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Top tips to get you writing!

Kate Chapman –  Artistic Director Theatre Writing Partnership

Whether you’re having a go at theatre writing for the fist time or you’ve been doing it for a while, here are my top tips. The most important thing of all is to start writing and if you’ve no idea where to start – just look out of your window – you’d be amazed where that might take you…..

The view from TWP's window

The view from our window

1. Make a date to go and gather material which will inspire you. Walk round town or through the park, sit in cafes, flick through the local paper, pick up random objects, start chatting to someone you’ve never met before, take ten photos on your phone.

2. When you start developing an idea – no matter how small the seed, stick with it, feed it, water it and have faith in it!

3. Set yourself a schedule an make time for your writing. Decide on a time each day when you will sit down and write – even it’s just for half an hour an hour over a two week period. This will get you into a pattern and that’s when things start happening.

4. If you get sick of words – use some visual stimulus – take photos, cut things out of magazines, set up a blog about your process and use it as a scrapbook. Anything which keeps you excited and interested in your idea.

5. Go to the theatre. Take every opportunity to watch theatre no matter what the venue or the show. You are writing for a live medium so immerse yourself in it and really think about what excites you about it.

6. Read some plays.  Either read as many as you get your hands on or just read and reread one or two of your favourite scripts  and ask yourself what techniques is the writer using to tell their story and to keep the audience asking questions.

7. Writing is rewriting. Keep on reviewing and redrafting your work. Playwriting is a craft and all script writers go through several drafts before completing their material.

8. You are not alone. Making theatre is collaborative and fun. It involves teams of people to get a production together so invite your friends round to talk about your idea or to read your script outloud – that’s the best way to work out what works and what doesn’t.

9. Take your character for a walk. Go out for a walk and imagine they are walking beside you. What do they sound like? Do they put up a front? Are they open? Secretive? Fun to be with? Hard work?

10. If you’ve never written a script before start with the opening scene of a play you might like to write even if you don’t know where the story is heading. How will you draw the audience in? Think of the audience as detectives following the clues that you choose to give them.


One Comment

  1. Posted March 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    These tips are brilliant. I did tip number 1 today, bought myself a lovely deluxe leather filofax and sketchpad whilst out and about too! Sometimes I think you get different ideas on paper than you would on a gadget or laptop.


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