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Paperback The Playwright's Process: Learning the Craft from Today's Leading Dramatists Book

ISBN: 0823088332

ISBN13: 9780823088331

The Playwright's Process: Learning the Craft from Today's Leading Dramatists

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Book Overview

This guide aims to teach the reader the craft of writing and producing stage drama. The book covers such topics as script format, arranging readings, contacting agents, and getting a full production. How to build a good plot, and producing a piece that will work on stage are also examined.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Playwright's Process

I started college to become a Drama Major, not knowing which part of the industry I would enjoy most but, I knew I would not enjoy being an actor so after taking theatre appreciation I decided to try my hand at writing, and while my grammar may not be the best on earth if you've been reading this and grading me. This book helped me understand the process of creating everything about my characters and how to fit them into the world I had created for them. Also what elements to work with first, and how to decide if what I had in my mind was even worth pursuing. All, in all. this is a awesome book recommended to me by my teacher. Thanks!

Terrific as classroom text

I began using this book as a text for my introductory playwriting class after meeting Buzz at a playwright's retreat. It is an excellent text for beginning playwrights. The counsel provided by numerous successful writers communicates that while there is no one way to write, or to engage in the process of writing plays, there are some areas in common among creative artists that are worth considering. I especially find the chapter on formating useful. Formating is always a difficult issue. As someone who has acted as a literary manager, it is easy to disregard plays that are physically difficult to read. I strongly recommend this book to anyone considering a text for a beginning playwriting course. It provides useful, logical information that serves as a launching point for fruitful class discussion and instruction.

A must for would-be writers

I wish I would have read this book six years ago. McLaughlin's book follows the playwright's process from conception to completion -- offering practical exercises and also advice from leading contemporary playwrights. The true brilliance of this book, other than it's stunningly lucid practicality, is supporting quotes from working playwrights, who expound in keen detail on the playwrighting process. The title of this book is misleading. This book is just as pertinent to screenwriters and fiction writers. It offers practical advice for problems every writer encounters. In particular, the "Playwright's Process" presents helpful exercises on nursing an initial idea into a functional, three-dimensional story. Rather than impress reader's with his knowledge of theatre vocabulary, McLaughlin charts a clear course for readers by focusing on the elements of playwrighting most newcomers struggle with -- particularly structure (character development, plotting, etc.). What makes this book so pragmatic is that McLaughlin, an experienced teacher and playwright, asks relevant questions concerning the mechanics of playwrighting. The playwright's quotes aren't presented in a round table fashion, but rather in response to insightful questions. This book covers all angles. It address the nuts and bolts of story writing, and also touches on issues like writer's block, and more importantly, how to deal with it. I was depressed after reading this book because I felt I had wasted six years, aimlessly throwing ideas and characters onto the page. If you are an aspiring screenwriter and have read Syd Field's "Screenplay," place it on your reference shelf. The "Playwright's Process" should be your writing Bible.

A great coursebook for the amateur

This book reads as well as it works. Buzz McLaughlin has taken the effort to show you how to take your time as you work from a first idea to a first draft and beyond. His own seemingly undeniable suggestions are reinforced (and occasionally juxtaposed) with the words of many of our finest and, more importantly, oft produced playwrights. With an emphasis on the craft of playwrighting, he reminds us that inspiration only takes us so far and that without some structure and nurture, our ideas will never get beyond incoherent ramblings of dialogue. He has provided everyone who has a theatrical idea with exercises and worksheets that will bring a play into the active, three-dimensional world of real characters with real needs. wouldn't have finished anything more than one so-so play without it.

An engaging and character-driven process of writing plays

Buzz McLaughlin's book is a must-read for new playwrights and experienced dramatists alike. Having used this book in my beginning playwriting course, I've been very pleased with McLaughlin's intelligent reworking of Lagos Egri's Art of Dramatic Writing. In particular I've found McLaughlin's character milestones a very powerful method of building character from a strong emotional base. Also his explanation of the Sonata structure of basic playwriting is very useful to keep in mind for rewriting. Since the book is not primarily a textbook, but a system of writing based on the ideas of busy, working playwrights, it has a very engaging style, and a compelling argument. The focus of the book is understanding how professional playwrights deal with the practical issues of plot & character studies, dramatic premise, revision, and new play development. It would be useful if, in the next edition of the book, McLaughlin would include a 15-week workbook as a companion to this volume.This book should be required reading in all fundamental playwriting courses
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