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Write A Play And Get It Performed: Performance
by Lesley Bown and Ann Gawthorpe
Plays are meant to be performed and there is no greater pleasure for a writer than to see (or hear) their work brought to life by actors. It is rare for new writers to see their work produced professionally, but there are other ways of having your work performed.
Local amateur dramatic groups are often on the look out for new plays, particularly if the writer is prepared to write something specific for them or to take into account that the group may have 20 women but only two men who want to take to the stage. Other avenues to explore are schools which that put on annual productions or local festivals, which sometimes incorporate a dramatic element.
Look out for competitions which that offer a production as a prize. Even script-in-hand performances will give a good idea of how the play will work.
It is also possible for writers to stage their own productions. This will means hiring a venue, finding the actors and a director and doing all the publicity to attract an audience. Keep costs down by doing as much work as possible yourself: tickets, programmes, publicity flyers and posters can all be done on the computer. The main point to bear in mind is to ensure it is financially viable.
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Write A Novel And Get It Published: Writing success takes luck, talent, hard work and stamina
A plot needs a beginning, middle and end, and during the story, something must change. It needs at least two characters including the protagonist, who will need to experience conflict. It also needs an underlying theme to give it coherence. The classic plot shape is an eight-phase arc: stasis, trigger, quest, unexpected events, critical choice, climax, reversal and resolution. Most novels have one or more sub-plots.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Starting out
If you want to write a novel then you will need imagination, hard work and stamina. You’ll need to be endlessly curious about people and their behaviour. It’ll help if you are a reader as well as a writer. There is no absolute test for quality in writing, all you can do is work at the craft aspect and learn as much as you can about the art aspect.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Plot
Plot and character are equally important and inextricably intertwined. The key to holding a reader’s attention is to pose interesting questions and then delay giving the answers. There are two types of question: suspense questions look forwards for the answers and mystery questions look backwards.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Character
To create believable characters you need both empathy and sympathy, but do bear in mind that fictional characters are less complex than real people. Readers need to identify with characters so use both empathy and sympathy in their creation. Empathy is recognizing something of yourself in a character; sympathy is liking what you see in a character.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Style
Every writer has their own style which should make their work instantly recognizable. Style isn’t something that’s added to a work, it is the work, and finding your own style will be a journey of discovery.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Theme
At the very heart of your story is its theme. This is not the same as subject matter, which is the tangible reality of the story, something which changes with fashions in novel writing. Theme can be broken down into thread and thesis.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Scenes
A novel’s scenes anchor it in physical reality, although they can be imaginary. You need to understand them in detail, either through imagination or research if you are using a real setting.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Editing
The first stage of writing a novel is inspirational, when the ideas flow and you try to get them down without allowing your inner critic too much say. This is where the art of writing comes in, but the second stage is the craft of editing, where you shape and order your vision.
Write A Novel And Get It Published: Get help
If you are going through a hard time with your writing, start by talking to friends and family, although they won’t want to know the details they will probably be interested and supportive. For support and help with the actual process of writing, try to meet other writers through Writers’ Groups, Writing Courses and Internet forums.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Characters
Generate characters from people you know, plays, films, novels, TV, and stock characters. Get to know your characters fully, even the minor ones. Understand the influences that made them what they are at the time of the play. You are likely to draw on your own background for this, because it is what you know best.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Dialogue
As soon as you have two characters speaking, you have dialogue. Even if they are talking at cross-purposes or not listening to each other, it is still dialogue.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Musicals
Musicals combine drama with songs and dance routines. However, the latter two should not just be tacked onto a drama, but should be integral to it and enhance it. Musicals generally move at a faster pace than conventional dramas, and the plot lines are usually simpler to allow space for the musical element.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Outline
An outline can be a detailed description of a play you are planning to write or a short description of a play already written – in either case it can be used as a selling tool to try and get the play commissioned.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Radio
Writing for radio gives the opportunity of writing about anything, set anywhere and featuring anybody. It is an intimate form of drama, allowing the listener to use their imagination, and, unlike stage plays, it can also allow the listener to hear the innermost thoughts of the characters.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Reviews
Having your play reviewed can sometimes seem like a double-edged sword – you want a good review, but are fearful of getting a bad one. However, having reviews can, however, produce publicity for your play and bring in the auudience so it is worth trying to get them.
Get Your Articles Published: Travel writing
Travel writing is probably one of the more glamorous forms of writing for magazines and also one of the more difficult to break into.
Get Your Articles Published: The internet
For writers, the internet is an Aladdin’s cave, full of information, opportunities and an endless supply of ideas. At the touch of a fingertip, it is possible to find out virtually anything – from what the weather was like in March 1948 to the latest experiments in nanotechnology.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: As a career
If you enjoy writing articles and have begun to have some success, then you may want to make it your full-time occupation. Before you take the plunge, there are various things to consider.
Get Your Articles Published: Interviews
The use of interviews in articles falls into three categories: 1) the interview as the whole of the article, such as writing about someone famous; 2) as part of the article where it gives not only background information but also a personal perspective from the interviewee, or 3) as part of your research.
Get Your Articles Published: Proposal
Once you have an idea for an article and are sure you can collect enough information to write it, it is time to find it a home by preparing a proposal to send to magazines.
Get Your Articles Published: Structure
An article needs an underlying structure to give it coherence – this is what leads the reader through your sequence of ideas and leaves them feeling satisfied.
Get Your Articles Published: Researching information
Most articles benefit from some background information or facts and figures and unless you are confident you have enough knowledge in your head then you will have to do some research. Even if you already have the information it doesn’t hurt to check its accuracy.
Get Your Articles Published: Content
Once you have done your research you will almost certainly find that you have more material than you need for the article. Make a list of all the different types of information that you have amassed: interviews, facts and figures, background, explanation, technical information, arguments for and against and so on.
Get Your Articles Published: CV (Resume)
Your CV is your calling card – it tells editors that you are professional, focussed and competent. Always include it when you email or write to an editor.
Get Your Articles Published: Summaries
If you have written your article, and found that it is too long use summarizing techniques to reduce the length without losing any of the meaning.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Successful life stories
To write a successful life story you don’t need to be famous or to have done something amazing – but you do need to be able to communicate with your readers and include the information they want to know about.
Write A Children's Book And Get It Published: Writing Teenage Fiction
Teenage fiction is currently a huge and thriving market. As well as more traditional coming of age stories, the recent success of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series has seen an explosion of dark supernatural romances.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Ideas
‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ This is the question most often asked of professional writers. There’s no doubt that ideas are troublesome creatures: elusive, slippery and prone to fading from view just when you think you’ve captured them. And some ideas turn out to have been time-wasters all along.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Treachery and other good habits of writers
The writer Julia Darling called her last published book of poetry Apology for Absence. She did this as an acknowledgement of the disregard writers often can’t help showing towards their family and friends.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Seek critics not fans
When you’ve written something you feel is good, you’re going to want someone to read it. This is natural. A piece of writing that is never read might as well never have been written. And you’ve worked hard on it. You’ve sweated blood over it. There were moments when it felt like your brain was bleeding, so difficult was the struggle to put the right words in the right order.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Read modern poetry
If you are an aspiring poet yourself, then you might think that this is obvious advice. Apparently it isn’t. When most people think about poetry, they think about what they read at school, primary school usually. Despite the efforts of writers like the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the general population have a narrow view of what makes a good poem.
Get Started In Creative Writing: When nothing is working, try something outrageous
John Cleese once said, ‘High creativity is responding to situations without critical thought.’ In other words creativity is about play. It is about mischief. It is about surprises.
Get Started In Creative Writing: The recipe for a good story (short or long, true or made up)
If you are writing stories of any kind and you want people to read them, then you need to ask yourself some hard questions. Why should anyone read this story? Why should they choose my work over any of the other 100 million books already on the shelves? Why should they read me – an unknown author – rather than, say, the latest celebrity memoir?
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Checking It
The first draft of a life story contains the bare bones. It now needs to be fleshed out to turn it into a readable book.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Keep going
Starting is easy and endings are liberating, but the bit in the middle – the bit where you have to keep going, one step after one dogged step – that is the hard bit. That is the bit where you show your true character.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Agents
There is no doubt that it is very handy for a prose writer to have an agent. A reputable agent will get you credibility with publishers (who are reluctant to see authors representing themselves). They will also find the right editor for you, negotiate the deals for you and provide experienced, forensic and critical, but supportive, input into your work.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Independent publishers
Don’t neglect independent publishers when seeking a home for your work. A small press is a real labour of love for the people who run it. No one sets up a new publishing house because they want to get rich, they do it because they love literature and want to bring the best of it into the public domain.
Get Started In Creative Writing: Leave your writing to cook
All writing is rewriting. First drafts are usually rubbish, but they are necessary rubbish. The first draft is the equivalent of preparing the ingredients for a tricky recipe. Your first draft is you checking that you have everything you need; it is your peeling and chopping. It is by no means the finished meal.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Submission
If you want to get your play performed then you will have to send it either to a theatre, an agent, a producer, a publisher or the BBC. This is called a submission and it pays to get it right, otherwise your masterpiece might end up being binned rather than read. Before posting or e-mailing your work, check that the recipient is happy to accept unsolicited scripts.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Theatre
Most of us these days experience drama through watching television, and one of the most common mistakes new playwrights make is to write a theatre play as if it were for television. The two forms of drama are quite different, and the audience experiences them in quite different ways.
Write A Play And Get It Performed: Workshops
Workshops are a way of learning more about the craft of writing in a small group led by someone with experience. They can last from an hour to a few days, but normally take place on one day. As well as giving the opportunity of getting to know other writers, they can also be motivational, particularly if the writer has stalled or if you are lacking confidence.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Research
Researching a life story can be divided into four parts: personal information, background information, photos and illustrations, and the family tree.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Organisation
Unless you are going to write a life story consisting of nothing but anecdotes in no particular order you will need to organise all the material you have collected so that the right information gets put in the right chapter.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Structure your story
There are several different ways to structure a life story. It can be a full story from birth to the present time, a defined period such starting a new life abroad, or based on topics such as major family events.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Getting help
If you have reached the writer’s equivalent of the doldrums where you can’t find the enthusiasm to go on, or you have come up against the dreaded ‘writers block’ where the words won’t come then it is time to get some help.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Make it interesting
Most life stories will be interesting to family and friends, but if you want to attract a wider readership you will need to add readability.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Writing about others
The skills you have acquired writing your own life story can be used to help others write theirs. One good way is to interview them using a list of suitable questions.
Write Your Life Story And Get It Published: Get your story published
Improve your chances of success with traditional publishers by only submitting to those which publish life stories and take unsolicited manuscripts. Check their website or contact them to find out what they require in a submission and who you should send it to. Few want a full manuscript, so only send a synopsis, one or two chapters and a covering letter.
© Hodder Education 2010
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