Playwriting

Write Tight

“In writing, as in life, the answer so often is: Cut…..”

This title and this post is inspired by Lisa Romeo Writes and her post on making every work count. This is an extremely important writing concept. Not only should you make every word count, but use the fewest number of words you need to make your point. Write tight. Lisa talks about having interesting conversations with students who want to exceed a word count in an exercise, or say that it’s impossible to complete an exercise with a particular word count. That it makes them less creative.

As a writer, I’ve always loved limitations. Word counts, time limits, an exact number of characters in a specific gender configuration. Limitations, I think, make you more creative. Creativity is not a light switch you turn on and off. Sometimes, you have to work at being creative. You have to flex your brain. Never say an exercise can’t be done. Finding a way to do it – that’s what it means to be creative.

I’ll be teaching a workshop at the Arkansas State Thespian Festival this week on Dynamic Dialogue. This is one of the exercises I’ll be doing with regards to tight writing:

The Disappearing Monologue

  • Take one character. Give them a want, something that will change their life immediately. Write a one page monologue.
  • Now re-write it to half a page.
  • Re-write it and cut out three sentences.
  • Make this monologue one sentence. What is the most important sentence?
  • Make it one word. What is the most important word in this monologue? What word says everything?

Take one character. Give them a want, something that will change their life immediately. Write a one page monologue. Now re-write it to half a page. Re-write it and cut out five more sentences. Make this monologue one sentence. Make it one word.

About the author

Lindsay Price

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