Getting started is the hardest part of writing a play. Here are some tips to build the foundation of your script so you can get that important first draft onto paper.
Plan! Start with an idea you’ve always wanted to explore/have questions about.
Build a strong concept through reading about your idea, interviewing people, talking to a mentor about it.
Do more research based on the different perspectives you have encountered in your planning, read plays that speak to your concept.
Identify themes that could feature in the story you want to tell.
Identify characters stating the reason for their existence in the story (motivations and objectives).
Draw up character biographies adding more layers to your characters (these layers could differ depending on the style of writing).
Identify actions and events that will set up conflicts of actions and conflicting objectives and motivations between characters (these actions will turn into your scenes). Use VERBS!
Identify possible scenes to be explored where the actions and conflicts identified above can be further developed.
Identify a structure of scenes. Remember you need the following basics: introduction/exposition; motoric moment/beginning of action; development of crises/rising action; climax/turning point; denouement/resolution.
Write the first draft based on the structure of #9.
Read it over twice and make alterations if necessary. Add the missing links and do more research if there are big gaps. It may be of value to find a peer to proof read your script once you are satisfied with the draft. If money is tight, ask a friend to read and gauge their understanding – after all they are the ones who will eventually watch your work. If neither of the above are possible options, put the play down for a week and then pick it up and proof read it yourself.
Once you are satisfied with the notes you’ve received or made, you can finally pen your first final draft and look for a director/producer to stage the work or a publisher to work towards your manuscript.
Suggestions welcome. Let’s write better plays!