A Masterclass in Dramatic Writing, 2nd Edition

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A Masterclass in Dramatic Writing, 2nd Edition
Theater, Film, and Television
By Janet Neipris, Janet Neipris

168 Pages

A Masterclass in Dramatic Writing addresses all three genres of dramatic writing - for theatre, film and TV - in a  comprehensive, one-semester, 14-week masterclass for the dramatic writer.

Including new material alongside revised, extended selections from Janet Neipris' original and much loved book To Be A Playwright, this volume takes the writer up to a first draft and rewrite of a dramatic work. The fourteen chapters, organized like a semester, guide the writer week-by-week and step-by-step to the completion of a first draft and a rewrite. There are Weekly Exercises and progressive Assignments. Chapters include Beginnings, Creating Complex Characters, Dialogue, Escalating Conflicts, Endings, Checkpoints, Comedy, and Adaptation.

For professional writers, teachers, and students, as well as anyone who want to complete their first piece.

An award winning playwright and Professor of Dramatic Writing at NYU, Janet Neipris has written for Screen and Television. She has also taught dramatic writers at UCLA and in China, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Italy, and in the UK at Oxford, CSSD, University of Birmingham, and the University of East Anglia. Previous publications include To Be A Playwright (Routledge 2006). Janet Neipris’s plays and letters are in the Theatre Collection of Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Moral Responsibility of the Artist

Introduction: The Writer’s Life

        Week 1: Beginnings

        Week 2: Creating Complex Characters

        Week 3: Dialogue

        Week 4: Escalating Conflicts

        Week 5: Sixty Questions When Writing a Dramatic Piece

        Week 6: Putting it all Together

        Week 7: Endings

        Week 8: Checkpoints

        Week 9: Rewriting

        Week 10: Adaptation

        Week 11: Comedy

        Week 12: The Fifteen Habits of Successful Dramatic Writers

        Week 13: Lessons from Master Teachers and Students

        Week 14: To Be a Writer


    "An award-winning playwright, Neipris adds five new chapters to the earlier edition along with concrete examples from classic works and from her own writing. The book’s organization parallels a one-semester, 14-week course, providing exercises and assignments that leave readers with a first draft or rewrite. Neipris demonstrates her vulnerability, sharing the experience she has gained writing and teaching. In contrast to other playwriting texts—for example, Noël Greig's Playwriting: A Practical Guide (2005), which is less personal, and Playwriting Master Class: The Personality of Process and the Art of Rewriting, ed. by Michael Wright (2000), which collects essays from various playwrights—Neipris’s Masterclass brings readers right into her writing room."

    - C. Cox, University of Northern Iowa in CHOICE

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