This looks to be a good forum. Thanks for the entry. I've written fiction and poetry for some time, but just recently I was overcome with the urge to write a play. The material I'm working on seemed to demand the stage, and that's never happened on any of my short stories. For the past month I've been immersing myself in playwriting, which of course makes me a rank amateur.
As far as brags, I've published stories & poems in a few dozen literary journals, mostly in print (dinosaur that I am). A few years ago I won the Andrew Lytle Fiction Prize from The Sewanee Review, and my first novel, The Hunger Artist, was a finalist for the Library of Virginia's People's Choice Award in fiction. I'm launching a story collection in the Fall.
So I'm looking forward to flexing some new mental muscles. My first question is:
Who came up with the spelling of "playwriting" versus "playwright."
I am a playwright, to paraphrase Peter Shaffer's Salieri, a master of mediocrity as regards playwriting. After all, at least that's something, isn't it? Anyway. after four years, I recently finished my first novel. It was thrilling to be a "rank amateur" once again. I learned on the job. Learning and hearing something new is my real passion. So my dear rank amateur, just do it and have a ball. As for "playwriting," it is the process. As for "playwright" it is the person who does it. "Wright" is a nautical term, I believe Paddy would know for sure. To wright is to build. And what we do is build the play.
Welcome to this forum. It's a good, supportive place with a lot of very smart and experienced playwrights. See: I used it in a sentence.
I think you are right, Edd. A shipwright is a person who builds ships (at least it was a hundred years ago). A shipwright has special skills and knowledge of how to build a ship so it stays upright and doesn't sink in a storm. A wheelwright knew how to build a wheel that would hold up the weight of a loaded wagon and a cartwright knew how to build the wagon (or cart).
The dictionary says: a worker skilled in the manufacture especially of wooden objects — usually used in combination as in shipwright or wheelwright or cartwright.
In the same manner a playwright has the special skills to craft a story using words and actions.
And, as Edd said, playwriting is the act of writing a play. Looking up the definition, playwriting seems to be used in a passive sense: He teaches playwriting and poetry. The active form seems to be: Joe spends his time writing plays.
Ahhh, the fun of trying to understand the English language.
Last edited on Sat Jul 1st, 2017 08:05 pm by Doug B
Ah - shipwright. That makes perfect sense, and is also fitting as I found myself on the floor this morning cutting my manuscript into sections and rearranging the components. A form of construction, if you will.