A clear, supportive and comprehensive guide to writing a play - based on the author's long-running playwriting masterclasses, as ...
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A clear, supportive and comprehensive guide to writing a play - based on the author's long-running playwriting masterclasses, as taught at the UK's National Theatre.
This book leads you through everything you need to know, including:
-The theatrical tools and techniques you can use to bring your play to life on the stage (and how these differ from writing for film and TV) -Discovering and trusting your writing process, with a range of approaches for developing your initial idea into a completed script -Understanding your characters, including their goals and central conflicts, and using emotional logic to connect them to your story -Finding the dramatic structure and theatrical setting that best suits your play -The key elements of constructing a great scene, including how to invoke tension, deepen characterisation and create effective transitions -Writing engaging, active dialogue by finding each character's voice, balancing exposition with subtext, and rooting what a character says in their specific context
Throughout, you'll find examples from classical and modern plays, plus insights from other contemporary playwrights into their own writing journeys. Each chapter provides a set of exercises to help you practise what you've learnt.
There's also advice on what to do once you've finished your script - including redrafting, receiving feedback and taking notes - and how to navigate your play's progress towards production.
Whether you're an emerging playwright or embarking on your first-ever play, The Playwright's Journey will help you develop your creativity, strengthen your connection to your material, and transform your idea into a fully formed play that feels alive on the page - and the stage.
'A very, very smart book which left me nodding in sage agreement with every chapter... [Lays] bare the most complex, convoluted ideas with exquisite lucidity, wit and empathy... A substantial and rare aesthetic achievement which every aspiring playwright, producer and director should read and respect' Joe Penhall
'Kind, good, sane and useable advice, brilliantly written' Blanche McIntyre
Jemma Kennedy is a playwright and screenwriter. Her work has been seen internationally, including at Hampstead Theatre and the National Theatre, London, where she has been both playwright-in-residence and teacher of playwriting.
Her plays include Second Person Narrative for Tonic Theatre's Platform initiative; The Gift, part of the Hoard Festival for the New Vic Theatre; The Summer Book and The Prince and the Pauper for the Unicorn Theatre; The Grand Irrationality for the Lost Theatre Studio (Los Angeles) and Don't Feed the Animals for National Theatre Connections 2013.
She was Pearson Playwright at the National Theatre in 2010 and part of the inaugural Soho 6 writing scheme with Soho Theatre Company in 2012.
Her novel Skywalking was published by Penguin/Viking in 2002.
She has acted as a writing mentor and judge for the National Theatre's New Views playwriting course and competition for young writers, and teaches playwriting at the National Theatre's Clore Learning Centre. She has also mentored writers for the Koestler Trust. She is the author of The Playwright's Journey: From First Spark to First Night (Nick Hern Books, 2022).