Bringing Your Play from the Page to the Stage

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Cristina D'Almeida

With theatre comes writing. You don’t really have a story until someone starts writing one. I absolutely love writing and I’ve always found it to be easier to put my feelings on to paper rather than try to articulate them. Some of the greatest stories ever are from books, movies, and theatre. I’ve always found the process of writing to be fascinating and such a complex concept. It’s something I know I will always be drawn to.

Through the years, I’ve talked to many people about writing and their ways of going through the process because I’m always intensely interested in other people’s approaches. There are so many different ways to create characters and spark stories and I don’t believe there is a single way of doing it. For me, as a writer, I never want to force a story out of myself. It’s important that what I’m writing about is as authentic to me as possible. If it’s real to me then it will come off as real to the audience. I always have to be passionate and invested in a story or else I’ll simply lose interest. Passion is one of the first things I explored as a writer. If you’re looking to be a serious writer, you should always ask yourself if it’s something you’re absolutely in love it. I find that most people who write, really love it. It’s something about having an artistic brain that drives people to be obsessed with their work and I think it’s really interesting.

Passion is the first step, but inspiration is the second. Being inspired, whether it’s from someone else’s work or a place or setting or an actual person, is how most stories are developed. I often read about famous writers and their different approaches to writing and I always seem to find something that inspires me or something that I’d like to try. I also enjoy watching documentaries on writers. This serves as such great inspiration mentally to the point where I say to myself, “I want to do that.”

Some people travel before they start writing. Different places and different settings offer motivation and inspiration for settings of scenes. They might sit in a place and just observe people and something might come to their mind based off of what they’re seeing. I always believed in thinking and thought process. I go through an intense period of thinking before I sit down and start writing anything. I think about what the setting will be in the story and how I envision it in my mind. I think what the character should look like and how they’ll act. I think of the general dynamic of the story whether it’s a play, screenplay or even a novel. Then I start writing some notes on it all and then that eventually leads to a synopsis. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of your thoughts. Spend some time with your story and your characters. Get to know them inside and out because you will have to. If you’re not fully invested in the story then it won’t come out right on paper and it will most likely crash and burn. You have to know the subject matter will work and then make it work.

The third step in writing for me is a skill which you can have at any level. Skill can be taught but it’s mostly the mechanical aspects that are taught like grammar and sentence structure. The rest of your skills come from your own personal style and I believe that is obtained the more you write and the more you figure out what you think works for you and what doesn’t. Your style of writing should come naturally whether it is fancy, sophisticated language or clear and concise language. If you really want to learn different styles of writing the best thing to do in my opinion is read. Read books, read scripts, read articles. Read things so you can actually see the different styles of writing and you can determine what you’re a fan of or what might work for you. Reading has helped me in a few cases. There were some books I’ve read where I really liked the structure of the plot and I tried to mirror that in my own work. Otherwise, I’m big on figuring out my own style on my own.

Sometimes, the best stories come from personal experience and I think that’s my most favorite kind of story to write. We go through all kinds of things as human beings whether it is traumatic or happy, and those things stir up feelings within us and we need to get those feelings and frustrations out and that right there, can be a story. Sometimes, we have to dig deep, but beautiful things can transpire from that. Another cool thing that I often see writers do is write about their dreams. If you ever have an interesting dream or a traumatic nightmare, write it down. That can later turn into an awesome story. Most stories come from within, and that’s the most personal thing we can share on this earth. Writing is not only a craft, but it is an art that binds the world together. Words are the only real thing we have to express ourselves, so make it moving.