Book Reviews,  Writing

Book Review: The Play’s the Thing (and how to write it)

The Play's the Thing (and How to Write It)The Play’s the Thing by Christina Hamlett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One fine morning I had a brainstorm of an idea for a story plot, but the more I worked on it, it started to feel like something that should be presented in the form of a play, rather than a short story. The problem was, I’d never written a play in my life. I asked for advice in one of my social media hangouts, and Christina Hamlett piped up with the fact that she’d written a book on the topic. I bounced off to buy it right away, and am very glad I did.

This book, as they would say in England, ‘does what it says on the tin’. Through friendly, conversational explanations and anecdotes, Christina manages to convey exactly what a person needs to know to write a play. With topics like “Using Your Senses to Inspire Creativity”, and “How to Write Roles That Actors Will Want To Play”, I soon realized that I had more answers than questions. Clearly I hadn’t known what questions to ask in the first place.

But for me, the high point of my education was the chapter titled, “How to Tell if Your Story is Right for the Stage”. I weighed my story idea against all the advice given, and came to the conclusion that my idea did indeed fit all the criteria for what’s called a “10 minute play”. One of my goals for 2022 is to complete this writing challenge, and possibly offer it out to a local theater that’s been known to perform short plays.

I appreciate how well this book guided me from being a clueless girl with a notion, to becoming a potential playwright. *Every* writer should have this book on their resource shelf.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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