The Dramatic Writer's Companion: Tools to Develop Characters, Cause Scenes, and Build Stories

Paperback | April 15, 2009

byWill Dunne

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Moss Hart once said that you never really learn how to write a play; you only learn how to write this play. Crafted with that adage in mind, The Dramatic Writer’s Companion is designed to help writers explore their own ideas in order to develop the script in front of them. No ordinary guide to plotting, this handbook starts with the principle that character is key. “The character is not something added to the scene or to the story,” writes author Will Dunne. “Rather, the character is the scene. The character is the story.”

Having spent decades working with dramatists to refine and expand their existing plays and screenplays, Dunne effortlessly blends condensed dramatic theory with specific action steps—over sixty workshop-tested exercises that can be adapted to virtually any individual writing process and dramatic script. Dunne’s in-depth method is both instinctual and intellectual, allowing writers to discover new actions for their characters and new directions for their stories.

Dunne’s own experience is a crucial element of this guide. His plays have been selected by the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center for three U.S. National Playwrights Conferences and have earned numerous honors, including a Charles MacArthur Fellowship, four Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, and two Drama-Logue Playwriting Awards. Thousands of individuals have already benefited from his workshops, and The Dramatic Writer’s Companion promises to bring his remarkable creative method to an even wider audience.

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From the Publisher

Moss Hart once said that you never really learn how to write a play; you only learn how to write this play. Crafted with that adage in mind, The Dramatic Writer’s Companion is designed to help writers explore their own ideas in order to develop the script in front of them. No ordinary guide to plotting, this handbook starts with the pr...

Will Dunne is currently a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where he develops plays and teaches workshops. He also has led over fifteen hundred workshops through his San Francisco program, served as a dramaturg at the O’Neill, and twice attended the Australian National Playwrights Conference as guest instructor. His plays, whi...

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Kobo ebook|Apr 8 2016

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:April 15, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226172546

ISBN - 13:9780226172545

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

About This Guide

Exercises at a Glance

Developing Your Character

            Stage 1: Fleshing Out the Bones

            Stage 2: Getting to Know the Character Better

            Stage 3: Understanding Who the Character Really Is

Causing a Scene

            Stage 1: Making Things Happen

            Stage 2: Refining the Action

            Stage 3: Refining the Dialogue

Building Your Story

            Stage 1: Triggering the Chain of Events

            Stage 2: Developing the Throughline

            Stage 3: Seeing the Big Picture

Fixing Common Script Problems

Glossary

Acknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

“In his new handbook for writers Dunne adheres to the idea that character development is essential to telling a story. . . . Dunne employs his wealth of experience as the current resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, a Charles MacArthur Fellowship honoree, a former O’Neill Theatre Center dramaturg and an award-winning author of such plays as How I Became an Interesting Person, Love and Drowning, and Hotel Desperado to give writers a blueprint on how to examine their ideas in depth in order to develop their plays and screenplays.”