Synopses & Reviews
Learn the basic techniques every successful playwright knows
Among the many "how-to" playwriting books that have appeared over the years, there have been few that attempt to analyze the mysteries of play construction. Lajos Egri's classic, The Art of Dramatic Writing, does just that, with instruction that can be applied equally well to a short story, novel, or screenplay.
Examining a play from the inside out, Egri starts with the heart of any drama: its characters. All good dramatic writing hinges on people and their relationships, which serve to move the story forward and give it life, as well as an understanding of human motives -- why people act the way that they do. Using examples from everything from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, Egri shows how it is essential for the author to have a basic premise -- a thesis, demonstrated in terms of human behavior -- and to develop the dramatic conflict on the basis of that behavior.
Using Egri's ABCs of premise, character, and conflict, The Art of Dramatic Writing is a direct, jargon-free approach to the problem of achieving truth in writing.
"I found Lajos Egri's book enormously interesting one of the best I have ever read." Moss Hart
The author offers an approach to playwriting based on the natural law of dialectics.
About the Author
Lajos Egri was born some sixty years ago in the city of Eger, Hungary, and wrote his first three-act play at the age of ten. For more than thirty-five years he has written and directed plays in Europe and the United States. He was director of the Egri School of Writing in New York City for many years. He now resides in Los Angeles, California, where he is teaching and working with members of the film industry.
Table of Contents
1. The Bone Structure
3. The Dialectical Approach
4. Character Growth
5. Strength of Will in a Character
6. Plot or Character -- Which?
7. Characters Plotting Their Own Play
8. Pivotal Character
9. The Antagonist
11. Unity of Opposites
1. Origin of Action
2. Cause and Effect
7. Foreshadowing Conflict
8. Point of Attack
10. Crisis, Climax, Resolution
1. Obligatory Scene
5. The Timeliness of a Play
6. Entrances and Exits
7. Why Are Some Bad Plays Successful?
9. On Genius
10. What Is Art? -- A Dialogue
11. When You Write a Play
12. How to Get Ideas
13. Writing for Television
APPENDIX A. Plays Analyzed
APPENDIX B. How to Market Your Play
APPENDIX C. Long Runs on Broadway