How to Become a Playwright

A playwright is typically a person who writes dramas that are to be performed in front of a live audience. If you are interested in becoming a playwright and crafting stage dramas in the future, here are a few steps to help you get started.


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    Read through two or three scripts in the same genre as you intend to write. That is a good way to gain a plethora of knowledge about format and style. Once you have an idea of how to format it, you're ready to begin. A good place to start would be to write what you know. Take a story from your life, or someone you know. That will help you develop your characters more.
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    Like with any story, start with an outline. This will help to keep you on track. Remember that a typical play is right around 60 pages and mostly all dialogue. Don't concern yourself with thoughts too much, your entire story must be told through your characters' discussion.
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    As the writer, you will always know exactly what you are trying to say and how very funny or sad certain parts are, but this is not always the case with an audience. So, sit with family, friends or both and do a read through. You can gain valuable feedback on what is understood and what is missed. Take that feedback and use it.
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    Submit the script to a theater if you have good contacts. If you don't, think about attending a local open mic night. Take a scene or a good long monologue and perform it. Take business cards with you and hand them out. You can scope out local talent and get an idea of any people who would be good as certain characters. If you have a group of friends that can act, assemble a cast yourself and perform your play. There are usually exhibitions/contests where new artists and writers are featured.


  • Start small: write a ten minute play or a One Act before you attempt a full-length. There are also festivals and competitions nationwide that you may submit your script to.
  • A typical page of a script will account for no more than two minutes when performed.
  • Consider the time period and location that you are writing about and research appropriately. The time setting of a play will determine not only the costumes, set, and props, but also linguistics. For instance, a teenager in 1965 would talk and dress in a completely different manner than a teenager from 2008. As for location -- an example would be that those in Texas behave in a different manner from those in Vermont.
  • If you are turned down initially, don't throw up your hands and quit. Find out why. It could be the tastes of that particular person, it could be a format, length, or believability issue. It could also be that particular theater's ability to put on a piece. (Not every theater has the capabilities to put on Noises Off!)
  • Stage direction is important. The director gets major clues about the characters' personalities through the movement and spacial features you specify.
  • Provide an idea of what the stage setting should be. Include a list of props.
  • Remember that reality and believability are two different things.
  • Take your time! The very moment you begin to struggle with what you are writing, stop.


  • Never get too carried away, always stick to your outline and remember to stay around 60 pages!

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Categories: Theater