Drama Queens

And kings — unite! One of the many things I love about writing this blog is the adventure it takes me on. Whether it’s discovering a new author or chasing down a lead in cyberspace, I’m always on the lookout for fresh ideas and new ways to think about writing in all its fascinating forms. I’ve turned up a mini-course on dramatic writing by playwright David Mamet that offers some juicy tips for you.

Whatever project you’re working on — a short story, novel, or memoir or even poetry — the more drama you build into it, the more intensely emotional and inevitable it will be. With this in mind, here are a few first-class pointers from masterful Mamet on ratchetting up the dramatic IQ of your writing:

“Question: what is drama? Drama, again, is the quest of the hero to overcome those things which prevent him from achieving a specific, acute goal….”

“Every scene must be dramatic. That means: the main character must have a simple, straightforward, pressing need which impels him or her to show up in the scene.”

“This need is why they came. It is what the scene is about. Their attempt to get this need met will lead, at the end of the scene, to failure — this is how the scene is over. It, this failure, will, then, of necessity, propel us into the next scene.”

“All these attempts, taken together, will, over the course of the episode, constitute the plot.”

“Any scene, thus, which does not both advance the plot, and standalone (that is, dramatically, by itself, on its own merits) is either superfluous, or incorrectly written….”

“How does one strike the balance between withholding and vouchsafing information? That is the essential task of the dramatist….”

“Start, every time, with this inviolable rule: the scene must be dramatic. It must start because the hero has a problem, and it must culminate with the hero finding him or herself either thwarted or educated that another way exists.”

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Drama Queens

  1. Mike says:

    This is a really helpful tip, Karin. Thanks. Mike

  2. bet365 says:

    hello! This was a really terrific topic!
    I come from Milan, I was lucky to discover your blog in yahoo
    Also I learn a lot on your website really thanks very much i will come every day

    • Hello!

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing them. I am thrilled that you are checking in from Milan — and that my blog is going global! I hope you’ll keep reading for more ideas and inspiration. Thanks for inspiring me.

      Write on! Karin

Leave a Reply