Playwriting Exercises: Just a moment, or 1.5 minutes.


Did you know that the word moment actually used to mean a specific time? It’s so general now – Just a moment….. I’ll be there in a moment…. wait a moment.”  In medieval time a moment meant 90 seconds.  It had a precise measure. Why? I don’t know but what a wonderful thing it is. And how interesting that the meaning has shifted over time.

I love finding words that have change their meanings over the centuries. Dismal, for example, used to mean unlucky but now has a much more gloomy connotation. It’s even more amazing to me when there’s a word from hundreds of years ago that we use in the exact same way today. Or, words that have merely faded out of use because they were no longer, well, useful.

Playwriting Exercises

  • Research and find a word that has changed it’s meaning over time. Write a one page scene where you use the word under it’s original meaning.
  • Write a scene between the original meaning of a word and the current meaning. So for example a scene between two version of the word “dismal.”
  • Decide on a word that we currently use, that will fade away in a 100 years. Write a scene that takes place in the future where characters are bemused and confused by this “archaic” word.
  • Write a scene that centres around a word trying to up it’s usage so that it doesn’t fall out of favour.
  • Write a scene in which the fact that a moment is 90 seconds plays a part in the conversation.


About the author

Lindsay Price