Verbatim Theatre Lesson 8: Finishing the play

Task 1

Read through everything that you have written so far. It would help if you could read it with other people so that the different characters can be read by different voices. When you read it make sure that someone reads out the stage directions as well. If possible, try to read out a staged version of it, where you create a stage area and everyone does as the stage directions tell them.

Task 2

You are going to finish writing the play now. You will need to complete the falling action and the resolution / denouement elements of the story. If you can’t remember what these are, then watch these:

Task 3

Remember that this is your first draft and that over time you will want to redraft and redraft the play. It is important that you take some time before you start the editing process. Remember that this is a play and not a performance (yet!). You will need to be quite ruthless on your work and stop thinking like an author and start thinking like an audience member.

When you are ready, try these editing tips.

Avoid throat-clearing.

This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.

Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

When you’re tempted to show off your vocabulary or a fancy turn of phrase, think audience-first and keep your content king. Don’t intrude. Get out of the way of your message.

Omit needless words.

A rule that follows its own advice. This should be the hallmark of every writer.

Avoid too much stage direction.

You don’t need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.

Avoid clichés.

And not just words and phrases. There are also clichéd situations, like starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.