Paris has a long history of theatre and exceptional entertainment. In fact, it’s quite famous for it.
But have you ever wondered what’s involved in writing an award-winning play? How did all those famous playwrights do it?
Let’s take a look.
Step 1: Your Story Idea and Genre
First, you’ll need an idea. What kind of play do you want to write? The old master playwrights often wrote in these three genres:
- Comedy: mock foolish men in power, sit-com style.
- Satire: comedy-drama, make fun of characters.
- Tragedy: loss, love, relationships between gods and men, pride.
It is entirely up to the writer to see what kind of theme and premise you want to use to convey the message, and then it’s time to move on to the further stages.
Step 2: Who’s This Story About?
Next, you’ll need to come up with your main character. Create a character profile sketch to get to know them. In your character sketch, think of things like:
- What he or she looks like. Browse photos online for ideas.
The better you know your characters before you begin writing, the easier it will be to jump in their skin.
Step 3: Desires and Problems
Choose a problem for your character to overcome. A good play must have drama and conflict. This is how to make things happen in your story. Without conflict, your audience will get bored. Consider what your character wants the most in this story. The problem must stand in their way. It’s something they must overcome to get what they want.
Step 4: Pick a Slice in Time
Now, you’ll have to choose which part of the characters life you want to show to your audience. The short time available in a play won’t be enough for the complete life story of your characters and their problem-solving adventure. You’ll have to pick a slice in time that you want your audience to see, and then hold their attention during it. Where will you start your story and where will you end it?
Typically, a play starts right before the most exciting part of the story. This is known as the story climax. Give your audience a quick glimpse into the life of the character before the big event. This is your chance to introduce your characters and their unique problem. It is essential that they understand what’s happening before the story climax begins; build the tension.
Movies and novels allow the story to jump around in time. A play is different since you have a live performance with actors on the stage. You’ll need to plan carefully.
Step 5: Write Your Play
If you’re the planning type, go ahead and create a brief outline for your play to follow before you start writing. If you’d rather write as you go, that’s fine too. See what works best for you.
Once you begin writing, remember that your audience won’t be able to see inside your character’s head. They won’t understand how they’re feeling. Because of this, focus on writing your story using action and speech. Creatively turn the character’s thoughts and ideas into words.
Integrate props, set design, and costumes to compliment your actors and bring the audience more immersed into your story. But don’t complicate things, keep it simple so that it’s not confusing or costly to produce. You can add more characters, costume changes, and dozens of scenes once you become a pro. An average play is one to five acts, and each act contains several scenes.
We all have to start somewhere. There was a time when even Shakespeare was a beginner. Have fun with the process!
Now that you know the steps involved in writing a play, why don’t you give it a try? You never know, you might be the next Molière.
See you on Broadway!