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Playwriting - Structure, Character, How and What to Write


Structure, Character, How and What to Write

By Stephen Jeffreys
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781848427907, 296 pages, April 2019


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 them into their constituent parts, and offers illuminating insights into:

  • Structure: an in-depth exploration of the fundamental elements of drama, enabling you to choose instinctively the most effective structure for your play.
  • Character: advice on how to generate and write credible characters by exploring their three essential dimensions: story, breadth, and depth.
  • How to Write: techniques for writing great dialogue, dynamic scenes, and compelling subtext, including how to improve your writing by approaching it from unfamiliar directions.
  • What to Write: how to adopt different approaches to finding your material and an exploration of the fundamental "Nine Stories," plus how to evaluate the potential of your ideas.

Written by a true master of the craft, this authoritative guide will provide playwrights at every level of experience with a rich array of tools to apply to their own work.

This edition, edited by Maeve McKeown, includes a Foreword by April De Angelis.


"One of the UK's most respected teachers of writing for stage and screen… this book will undoubtedly benefit playwriting hopefuls for generations, with its plain speaking, common sense and accessibility. "

- The Stage

"An absolute treat, no matter where you consider yourself to be as a writer… a book to return to time and time again, to use as inspiration, to cherish and to gift to other lovers of plays. "


"A gripping page-turner that will prove the perfect manual for anyone wishing to improve their playwriting skills… this highly readable and very entertaining book will enhance the enjoyment of general readers whenever they visit the theatre or even read playscripts at home. However, its target audience will be aspiring playwrights, who will learn a vast amount. "

- British Theatre Guide

"A masterfully adept and complete guide to not only finding what you want to write about, but also how to do it… each page has at least one piece of invaluable advice that can be taken away and built on. .. a love letter to theatre and the craft of writing for the stage. "

- Broadway World