queen! The Queen! The Queen Cometh!”
Sir Fergus looked around, “No. I don’t think so. It’s just me with my toolbox.”
“Why have you been sent to us, Mr. Fergus?”
“The name’s just Fergus, Miss. Or at court, Sir Fergus.”
“And you’re here because⸺?” Donald inquired.
“To repair your portal⸺time machine⸺of course. It is broken, isn’t it?”
“Our portal?”
“We have a portal? Cheets whispered in awe but having no idea what a portal was. “What is a portal, exactly?”
“And the Queen knew ours is broken?” Emma asked.
“Yes. Yes. Indubitably.” Fergus became impatient to see it, “If you’ll just show me the way, I’ll begin my work.”
“I’m afraid we have no idea where it might be in the forest.” Emma explained. “Until the sisters arrived we didn’t know anything about a portal. They arrived from Africa.”

ACT I ©
Scene 5

At Rise: The clearing in the forest.

(FERGUS, the royal engineer enters from the forest path. HE wears formal clothes but with a large bow-tie and a pocket protector in his shirt pocket. HE carries a large toolbox.)

FERGUS
(Sets down toolbox and bows.)
Greetings from the Royal Court.
EMMA
Oh my.
DONALD
Greetings to you. Who are you?
STARE
Who?
FERGUS
Who might you be?
STARE
Whooo?
DONALD
I’m Donald, a fairie of this realm.
FERGUS
(Takes his half-glasses off and polishes them.)
Blimey. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.
DONALD
And who are you, sir?
STARE
Who?
FERGUS
Allow me to formally introduce myself. I’m Fergus, the royal engineer. I’ve been sent here by the⸺
EMMA
(Sighing.)
The Queen.
DONALD
Our Queen.
STARE
Who?

AGNES
Who?
ANNIE
What’s a queen?
CHEETS
(Jumping up and down.)

The Queen! The Queen! The Queen Cometh!

FERGUS
(Looking around.)
No. I don’t think so. It’s just me and my toolbox.
EMMA
Why have you been sent to us, Mr. Fergus?
FERGUS
It’s just Fergus, Miss. Or in more formal settings, Sir Fergus.
DONALD
And you’re here because⸺?
FERGUS
To repair your portal⸺time machine⸺of course. It is broken, isn’t it?

Your play script can grow into something much more ambitious than a novella or children’s story. I have written three full length novels using my stage play as the story outline.
Please leave your comments if you found this informative and helpful. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy.
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Research Can Unearth Some Surprises!

Nazi codes in the hem of a dress?

After reading Susan Elia MacNeal’s Mr. Churchill’s Secretary I was inspired to write a short play about Winston Churchill and hisChurchills.Cat.BookCoverImage cat, Nelson.   Ms. MacNeal referred, in passing, to Mr. Churchill’s pets being allowed free rein to wander the war rooms at #10 Downing Street during Churchill’s time in office.  I could clearly see  the rotund, shambling figure of the Prime Minister with two pugs yapping at his heels while Admiral Nelson, the cat, sat high atop a side table. Silently observing his human and the general hysteria of the dogs.

Churchill was a master not only in crafting the English sentence but also in the coinage of words.  His tongue-in-cheek comment:  “A fanatic is one who won’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” is a favorite of mine.  In a World War I speech, (1914) Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty coined the phase ‘business as usual’.  Saying the maxim of the British people is “business as usual.”  Churchill gave the world the phrase: “Iron Curtain” in his speech in Missouri in 1946 when he said, “…..an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”

Having grown up during the post-war years, I knew something of Mr. Churchill.  A historic figure that was a great statesman, orator and leader.  But I really knew nothing of the man.  And once again, (as I have mentioned before) I began a project and then started my research.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, (which I highly recommend) is fiction but based in fact.  Ms. MacNeal was fortunate enough to have several interviews with Churchill’s private secretary before her death.  The book is about a ‘typist’ who was relegated to a menial job because of her gender.  She was actually educated in mathematics and cryptology and could easily have fitted in with MI-Five (British CIA) but for her being a woman.  The novel’s heroine, Maggie, saves the Prime Minister from certain death by breaking a Nazi code.  And this brings me to the fashion advert that actually ran in the London Times and was full of Nazi messages.  All the stitching (around sleeves and hem) was Morse code for attacks at #10 Downing and St. Paul’s cathedral. 

“German spies hid secret messages in drawings of models wearing the latest fashions in an attempt to outwit Allied censors during World War Two, according to British security service files. Nazi agents relayed sensitive military information using the dots and dashes of Morse code incorporated in the drawings. They posted the letters to their handlers, hoping that counter-espionage experts would be fooled by the seemingly innocent pictures. But British secret service officials were aware of the ruse and issued censors with a code-breaking guide to intercept them.”  (actual advert from the London Times).

If not for my love of reading, my passion for writing, and the need for research, I would never have delved into Churchill’s life and his time in office. (my interests don’t generally take that path).  It’s an unexpected delight to learn more about this amazing statesman.  He was quirky, irritable, brilliant, and very funny.

And all because I had begun writing a short play about Mr. Churchill and his cat!  I love when that happens!!

(Originally published 2013)
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan
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Fresh little nuggets…about writing!

writing, create, write, blog, authorsWrite 50 words; that’s a paragraph.

Write 400 words; that’s a page.

Write 300 pages; that’s a manuscript.

Write Every Day! That’s a habit.

Edit and rewrite; that’s how you get better.

Spread your writing for people to comment. That’s called feedback.

Don’t worry about rejection or publication; that’s being a writer.

When not writing, read. Read from writers better than you. Read and Perceive.
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(Courtesy of  Ajay Ohri. Bio: Ajay Ohri, Manager Data Science comes from a rich background in data science and technology and is passionate about consumer insights, research and strategy. Ajay has – created meaningful impact with data science projects by leading and mentoring data scientists. )

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan
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How to be Certain a Director will NOT choose your Play

Recently I was invited to read and review a new collection of three plays. There was so much WRONG with the formatting and the lack of knowledge by the playwright that I couldn’t review it without tearing it all down and asking the playwright to begin anew. But there evolved a constructive critique that might help other new writers. 

Example back cover

Back cover should not be blank with a graphic design. Don’t waste this space.
1. Use this space as an opportunity to grab the buyer/director. List titles and short synopses of your plays. Count gender and following synopsis type this: 1m. 4f. (indicating one male and four females.
2. One line tags
3. A short bio of you

Pg1. First page: Title of play/s
Pg.2: Copyright notice
Pg 3:  list of play titles and Pg # they start on.

In the first few pages you should have a Contents (list) with the tile of each play and the page number it begins. Make it as easy as you can for the director to find the play and the list of characters Because this dictates whether the director can use your play or not depending on age of character and gender. Always keep in mind that men are harder to cast.

On whatever page a new play starts it should begin with the title and the list of characters.

Be certain, you as the playwright, understand what constitutes a full length play. a One Act play, and a Ten Minute Play.  If your plays are preachy and  esoteric it will be a hard sell to a director.

The end of a play is indicated with one word, centered: CURTAIN

Black out‘ and ‘End of Scene‘ are no longer used. The director will understand when a new scene begins. The next page demonstrates to the reader that a new scene is beginning. ‘Act’ and ‘Scene’ should be centered.

CHARACTERS names and blocking should be centered on page; NO underline.

If you find yourself writing a soliloquy or a monologue in a scene, break it up by having other characters insert dialogue in your speech. It then becomes less preachy and more dynamic.

Be certain YOU know the difference between a Ten Minute Play, a Full Length play (with two acts) and a One Act Play. The first act in a full length play is longer than the second act. Full length plays are about 100 pages/minutes. And no one ever uses an Act III unless your plays is over two hours or closer to 3 hours long. Also, a no-no. Remember the rule of thumb is one minute per page. This varies based on how ‘busy’ the blocking is as that takes time too. It is permissible that a 10 minute play might go over but never more than 18 to 20 minutes.

The first few pages of the book should be simple and convey the correct information. Keep it simple.  The title of your book  should be on the 1st page of your book. The next page [on the left] should be your copyright page. On the right should be your table of contents (centered)
Title with page numbers. (justified left)

On the page number of the play, the title should be on the 1st page. (odd numbered page, right side) the next page (odd numbered) should be the list of characters. The blocking and description of how the play should be produced does not need to be too detailed. Remember this is the job of the director to interpret the playwright’s Play.

Examples:
Link, How to Format a play: https://www.writeratplay.com/2018/01/15/how-to-format-your-self-published-stage-play/

When the formatting is not industry-standard, I have seen more than one director throw the book/script into the ’round file’.
Look at other scripts on line for guidance.  
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    November: Ella Quinn, December: Lauren Willig,
January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica  March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
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How to Write A Stage Play: Exercise

In this exercise, featured in my Journal, “How To Write a Play’, I have started a play for you to continue writing. It can be a 10
minute play, a full one act play, or a full length play. I have left the story plot ‘threads’ dangling in order for you to choose where the plot goes.
Tip: If you choose to write a longer play you might want to consider writing something in front of these few lines to get more ‘back story’.
Remember the best plays begin, early on, with some tension. 

 

                                                                    Scene 1  ©

At Rise: A hallway in a high school.

              (JASON and ROBIN stand next to some lockers away from the flow of students
              hurrying to their classes.)

                                                                    ROBIN (Hissing.)

You better not hurt my friend.

                                                                     JASON

What are you talking about?

                                                                ROBIN

I know your rep….luv ‘em and leave ‘em.

                                                                JASON

Naw. Not me.

                                                                ROBIN

Yes, you. Just be careful.  Do not start dating Sara, coming on strong like she’s the only girl in the world. Then dumping her.

                                                                JASON

I wouldn’t.

                                                                ROBIN

You would. I’m just sayin’, if you plan on doing something like that, you’ll have to go through me to get to Sara.  

                                                                JASON  (Smirked.)

What if I’m planning on going through Sara to get to you?

                                                                ROBIN

What? You’re crazy.

                                                                JASON

That doesn’t answer my question.

                                                                ROBIN

You don’t even like me. 

(Now try continue writing this play. Make your own choices about where it goes and who does what.)
Want to read more about Playwriting?
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A Slice of Time….How to Write a Ten Minute Play

I always see the script (for a 10 minute play) as a slice of time. ‘I Can’t Breathe’ was a slice of time before the event that prompted me writing the play. ‘Parkland Requiem’ was during  the event, that is the massacre that happened at Parkland’s high school. We all know what happened immediately after the shooting and not much before the shooting other than it was a normal day of  families getting ready for the day and hopeful young people hurrying off to school. 

For me, the writer, it’s like walking into a room where people are having a conversation (without you) and you are plunged into the story from there.

None of the rules of writing change when writing a ten minute play, just because it’s short. You must still have a beginning, an arc, and an ending(of sorts). You have to introduce the characters through dialogue quickly and concisely. You must attract the empathy of the audience with record speed. Remember, you only have ten minutes.

How do I know when I have ten minutes? Here’s some tips: The typical rule is a page equals one minute.  If a page is heavy with blocking, (movement) it will usually go longer than a minute. If you have a page that is solid with dialogue and movement you can rely on the 1 page = 1 minute. And leave lots of white space; an actor will need some space to write in blocking, from the director, and notes while in rehearsal. 
 

Check out my many “Motivational Moments for Writers” in past posts. 
Want to try your hand at writing a ten minute play? This journal is a great place to start. 
Want to see more of my ten minute plays? Click here 

Do you need help Formatting a Novel? 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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Guest Blogger, Desiree Villena, Addresses Writer’s Block (conclusion)

The last two steps to combat writer’s block :

…………In a brief, it’s expected that you provide a synopsis of your book, as well as highlight any important visual elements within it. Don’t be afraid to play around with this! For example, if your project involves an epiphany, a revelation, or solution to a mystery, a cryptic cover that features a clue could be a way to “wink” at readers who have read the book and now understand the hint. Similarly, if an object plays an important role in your story (think of the cut-glass bowl in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story ‘The Cut-Glass Bowl’, for example), you should let your designer know about it, as they can brainstorm cover ideas that involve this object.
This is an entertaining and creative exercise to do when facing writer’s block because you’ll see certain aspects of your story in a fresh way after trying to synthesize your plot from a visual perspective. Envisioning a potential book cover for your project is guaranteed to motivate you —
not to mention it’ll probably come in handy later!

“Procrastination is unprofessional and a heinous habit…. If you are not a self starter or you cannot find it in yourself to show up for work on your own and deliver on time you should not pursue a writing career.” ~~Dorothea Benton Frank

#3.    Describe your reader avatar. In marketing lingo, a ‘reader avatar’ is your ideal, perfect reader. It’s a notion that every book marketer will remind you to consider as you narrow down possible target markets. For example, the perfect reader of Roald Dahl’s Matilda could be a bookish, moral, and playful child (just like the protagonist) or an English teacher, parent, or relative who encourages children to read and study hard for school. Once you’ve dreamt up your reader avatar, try experimenting with this “character” in a writing exercise! Narrate an ordinary day in their life, write a dialogue between your reader avatar and a friend, or try some poetry in the form of a dramatic monologue and see what their voice sounds like. Getting to know this avatar is a great chance to practice your characterization and dialogue skills, while also keeping them in mind for when the time comes to reach out to them! 

“Stop procrastinating! Okay, serious answer: Remind yourself that your book isn’t going to write itself. It doesn’t do you any good to sit around dreaming up every single detail of your plot and all the action and every line of dialogue. You’ll forget most of what you dream up, anyway, unless you write it down, and if you’re going to write down notes, you might as well just write the damn story.” ~~ Olivia Hawker 

#4. Write a review for a similar book.
If you really need to escape your project, you might even read another book in your genre and distill your thoughts in a review. You don’t have to publish it if you don’t want to, but do consider making it public since all writers appreciate getting a book review. Reading someone else’s work can be a uniquely revitalizing experience for a tired mind, and if their project is somewhat similar to yours, you might find yourself inspired to return to your work in progress. As for the writing part, it’s one of the best ways to support other writers and still train that word-generating part of your brain! Every piece of writing is an opportunity to structure your thinking with eloquence, so no writing effort ever goes to waste. No matter what you find yourself writing in your attempt to move past writer’s block, as long as you’re producing words, you’ll soon find your way through. Hopefully these four writing tasks can renew your excitement for crafting your book, while also inspiring you to think about its future marketing prospects. The key is to just keep going, one word at a time. Don’t lose hope!

Did you miss part 1?

 More good information, click here
Additional post about writer’s block
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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