Theme Memes: Start With The End

When I conference with writers, they often say they’re having trouble coming up with a satisfying ending. Instead of talking to them about their plot, I ask them to tell me about their intended impact: when their audience reaches the end, what do they want them to be feeling and thinking? Some writers are immediately…

Timeline Cards: for Backstory, Worldbuilding, and Complication

A few weeks ago, I visited one of my Philadelphia Young Playwrights classrooms as a guest teaching artist. The students finished writing scene one of their plays, and it was time for them to outline their full story arcs. It was a perfect moment to introduce timeline as a way to challenge them to think…

Song Title Subtext: Idea-Generating and Revision Activity

Spring at Philadelphia Young Playwrights always means one thing: our students are asking fantastic questions about storytelling as they complete their first drafts and begin the revision process. Popular questions I’m hearing this year are, “How do I tell a story without revealing everything in the beginning?” as well as “How do I create complex…

A Tile and Place for Everything

I recently had an amazing time visiting Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens with my Philadelphia Young Playwrights Ed Staff, where we were inspired by the work and process of creator Isaiah Zagar. On our guided tour (which I highly recommend), we learned that when Zagar creates his mural mosaics, he pulls tiles out of his bucket at…

Just Try It For Today: A Revision Prompt Challenge

If you’ve ever had a writing teacher, you’ve most likely heard the phrase “kill your darlings” when it comes to revision. In respect to this, one of my theatre professors gave the following advice to my class years ago, “I always tell playwrights to turn to their favorite part of their play, and cut it.…