Our list of some of the best Playwriting books & series in recent years. Get inspired by one or more of the following books.
- The 90-Day Play: The Process and Principles of Playwriting (2017)
- The Art and Craft of Playwriting (2000)
- The Playwright’s Guidebook: An Insightful Primer on the Art of Dramatic Writing (2002)
- Playwriting: Structure, Character, How and What to Write (2019)
- Playwrights Teach Playwriting (Career Development Series) (2006)
- Playwriting For Dummies (2011)
- Teaching Playwriting: The Essential Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Fostering Creativity in Your Classroom (2017)
- Playwriting Seminars 2.0: A Handbook on the Art and Craft of Dramatic Writing with an Introduction to Screenwriting (2012)
- 21st Century Playwriting, A Manual of Contemporary Techniques (2019)
- Playwriting 101: A Quick Guide on Writing and Producing Your First Play Step by Step From A to Z (2018)
- Playwriting in Process: Thinking and Working Theatrically, 2nd Edition (2009)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Playwrights Teach Playwriting, edited by Joan Herrington and Crystal Brian, is a collection unique in the realm of “how-to” playwriting books.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Library 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.
Playwriting: Structure, Character, How and What to Write
Author(s): Jeffreys, Stephen
ID: 2509258, Publisher: Nick Hern Books, Year: 2019, Size: 1 Mb, Format: mobi
Modern American Drama: Playwriting 2000-2009: Voices, Documents, New Interpretations
Author(s): Julia Listengarten
ID: 2814754, Publisher: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, Year: 2019, Size: 3 Mb, Format: pdf
Modern American Drama: Playwriting in the 1930s: Voices, Documents, New Interpretations
Author(s): Anne Fletcher
ID: 2814742, Publisher: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Format: 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.