Our list of some of the best Playwriting books & series in recent years. Get inspired by one or more of the following books.
Linda Walsh Jenkins developed the ideas and guidance in this practical book by teaching playwriting as well as working with playwrights, directors and productions of new plays for several decades. Through 90 daily lessons and hundreds of writing exercises, illustrated with examples from dramatic literature, she helps you: ~ * Explore the richness of your dramatic world and its themes * Discover multiple facets of your dramatic characters * Create and sustain an active throughline * Find a balance between planning ahead and writing freely * Learn techniques for composing your unique play * Become confident with…
2. The Art and Craft of Playwriting (2000)
Jeffrey Hatcher knows the nuts and bolts of writing for the theater. Here, he shares his views on it all–from building tension and plotting a scene, right down to moving a character from one side of the stage to the other. From crafting an intriguing beginning to delivering a satisfying ending.In Hatcher’s one-on-one discussions with acclaimed American playwrights Lee Blessing, Marsha Norman and Jose Rivera, you’ll find a wealth of practical advice, tricks of the trade and insight that will help you in your own creative efforts….
During the ten years that Stuart Spencer has taught playwriting, he has struggled to find an effective playwriting handbook for his courses. Although most of the currently popular handbooks have good ideas in them, they all suffer from the same problems: they’re poorly organized; are composed mostly of quirky, idiosyncratic advice on how specific playwrights have gone about writing their own work; and are full of abstract theorizing on the nature of art. As a result, they fail to offer any concrete information on how to construct a well-written play or any useful guidelines and exercises. Moreover, few of these books…
For over two decades, Stephen Jeffreys’ remarkable series of workshops—conducted at the Royal Court Theatre, London—attracted writers from all over the world and shaped the ideas of many of today’s leading playwrights and theatre-makers. Now, with this inspiring, highly practical book, you too can learn from these acclaimed Masterclasses. Playwriting reveals the various invisible frameworks and mechanisms that are at the heart of each and every successful play. Drawing on a huge range of sources, it deconstructs…
Playwrights Teach Playwriting, edited by Joan Herrington and Crystal Brian, is a collection unique in the realm of “how-to” playwriting books. These essays by such well-known playwrights as Chris Durang, Marsha Norman, Tina Howe, Tony Kushner, David Henry Hwang, Marie Irene Fornes, José Rivera, Romulus Linney, Mac Wellman, Donald Margulies explore the pedagogy of playwriting, offering fascinating and valuable insights into the way established playwrights communicate their own creative methods to young writers. Each of the playwrights included in the…
6. Playwriting For Dummies (2011)
Getting a play written and produced is a daunting process. From crystallizing story ideas, formatting the script, understanding the roles of the director stagecraft people, to marketing and financing your project, and incorporating professional insights on writing, there are plenty of ins and outs that every aspiring playwright needs to know. But where can you turn for guidance? Playwriting For Dummies helps any writer at any stage of the process hone their craft and create the most dramatic and effective pieces. If you’re an aspiring playwright looking to begin…
7. Teaching Playwriting: The Essential Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Fostering Creativity in Your Classroom (2017)
Have you ever been fascinated by the idea of writing a play with your students, but never knew where to start? Do you ever feel stuck for new ideas on how to get more from your students when it comes to creative writing? How to get them to dig deeper to move beyond two-dimensional characters and simple stories? Introducing Teaching Playwriting: The Essential Handbook, a 108-page Book that will completely transform how you explore creative writing in the classroom. This book not only covers the basic concepts of playwriting – but it also provides in-depth step-by-step curriculum with three different teaching tracks on how to…
8. Playwriting Seminars 2.0: A Handbook on the Art and Craft of Dramatic Writing with an Introduction to Screenwriting (2012)
Playwriting Seminars is “a treasure-trove of information, philosophy, and inspiration” (Theatre Journal), “an absolutely essential guide to all aspects of playwriting and a valuable whitewater raft trip down the rapids of Hollywood screenwriting” (Magellan), and “a terrific learning environment for writers” (WebCrawler Select). It was also a recommended resource for playwrights at New Dramatists (NYC). The Handbook’s initial concepts came from the author’s work with Lucasfilm and the BBC. It was originally developed for playwrights and screenwriters, but has…
This book is the most detailed analysis of contemporary playwriting techniques ever published. A decade in the making, "21st Century Playwriting" examines the contemporary theatre scene and the skills and writing techniques needed to succeed as a modern playwright. No other book goes into such depth and detail on areas like dramatic structure, story-shaping, characterization and the contemporary language techniques used in modern playwriting. Blending theatre tradition and radical aesthetic, "21st Century Playwriting" is perfect for both new playwrights and more experienced writers wishing to refresh and modernize their…
10. Playwriting 101: A Quick Guide on Writing and Producing Your First Play Step by Step From A to Z (2018)
To write for the theatre you need to know about theatre. Ideas are easy to come by. Examine your background, interest, and beliefs. Examine the world around you. Exercises can help you come up with ideas. Choose the audience you want to reach and write to that audience. To learn to write dialogue listen to and record everyday conversations. Dialogue should sound like ordinary conversations but has more direction.Know as much as you can about your central characters. Do a character analysis. Choose the character traits to emphasize. A character should come across as both typical and individual. Most plays have a plot, which involves…
Playwriting in Process: Thinking and Working Theatrically is written to encourage new and experienced playwrights to build techniques for a greater range of creative expression in writing for the stage. The book uses exercises to guide playwrights towards thinking and working theatrically. The exercises help playwrights start or revise their work by providing alternate ways of thinking about their subject and their processes. New to the second edition: new exercises, a general updating such as the use of the internet, a new chapter for teachers and playwriting group leaders on using this book in class, and end-of-chapter “Call…
Best Playwriting Books Worth Your Attention
We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some playwriting books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.
American Playwriting and the Anti-Political Prejudice: Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Perspectives
Author(s): Nelson Pressley
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US, Year: 2014, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
Playwriting: A Practical Guide
Author(s): Noel Greig
Publisher: , Year: 2005, Size: 719 Kb, Download: pdf
Playwriting: The Structure of Action, Revised and Expanded Edition
Author(s): Prof. Sam Smiley
Publisher: Yale University Press, Year: 2005, Size: 832 Kb, Download: pdf
Rage And Reason: Women Playwrights on Playwriting
Author(s): Heidi Stephenson
Publisher: Methuen Drama, Year: 1997, Size: 10 Mb, Download: pdf
Please note that this booklist is not final. Some books are truly hot items according to Washington Post, others are drafted by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.