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…

Make Every Line Count

Yesterday I had a great time running a revision workshop for the eighteen writers in Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Mouthful Monologue Festival. At this point in the process, the writers have done an amazing job working with their professional actor, director, and dramaturg to deepen their monologues by adding details and raising the stakes. While their…

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…