I belong to an email group called the Playwrights Binge that recently had a discussion about playwriting resource books – books that would be useful with the craft of writing. I thought this would be a good list to share with you. It’s a question that comes up often and while the most efficient way to learn to write is to start writing, many people need a gateway.
I can’t state which books are better than others, but there is a lovely variety here. Books from playwrights, directors, authors from different countries, writers well known and less than. Books set up as a course on playwriting and others that tend towards memoirs. Sufficient to say, however you learn you should be able to find a book on this list that can set you in the right direction. Many have sample pages on Amazon you can read and glean for yourself which might be the most help. Without further ado and in no particular order…..
- The Dramatists Toolkit and Solving Your Script by Jeffrey Sweet
- The Crafty Art of Playwriting by Alan Ayckbourn
- How Plays Work by David Edgar
- Writing a Play by Steve Gooch
- So You Want to Be A Playwright by Tim Fountain
- The Play That Changed My Life by Ben Hodges
- New Playwriting Strategies by Paul Castagno
- Naked Playwriting by William Missouri Downs
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Poetics of the Creative Process by Femi Euba
- The Playwrights Guidebook by Stuart Spencer
- The Playwright’s Workbook by Jean-Claude van Italie
- To Be a Playwright by Janet Neipris
- Playwriting by Louis E. Catron
- The Art & Craft of Playwriting by Jeffrey Hatcher
- The Playwright’s Handbook by Frank Pike & Thomas G. Dunn
- Playwriting Master Class by Michael Wright
- Building Your Play: Theory and Practice for the Beginning Writer by David Rush
- Thornton Wilder’s “Notes on Playwriting” was also mentioned but I couldn’t find a nice link for it.
And my own favourite writing book is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s more geared to prose but a lot of it crosses all genres. I’ve used its principals many a time.
I’m sure there’s some missing here. What is your favourite playwriting resource book?