Becoming a Playwright, Part 2: The Terms

Let's say that a new playwright has nailed down a good story idea. The next step is to begin telling the story in the appropriate format. Before a new playwright does that, he or she needs to be aware of and understand the terms used in playwriting. Here is a list with definitions for some of the more common terms.

Synopsis: This is a condensed version of the story. A synopsis or summary will tell the reader what is going to happen in the play without going into a lot of details or using dialogue. The preferred format for a synopsis is that it be written double-spaced. Depending on the intended length of the play, the synopsis may be from one to three pages long.

Character: This is a part that is played by an actor. This is usually a person but can be a personified entity. For instance, death might appear in the play in the form of a grim reaper; an actor may portray a dancing vegetable or a talking animal.

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