Playwriting

Playwriting Exercise: Fun With Words Introduction

Playwriting Exercise: Fun With Words
Written by Lindsay Price

Here’s the deal. There are many words out there that mean a phrase, their definition is practically a sentence. I love those words, it’s so cool to take one word and have it mean so much. For example:

Aposiopesis: a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence, as if from inability or unwillingness to proceed.

That is a mouthful! And a word I’ve never heard of, let alone ever heard it used in a sentence. There’s a little more about the word on dictionary.com: “A deliberate failure to complete a sentence…indicates rage or exasperation….”

That gets me thinking. I can see a character in that word. I can see a conversation in that word. I hope you’re starting to see the possibilities in turning words that mean so much into a playwriting exercise.

We’re going to take a word that has a jam-packed meaning and use it as the jumping off point for a two person, one location scene. But we’re going to take it one step further and use words from other languages, like this one:

Pana Po’o (Hawaiian) – the act of scratching your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.

So not only do you have a word that means a mouthful, but we’re using words that at first glance you have no idea what they mean.

Let’s start with Aposiopesis – that word is really speaking to me, so let’s make it the focus of this week’s exercise.

Playwriting Exercise
  • The word Aposiopesis means to suddenly and deliberately fail to complete a sentence. To break off mid-sentence.
  • Write a scene between a husband and wife that takes place in the kitchen at 9am.
  • The husband reveals to the wife. The wife reacts by not being able to complete a sentence. All her dialogue must break off mid-sentence.
  • Make this a comedy.
Click here to download a PDF version of this exercise.
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About the author

Lindsay Price