An accessible, contemporary guide to the art of dramatic writing
During the ten years that Stuart Spencer has taught playwriting, he has struggled to find an effective playwriting handbook for his courses. Although most of the currently popular handbooks have good ideas in them, they all suffer from the same problems: they're poorly organized; are composed mostly of quirky, idiosyncratic advice on how specific playwrights have gone about writing their own work; and are full of abstract theorizing on the nature of art. As a result, they fail to offer any concrete information on how to construct a well-written play or any useful guidelines and exercises. Moreover, few of these books are actually written by working playwrights. Out of frustration, Spencer wrote his own book. The result, The Playwright's Guidebook, is a clear, concise, and engaging handbook. Spencer addresses the important principles of structure, includes insightful writing exercises that build upon one another, explores the creative process, and troubleshoots recurrent problems that playwrights actually face.
A practical compendium based on author Stuart Spencer's experience crafting plays (Resident Alien; The Rothko Room; etc.) and teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, The Playwright's Guidebook offers counsel on issues like structure, conflict, character and problem-solving. This contemporary guide fills the gaps left open by many books, supplying organized and realistic advice for would-be playwrights. As Spencer says, "A play is more wrought than written. A playwright constructs a play as a wheelwright once constructed a wheel: a general shape is laid out, and then hammered, bent, nailed, reshaped, hammered again and again, until finally a functionaly and artful product has emerged."