Writing the Short Play: Tips and Tricks for the Novice Playwright


You have been commissioned to write a play that others will perform, but you have little or no experience in playwriting. This 6-hour hands-on workshop is a practical introduction to the craft of playwriting that will help you create a script that will be exciting to stage and easy to produce.

Areas Covered

  • Understanding what a play is
  • Being realistic about what you can write and actually produce and stage
  • Understanding what action is and how it keeps a play alive
  • How to write dialogue
  • The art of writing and re-writing

Session 1:

  • Elements of a play vs. genres of plays
  • Production considerations that will affect how you will write your play
  • Brainstorming your play
  • Identifying characters, conflict, and context
  • Developing a story arc vs. flow of scenes
  • Developing an outline

Session 2:

  • Writing and re-writing draft scenes
  • Creating dialogue that works
  • Feedback on how to improve each draft

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants

  • This workshop is open to participants who are fluent in English.
  • It would be ideal, although not essential, if participants come to the workshop with at least a rough idea of the play that they must/want to write.

For Organisers

  • Please make available a fair-sized room that allows participants to sit with writing surfaces. Preferably the room could be big enough or flexible enough so that participants can leave the writing area and come to a space where everyone can physically interact with each other.
  • Please provide pen/pencil and paper for the various writing and brainstorming exercises.
  • Please provide a large whiteboard and pens. Access to a computer/computer projection is welcomed, but not absolutely necessary.
  • Please make copies of handouts that will be emailed to prior to the workshop. The handouts are to be given to the participants at the end of the workshop.

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.