Gerda Stevenson’s Top Ten Writing Tips


So we’re at the end of the penultimate week for A Play, A Pie and A Pint - Skeleton Wumman has received lovely reviews and tweets. 

And to celebrate the new writing of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, we’ve shared writer and director Gerda Stevenson’s top ten tips for would-be writers. We’ve the full length tips for you here:

(1) Write about what you know: if it’s not your own experience, then research your subject in depth.

(2) When writing for theatre, visualise the space, and the movement of the actors in that space, and think carefully about the practicality of scene changes - theatre isn’t the same as film or TV.

(3) Try to keep changing the rhythm, from scene to scene, so that the drama isn’t all on one level, and in one tone.

(4) Think about the voice of your characters, the kind of language, the expression they would have that is unique and particular to them as individuals.

(5) Don’t judge your characters - leave that to your audience.

(6) Don’t tell your audience what to think - better to ask questions.

(7) Don’t worry about having a total sense of the whole play before you start writing. Let your imagination discover that as you write - your play will reveal itself through the very act of writing.

(8) Avoid clunky exposition - i.e. Character A giving information to Character B which Character A knows Character B would already know, simply to ensure that the audience gets said information! Find a way of embedding the information within the action, so that it emerges, rather than being presented crudely.

(9) Sadly, due to very small production budgets, it’s unlikely that your play will be produced professionally nowadays if you have a big cast. A maximum of four characters is probably realistic - but if you’re clever about how you construct the drama, you can have your actors double, and this way have more characters than the number of actors. 

(10) Go to see a lot of theatre, and read a lot of plays.

Next week, in the final week of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, we’ve The Queen of Lucky People by Iain Heggie from Tuesday 22 -Saturday 26 April.

Here it is, this week’s TravCast is with Iain Heggie, writer of The Queen of Lucky People. Listen here: #travcast #traversetheatre #PPPTrav #edinburgh #Iainheggie #PlayPiePint

Here it is, this week’s TravCast is with Iain Heggie, writer of The Queen of Lucky People. Listen here: #travcast #traversetheatre #PPPTrav #edinburgh #Iainheggie #PlayPiePint

It’s Week 4 - the penultimate week! - of A Play, A Pie and A Pint here at the Traverse and we’re still going strong with lovely guest pies. Here’s more photographic evidence of just how tasty they are. We will miss the pies when they’re not around. 

Last week’s Guest Pies of the Day were herby egg and bacon on Tuesday, artisan pork pie on Wednesday, tarragon chicken on Thursday, fish pie on Friday and beef and horseradish pie with gravy on Saturday. This is in addition to macaroni pies, scotch pies, haggis pies, veg and haggis pies and pork pies, served cold. We are surrounded by pies. 

This week, it’s Gerda Stevenson’s Skeleton Wumman. Come on by for a fabulous play, a delicious homemade pie and a scrummy pint. 

A man went into a field and just stood there. A woman, who lived in another country, went and did exactly the same without either of them knowing what the other had done. An aviator who knew them both happened to be passing overhead. As soon as he landed, he phoned them and told them what he had seen. So they got married, but decided (quite wisely, don’t you think?) To live separately.

 The Grass is Greener by Ivor Cutler

Photograph: Tim Morozzo

A wild and fascinating piece of stage poetry

Joyce McMillan on Gerda Stevenson’s Skeleton Wumman in The Scotsman.

At the Traverse, 22-26 April.

Amba Chevannes’s Top Ten Writing Tips


So we’re at the end of the third A Play, A Pie and A Pint week. The Last Bloom has received some brilliant feedback..

This week, to celebrate the new writing of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, we’ve shared Jamaican writer Amba Chevannes’s top ten tips for would-be writers:

(1) People watch. This can give you great characters - but don’t get caught

(2) Go on a date with yourself but talk less & listen more. You’ll find your own voice

(3) If you offend, blame your characters. It’s their fault!

(4) Always speak from a place of honesty, even when hiding behind characters

(5) A good laugh and a good cry makes the story richer

(6) Don’t be afraid of the dark spaces. It’s often where the truth lies

(7) If a story keeps turning its back to you then maybe it’s not yours to tell

(8) Let your characters take the wheel & enjoy the ride. They know exactly where they want to go

(9) If your story fails, thank it for the lessons and move along.

(10) Every dramatic piece contains bits of falsehoods. The trick is to find the truth within the lies.

Next week, we’ve Skeleton Wumman by Gerda Stevenson from Tuesday 22 -Saturday 26 April. 

Posts from our playwrights, artists in residence and about all goings-on behind the scenes here at the Traverse.

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