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.