Watching a play can rekindle your emotions, sadness, anger, and even happiness. Furthermore, you get more creative when writing a play compared to when you would write a screenplay.
However, when writing a play script, it should have the dialogue, settings, and actions during the play. The play script highlights who does or says what and how, plus it describes the stage settings such as props, lighting, and backdrops.
Before getting to the step-by-step guide, it’s essential to know the play’s right formatting and the story elements to be included. Here are the steps to write a play script:
Step 1: Get Inspiration
Begin by watching and reading numerous plays from many sources. As you carry out your research, concentrate on what different playwrights are doing as well. Once you spot any useful dialogue that you always enjoy or any vital stage directions, be sure to emulate them on your play script.
If you want to come up with a nice play script, read first, then watch a play’s live performance.
Step 2: Select A Theme
Finding the right theme for the play will help you develop a good play that your audiences can understand and connect. To come up with a nice theme, consider the following:
The genre is the tone, style, and subject matter of the play, be it that insightful, sad, and serious, or funny. Also, check on the character growth; how the characters grow during the play.
Furthermore, check on the key takeaways; in other words, the lessons and morals that your audience will get when the play ends.
Step 3: Develop A Plot
The plot of the play is the activities that take place and control the whole story. You should decide whether you need the play to be plot-driven. In other words, the story pushes the main characters from one scene to the other. You can also decide if you want the play character-focused, where the actions of the characters direct the story.
You can use the two, but most playwrights develop a plot that points to character growth. However, when coming up with a plot on the play script, focus on these key elements:
- The Settings: this is where the play will take place. Check on how the setting will impact each character and scene. Ensure you limit the number of settings. This improves the productivity of the play and keeps it grounded.
- Characters: choose the main character of the play and include them in the play script. Please make sure you develop the main character into a believable person, then add other supporting characters that challenge or support them.
- Time: time is an essential component during the play, and you must understand how to convey this to your audience. Use either dialogue, costume, or narration.
- The story: the narration of the play focuses mainly on the characters’ emotions and reactions that surround the activities of the plot.
- Narrative arc: Most plays follow the exposition structure, resolution, and rising action.
- Exposition: Early when writing the play script, make sure you establish the where, when, who, what, and why of the plot. When the play has a central conflict, present it during this time.
- Rising action: as the play continues, some challenges or obstacles may begin unfolding. This may go further until you get to the climax of the play.
- Resolution: immediately after the climax, the play’s tension lessens. At this time, your characters may learn to live with or overcome conflicts. Even though the final part is tragic, make sure you fix a lesson or a key takeaway.
Step 4: Include A Structure
Plays are generally made of different acts. In every show, there are various scenes. Therefore, when writing a play script, you must decide on the type of structure you need. Being a new playwright, start with a simple design like a one-act play that runs throughout the play without an intermission.
You can also include a two-act play that uses a two-act structure and an intermission between. Furthermore, you can fix the three-act play on the script. When you choose to use this structure, you’ll need a break between the scene. The three-act play is longer due to its extra breaks plus the length of the acts.
In most three-play acts, the exposition first part. The rising action is the second part, while play resolution is the third act.
Step 5: Come Up with an Outline
When writing the whole play from the start, make a general play outline and include the following things on the play:
- The narrative arc
- General stage actions
- When the characters appear
Step 6: Write Using an Outline
Immediately you have a nice play outline; now begin writing the play script. Make the outline with the actual script in a smart way to be organized. When writing the summary, check on the technical elements that include props, lighting, costume changes, and the settings.
Additionally, look at the dialogue, being one of the main components that guide the play. Check the kind of conversation that each character has and how dialogue develops who they are in the play.
Include actions within the script. Don’t forget to note what each player is doing in the play. Make this clear to ensure the actors develop a proper understanding of everything they need to do.
Step 7: Rewrite and Edit
Once you finish writing the first draft, now go through the whole play script, then begin making all the necessary adjustments. For example, if you feel like the dialogue is a bit flatter, make sure you adjust it and write in a way that looks quite natural.
Think of how people speak in real life situation then make the play’s characters feel emotional and human. Things like tangents and interruptions can make the play sound a bit realistic. Give someone else to read your play script and check whether It makes sense.
Request them to note every confusing element on the play script and areas that need adjustments.