How to Write a Play

Writing for the stage is different than writing for a film script. While many of the storytelling aspects are the same, there are differences important to note. In Script Magazine’s How to Write a Play section, you’ll find tips on theme, premise, plot, outlining, formatting a stage play, writing dialogue, scenes and the differences between successful one-act or multi-acts plays.

adaptation: faithful or original?

Script Gods Must Die: Adaptation – Faithful Or Original?

Dan Sutherland, a Chicago playwright pal of mine, once took a swipe at Shakespeare, concocting his “Biker Macbeth” from the deepest recesses of a pickled imagination. It was years ago and I’ve blocked out his actual reboot. I do remember one scene where Macbeth in black biker gear rolls a black bowling ball across...

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The Wide Margin: Summertime Challenge

With June now safely behind us, the 2013-2014 school year is officially over.  It’s summertime! When I was younger that meant 75 days of uninterrupted fun.  That’s just how we roll in the United States: you are either in-school learnin’ or you are out-of-school playin’. We carry those impressions into adulthood. If you want...

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The Wide Margin: My First Writing Course (A Fairy Story)

Do you remember your first writing course?  I do.  High school.  Junior year.  Part of Mr. K’s honors British Literature class.  Mr. K worked hard at his reputation of being the most no-nonsense, scariest teacher that the good little middle class boys and girls of my sleepy, no-movie-theater town could imagine.  Even the honors Trigonometry...

Adaptation- Never Come Morning

Script Gods Must Die: Adaptation, Never Come Morning

Some time ago I worked on a project, Never Come Morning, Nelson Algren’s second novel about Polish youths gangs in 1940’s Chicago. Some history: I adapted the book into a play. This had a five-month run with Prop Theater, Chicago. It won awards. Never Come Morning was the complete package. World—story—characters, all were intact....

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The Wide Margin: Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!

So, it turns out that no one knows exactly what day William Shakespeare was born.  We know it was near the end of April 1564.  Scholars believe he was born on the 23rd since he was baptized on the 26th.  But since 1582 lost 10 days when we adopted our present Gregorian calendar, there’s...

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Script Gods Must Die: The Playwright as Screenwriter

“I was so mad at my agent. I had polished and polished and polished… and he referred to it as a draft. I wrote him a bitter letter: ‘How can you call this a draft? I don’t do drafts.”–Cynthia Ozick “Movie makers buy plays because it makes them feel smart. Acquiring a play that...

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Script Gods Must Die: On Rejection

“I am in the smallest room of my house. Your review is before me. Soon it will be behind me.”—Max Reger Paraphrasing here, when Samuel Beckett wrote of the ugliest word in the English language: “C-r-i-t-i-c”. Charles Bukowski once wrote me about this subject. I was complaining about a bad review. He told me:...

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The Wide Margin: (Parenthetically Speaking…)

I learned more about the craft of screenwriting by studying acting than from reading books on screenwriting. There.  I said it. Actors, after all, are my real audience.  Without them, I might as well write a novel.  The moment I decide I’m going to write for performance, I have committed to communicate everything – my...