Dramaquill's All Things Writing

June 10, 2013

Thanks for the Inspiration, Tony Awards

Last night I watched the 2013 Tony Awards and was more inspired than ever before by the talent displayed in the three hour broadcast. I’ve always been a sucker for the musicals and live theatre. It doesn’t surprise me that celebrity performers feel something completely different after their first role in a live production.

As I watched all the fabulous musical numbers, appreciating everything that goes into making them so spectacular, I immediately began thinking about all the drama classes I will be offering at my studio in the fall and the infinite number of possibilities for scripts.

As any book author will tell you, read a lot of books if you want to write books. Well I think the same applies to playwrights. Watch live theatre and you’ll be inspired to create live theatre.

So today I’ve drafted out a plan for characters and plot for a full length play script and I’ve explored some ideas for a couple of one acts as well.

Writers have to spend time alone to get the words down on paper but nothing stimulates creativity more than being around the creativity of others.

Thanks for the inspiration, Tony Awards.

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November 9, 2012

Green Room Scripts and Selling Your Plays

Yesterday I got an email from Green Room Scripts. I hadn’t heard of their site but their email intrigued me so I checked it out.

They publish playscripts that are very affordable for community groups and drama companies who just don’t have the money to mount productions with big royalty fees. From what I saw on the site, most shows have a royalty of $20.00/performance. As a drama teacher, I found their e-script plan very appealing.

They also allow authors of plays to self-publish with them. (I have not worked with them so please check out all their terms and conditions carefully if you decide to submit your plays).

The site says that they are a place “where people can publish, buy or sell content related to the arts and performing arts.”

Check them out and see if they have something to offer that appeals to you and your needs.

Another option for getting your plays into the hands of directors and performers is to offer scripts on your website – you DO have a website, right?
I have sold scripts to summer programs and small drama groups. They are easy to print up and bind using cardstock for title page and back page. Be creative making your own script copies.

Read published scripts for disclaimer sheets and decide which terms and conditions you wish to apply to your scripts.

Now…back to Nano.

May 5, 2008

Writing plays for kids

One of the perks of owning my own performing arts studio is getting to write original playscripts for our acting classes. 

With all the great plays out there you may be asking yourself, “Why go to all that work?”

I admit that I have utilized many fine resources as fodder for our acting kids.  There are tons of books out there with monologues, scenes, small playlets, one acts, full lengths, musicals, etc. etc. etc. 

But the trouble with using most of these for classwork is that it’s tough to find a play with exactly the right amount of girl/boy roles and numbers of performers registered in every class.  Our mandate has always been to let each child create a role, eliminating anyone from being a townsperson or one of the chorus.

Now I’m sure if we could afford to buy up every available script for all of our different age ranges, we could find something appropriate every semester.  But, with limited funds for such a vast library and ever changing class sizes, the writer in me decided to venture into the world of playwriting.

After all, when I was a child, I spent many a summer day creating scenerios to play with my friends and took it upon myself to cast parts, improvise lines, direct everyone and even act in some scenes myself.  So, somewhere along the road it was inevitable that I would desire to try my hand at playwriting.

The response to these original scripts has been fantastic and the children delight in giving input into subject matter and even plot features.  By writing the parts after meeting the individuals, I’m introduced to some great personality traits that I can use to develop my characters.

And the best perk of all is that I’ve managed to sell some of my playscripts to drama clubs, drama departments and children’s theatres.

The biggest challenge though is the time frame in which I have to produce the scripts.  The final registration is the day before the class begins, then I have exactly two weeks to work with the kids, get my ideas and draft a play that they will enjoy.  Now, multiply this by three different age levels having three different semesters/school year and I’m cranking out nine original playscripts between September and June.  So even in this challenge comes a perk:  I’m great with deadlines.

So far, my pirate musical, my hillbilly plays and my murder mystery have been the most popular but with each new semester and each new set of ideas, who knows what I’ll come up with next.

 

November 9, 2007

Another way to get unstuck

Working on a full length novel can seem like a daunting project, especially when the creativity train stalls on the track mid point.  If you’re like me, it’s time to get away from the computer (or notebook, which I still prefer because when I write by hand my brain and my handwriting speed are usually about the same) and get some perspective.

Sometimes I walk away to get away from the story, the characters and the plot.  But avoidance has never been my favorite tactic when stuck on any task. 

Because I have a background in theatre and music, I have enjoyed performing in numerous plays and musicals and find that the most fun for me, even when singing a song, is asking myself “who is this character”?  What’s she like?  Why is she saying this?  How does she feel at the moment?

So I tried it with my Nanowrimo book and guess what?  Charlotte, my main character, had lots to say to me and through me.  Yesterday 3000 words poured out because I put myself in her shoes.  It wasn’t something I’d call fun, because Charlotte’s character faces challenges and events that are somewhat unnerving.  But I found my connection to her – the connection that made me want to go on.

In my suspense thriller novel that I’m revising, I had to figure out my villain.  My mentor, Marilyn Henderson http://www.mysterymentor.com/ said that my villain needed to be more nasty.

Now, because I’m not a stalker, I’m not crazy (at least I don’t think so) and I’m not a man, writing him was already presenting its share of challenges.  But back to my first way to get unstuck:  WHAT IF?

What if I was this person?  What would motivate me to act and what would the result be?  So, not one to shy away from a challenge, I jumped into his mind, body and soul with both feet.  I don’t know if I should be happy or worried telling you that he is now far scarier than ever before and a whole new, demented side of his personality has shown up. 

But shaking off the characters can be a difficult thing to do.  Sometimes my heroine gets inside my head and she won’t leave me alone until I address something in the book.  I’m a little better keeping my villain at bay until I’m ready for him, but once I get inside either of them, new plot twists and ideas seem to run rampant at times.

So even if you don’t have a theatrical background, try living in the shoes of one of your characters for 24 hours and see where it takes your writing.  It may surprise you.

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