ERIC Number: ED235538
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Aug-9
Reference Count: N/A
Five Finger Exercises for the Novice Playwright.
Cornish, Roger N.
After presenting a series of assumptions about the teaching of playwriting (for example, that students can be taught the craft, if not the art, of playwriting; students must be kept to a strict deadline if they are to develop into disciplined writers; and playwriting should never be discussed outside the context of production possibilities), this article describes several inclass writing assignments designed to develop creativity as well as plotting, beat work (a "beat" is the minimal script unit as far as structure and planning are concerned), and dialogue expertise. It suggests that young writers' inventiveness can be increased by having them write down in 90 seconds all the uses they can think of for a common object such as a book end. To develop skill in transforming a static opening situation into a suspenseful drama, the article recommends having students list possible events propelling a main character into conflict. The article suggests that students can gain expertise in beat work (introducing, developing and resolving a conflict, for example) by working a given piece of dialogue into an episode with a dramatic climax and resolution. All the exercises described help students move from the abstraction of the teacher's lecture to practice and skill development. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A