Playwriting Tips and Handy Hints

* Writing stage directions that can't be staged is sooo five minutes ago.  What are all the cool kids doing now?  Stage directions that can't even be written.  Go!* Parenthetical adverbs attached to your dialogue is a bad idea because it tells actors there's only one acceptable way to say the line.  Leave them out.  There's still only one acceptable way to say the line, of course, but now the actor doesn't know what it is.  Their destabilization shifts the power dynamic in your favor.  Which is to say: now you'll have something to silently resent the actors for when they get it wrong.  And we treasure our silent resentments.* Silences tell you story.  They also make it easier to get to eighty pages, especially if you signify silences with lots of hard returns.* Beckett envied composers because music was never condemned to explicitness.  So slip the bonds of explicitness.  Write without nouns.* Talkback, shmalkback: an audience's reactions during a reading tell you everything you need to know about a play.  Watch for subtle nonverbal cues like: sleeping, eye-rolling, watch-checking, leaving, seizures, projectiles.* You may dread the fate of being developed to death.  But there are worse things.  Like being flayed, for instance.  Or tickled.  Perspective!* Base your work on people you know.  It's soooo much easier than making stuff up.  Plus: the fewer friends you have, the more time you have to write.  Win/win.* Artistic directors and literary managers just don't read new scripts any more.  Save your time and money and just send your plays to the people you know will probably look at them.  You've got your mom's address; use it.* When a theater politely passes on your script, they very much want to hear about your resulting feelings of hostility and despair.  They went into the theater.  They love drama.  Give it to them.  Everybody wins.* Write every day.  No writing time is wasted.  Unless you write something bad.  In which case, yeah, you probably should've done the laundry or spent time with your kids or something.