Categories: Blog

Story Values

A writing concept I continue to be enamored by is the concept of values. I suppose story values could be rolled up into the concept of theme, but I think it’s worth mentally separating the two, because values connect deeply to character, going right into their motivations. Expressed well, a story’s theme also ties into […]

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Categories: Blog

Getting Better

A line of thinking I continually revisit is how to improve my writing. It’s a multifaceted topic, and could be broken down into dozens of tantalizing subtopics. Tone. Twists. Master plot types. Genre expectations and how to subvert them. Creating sympathetic characters. The importance of surprise. The need for contrast or rhythm. But I think […]

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A bearded man in profile snarls at a microphone.

Categories: Blog

Antagonists

Of the many qualities that antagonists have in my favorite stories, I most enjoy the qualities of outsiderness, relatability, and integrity. That is, I like to watch antagonists (or actual villains) who perceive themselves as fundamentally different — whether it’s true or not that they are — who seem like me or someone I know, […]

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Categories: Blog

Word Processor Wish List

There’s no word processing software dedicated to playwriting. There are several screenwriting apps that have stage play templates, but they’re somewhat inadequate. Over the years, I’ve used: (here goes) Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, FadeIn, Celtx, and Highland. I’ve also written plays in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, and Libre Office (Writer). I’ve written one rough draft […]

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Categories: Blog

The Mormon Kid

In the introduction to THE MORMON KID — playing through November 12th at the USU Eastern Black Box in Price — the outlaw of Matt Warner tells the audience, “There’s lies, damn lies, and history.” It’s a spin on the aphorism popularized by Mark Twain, which is usually rendered as, “There are three kinds of […]

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Categories: Blog

Prayers Not Meant for Heaven

In Nan Seymour’s PRAYERS NOT MEANT FOR HEAVEN, I found all my favorite qualities of poetry: spareness, sacrality, and a mix of open and closed form. Its pages are budding with pantheist joy: pelican, avocet, snowy egret every bird is a reason to look up That’s from duplex for birders, a formal duplex with a […]

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Categories: Blog

The Art of Theatre, Holding the Humanity of Everyone, and “Worship”

Like any art, theatre is malleable. It can be put to many uses. It can be turned to propaganda. It can runneth over with cultural and psychic complexities. Time favors the complex, I think. But what is “complex” in the art of theatre? And particularly in playwriting? Well, my go-to definition for propaganda may be […]

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A black and white photo of an empty theatre, looking from the stage toward the seats.

Categories: Blog

First Principles

Trying my hand at many kinds of writing — playwriting, screenwriting, radio plays, short stories, and poetry — I’ve come to think about what’s consistent across all of them. What makes a piece of writing interesting whether it’s a novel or a poem? Years ago, I came across a list of commandments for comedy writers […]

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Categories: Blog

A Sense of the Magical

“Imagine making plays as if Beckett, Churchill, Shawn, Fornes, Gambaro, Anouilh, Kennedy, Sondheim…hadn’t happened. – Caridad Svich As a theatre student in the late ’90s, drinking Pabst beer and staging True West on the six-foot stage of Groovacious Records in Cedar City, a pastime for me and my fellow free spirits was ranting about the […]

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Categories: Blog

The Process of Cleaning Up

“What a tremendously hostile world a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. And the reason for this is because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none. And that, Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.” – Colonel Landa In the opening scene […]

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