Play around with any of these prompts/exercises to flesh out your ideas or characters when you get stuck or have no idea where to go next. You may find these exercises are just as good for writing poetry and fiction!
To develop CHARACTER, try one of these:
- Choose a character in your play. What does your character feel or believe about the following topics:
- Choose a character in your play. Describe in as much detail as possible (consider imagery & the five senses) where your character lives now. You might consider how this is different from where your character grew up or lived before this location. If you can, find photographs or images from the internet of a place similar to where your character lives.
- Choose a character in your play. Describe in as much detail as possible where your character works. What do they spend their day doing? Why did the character choose this kind of job? What else has your character done (what other jobs) or what would your character RATHER be doing?
- Write a short freewritten monologue from the POV of one of your characters (it does not have to be included in the play, but could...) answering any of these questions:
- What makes me so angry?
- What scares me the most?
- What do I love most in this world?
- Choose a character in your play. In ONE word describe this character from the CHARACTER'S POV--what do they think of themselves?
- Once you have the word, try one or more of these:
- Describe the character as a metaphor
- If this character were an animal, what animal would the character most likely be?
- If this character were an object, what object would this character most likely be?
- Describe in 10 words or fewer what will happen to this character in 10 years
- Describe in 10 words or fewer what this character needs to change about him/herself
To develop PLOT/SCENES, try one of these:
- Summarize the scene you are writing in one sentence. What is the scene about? What is the single most important action that drives this scene?
- Consider the timing of your scene. What exciting event happens...
- Just before a certain character arrives in the scene?
- Just after a certain character exits the scene?
- During the scene that affects the future of the characters or has an impact on a particular character's life?
- Choose a character in your scene.
- In one word, describe how the character is feeling when he/she enters the scene.
- In one word, describe how the character will feel at the end of the scene.
- What physical elements (props or set pieces) on stage are important in this scene? Come up with a list of ways in which a character might interact with this object or set piece?
- Draw a flow chart of the consequences of a character's actions. If a character does X, what are the possible consequences of this action? Sketch your flow chart for this scene so you can be ready for what decisions your character(s) make in it.
To develop IDEAS/THEMES, try one of these:
- Try this AFTER you've written some dialogue to bring your story to an universal level:
- Read the scene you wrote over, and identify each topic the character's talk about.
- Chart these topics so that you know consciously what you are creating as your theme.
- Add an opinion about what the characters are talking about in the scene.
- Give each character in the scene a chance to throw in their opinion about what another character should do given the situation.
- Find an appropriate quote or refer to a classical or well-known literary text to defend why a character has said or done something that other characters question.
During period 2, please go next door to take a quiz on Titus Andronicus & to watch Julie Taymor's adaptation of the play starring Jessica Lange, Anthony Hopkins, Harry Lennix, and Alan Cumming.