Christopher William Hill is an award-winning playwright and radio dramatist. He was writer-in-residence at Plymouth Theatre Royal and tutors regularly for the Arvon Foundation. His latest book, Playwriting: From Page to Stage, is published at the end of August.
Here, Christopher shares his top five tips for any budding playwrights…
1. If you sit around twiddling your thumbs hoping for divine inspiration to strike you may well be waiting for the rest of your life without once putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). As a wise man once said – if you can’t get it right, get it written.
2. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can start today. Even half an hour’s solid writing can produce immediate results. If you write just 200 words of your play in thirty minutes, that’s 2,000 words in ten days, or 20,000 words in a hundred days (roughly equivalent to a full length play). See how quickly it all adds up?
3. If you find it brain-crushingly scary to start with Act One, Scene One – find another way. Start in the middle of the play if you want, or even at the end. So long as you end up with a complete play it doesn’t matter how you go about constructing it.
4. Without conflict there is no drama, so make the lives of your characters as difficult as you can – thwart their aims and ambitions at every turn. There’s no reason why your play can’t have a happy ending – but it should be a hell of a ride getting there!
5. Don’t let anybody bully you into thinking there’s a right way or a wrong way to write your play – you have to find the way that’s best for you.