Keeping It Going
The best way to keep your play going is to simply let your
characters talk things through. As the characters talk and
act, they will reveal things about themselves and the situation
they are in. Your job becomes mainly one of reacting to what
each character says and does. Even though you are the one
putting words into their mouths, it is more like reacting
than writing. Each line or action leads naturally to the
For each action, there is a reaction.
Finishing It Off
Your play will come to an end when a final solution is found to the main problem
and each of the complications. Finding a good resolution may be your greatest
challenge as a playwright. If you choose a resolution which is too obvious
or predictable or one which is too far out of line, your audience will be
disappointed. They will be looking forward to an ending which is at least
a little bit surprising or unexpected, but also believable. End with a good
closing line, one which brings it all together and also brings a smile, a
laugh, a groan.
Correcting: Reviewing and Revising
The most important thing to look for in a finished play is whether it works.
Read your play out loud, by yourself at first. Make changes and corrections.
Then get several friends or classmates to read it out loud (each taking a
part) while you listen. Ask for their comments and make changes as necessary.
Finally, correct any spelling or mechanical errors.
Dialogue Writing Tip
Write your dialogue out loud whenever possible and use
simple, everyday language. Keep your characters “alive”
by giving them lines in all scenes in which they are
Often, the minor characters can be given questions
to ask, like “What’s going on?” This gives you a way to explain
something to your audience which is otherwise difficult to work into your
It is often a good idea to build the action in your play around one main character,
the character who is most affected by the main problem or is most responsible
for solving it. The other characters help (or hinder) this character. This
character should have a distinctive personality, one which may change as
the play progresses. This personality will determine how the person talks
(loudly, softly, boastfully), what the person says, and how the other characters
react to him or her.
Stage directions ALWAYS apply to the actor as he faces the audience:
Stage right (R): the actor’s right as he faces
Stage left (L): the actor’s left as he faces the
Downstage (D): nearest the audience
Upstage (U): away from the audience
The acting area on stage is generally
divided into nine locations. The abbreviations are the
same as those for stage
directions: “C” means stage center. The following
diagram indicates stage areas.