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The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > Work-in-Progress > How do you know how long to make your first play???

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Clouddog
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at 60 pages it would be a one act, shortish play

What kind of mad confidence would i need to make my first play a full length play??

I'd ideally like to find a place for it at about 1h30

It may also suit a double showing of 2 plays

but how do you know
based on storyline? and how good it is? or just where the subject matter would likely be shown (only at festivals for example)
?

I think my answer is clear to me in a way - just write what is true to me and see how long it is in the end

i don't know if i should make the 5 parts into 5 acts?

also depends a bit on how well the 6 actor approach goes as i am currently researching multiple characters for 4 of the actors

Last edited on Mon Jun 10th, 2013 06:26 am by Clouddog

thain
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Hello Clouddog ...

... and welcome to the Forum

Have read this and your other posts I think you would benefit from reading a couple of Playwrighting how-to books -

http://www.stageplays.com/index.php/browse/categories/playwrighting

Particularly -

The Dramatists Toolkit - The Craft of the Working Playwright

Jeffrey Sweet
Price: $13.95


 

This is a practical guide to being a working playwright

The author discusses such matters as - the building blocks of playwriting; how characters relate to one another; the differences and similarities between musicals and plays; and screenwriting vs playwriting

A valuable resource for all writers, this is a comprehensive guide to playwriting techniques drawing on examples from Shakespeare to Monty Python

http://www.stageplays.com/products/the_dramatists_toolkit_-_the_craft_of_the_working_playwright/

Good luck!

 

 


Wendy Onslow
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I think the best thing to do is read and look at other plays. There will be ones that appeal to you. In the end you are a lone voice, and you will do what you want. You don't need a manual.

Allan_West
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To me, 60 pages is incredibly long for one act. I tend to want to write full length plays, but I can't see going much more than 120 pages or so. And timing is all based on your stage direction, your scene changes, setting design and so forth. Heck, act it out while taking breaks for how long you think it takes to set the scene up behind the curtain.

(You could have one stage direction, like "he runs around" that lasts for a good deal of time.)

And you could have a 'waiting for godot'-style play, with back and forth, one sentence at a time, with no scene changes, and yes, the pages go quick went you have more line breaks than dialogue. But I would advise against such writing in most cases.

Yeah, what a waste if your play is like:

Ted: Hey!
John: What?
Ted: What?
John: I asked you first!
Ted: I don't know
John: Yes.
Ted: You suck.
John: So.
Ted: So what!?

With this type of shallow dialogue the pages add up quickly.

To me it's more about word count. I like the range of about 15-30k words for a full length. But again its all about the plot, the style, the setting, and the drama. But hey, I'm no expert.

playwright_bo
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A play should be as long as it takes to tell it, not a page more, not a page less.

QuixotesGhost
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It really depends. My last full-length clocked in at 67 pages and was 12k words. It ran 1 hour and 45 minutes, there were some visual sequences though. "A page, a minute" is a good guideline for a shorter script, but you need to get longer ones read out-loud to really get a handle on how long it is.

Last edited on Tue Jul 16th, 2013 05:02 pm by QuixotesGhost

Paddy
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I think you answered your own question.

Paddy



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