SO YOU WANT TO BE A PLAYWRIGHT?: Tim Fountain.
Nick Hern Books.
Pub: 2007 ISBN: 978 1 85459 716 8.
(A link to the book on Amazon is attached below.)
An easy read, a valuable read.
What a number of punches are packed into Tim Fountain’s marvellous and relatively short (just over 100 pages) guide through the art of playwriting. It’s a no-nonsense, practical approach to anyone thinking of embarking on writing a play. In fact it’s more than this, even if you’ve written quite a number already, Fountain’s clarity of thinking ensures there’s still much to learn or to be revisited.
Fountain is a playwright, a one-time literary manager (of the Bush Theatre), and now also teaches creative writing at Strathclyde University. It is from this mix of creative writer himself and teacher that his clarity stems.
There is an appealing logical structure in this guide; reading the guide through you are never left struggling. Fountain is not afraid to use an authoritative voice – ‘Character only emerges through action,’ he asserts, ‘and action is decision under pressure.’ But time and again he examples this; we are left in no doubt of its truth. Having read quite a lot of new writing myself, I particularly enjoy Fountain articulating: ‘Drama cannot be ordinary people in ordinary circumstances. We get that at home!’ Fountain may be authoritative (he’s earned the right) but his friendly style ensures he never comes over like a bully.
I don’t agree with everything Fountain says – like writing the second draft from scratch for instance – but this doesn’t matter. On the big question of whether to plan beforehand or not Fountain leaves the answer open – do what feels right for you. This isn’t a cop-out; it’s a man who’s thought it through.
This is a terrific book. Easy and informative to read from cover to cover and valuable to dip into afterwards as needs require.
Here’s the link: