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Content[ edit ] Writing Drama explores the mechanisms of dramatic story telling. The author scans all the tools of dramatic narrative: conflict, protagonist, obstacles, suspense, characterisation, three-act structure, preparation, dramatic irony, comedy, activity, dialogue. Several appendices deal with writing for children, drama and literature, short films, documentaries, etc.
In the course of pages, Yves Lavandier develops several governing ideas. According to him: Drama preexists theater and film. Life being full of conflicts and ruled by causality, one can say that life is aristotelian. The art of narrative can be taught, like every other human activity. It takes two to speak the language of drama: writer and receiver. This is why dramatic irony —which consists in giving the audience an item of information that at least one of the characters is unaware of—is a fundamental mechanism, omnipresent in all genres tragedy, comedy, melodrama, suspense, thriller, etc.
All the great storytellers know the rules of narration, at least unconsciously. Dialogue, in theater or radio, is the visible part of the iceberg. Even in radio, structure and characterisation are paramount. Theater is, as well as film, an art of the image.
To write a good story, three things are needed: conflict, conflict and conflict. The spectacular and the sensational are cheap ways to generate emotion and often mingle with voyeurism and omnipotence. When an actor is brilliant, he of course deserves all the plaudits he gets. But praise is also due to the director who directed him as well as to the writer who created his role in the first place.
The most powerful language of drama is structure, far before dialogue. Nonetheless, dialogue is inevitable when one tells a human story, even in silent movies where dialogues were numerous, either written on intertitles or guessed by the audience.
The three-act structure dramatic acts, not logistical ones relies simply on a universal triad: before-during-after. One can find the three-act structure in the vast majority of dramatic works, including in a narrative as deconstructed as 21 Grams. Suspense should not be mistaken with mystery, Alfred Hitchcock with Agatha Christie. Comedy is a noble, useful and difficult treatment. Its lightness is only an appearance, a politeness. As the mockery of human limitations, comedy may be disparaging but also demanding or compassionate.
The basics of narrative are the pattern of a fractal structure. TV series are highly respectable and can produce masterpieces of human art such as The Sopranos. Children need good drama. To write for children is a wonderful school of narration. Writers of drama will always be indispensable and keep on responding to a triple human need of emotion, meaning and distraction. Comment[ edit ] Writing Drama is considered a reference textbook amongst European playwrights and scriptwriters.
Francis Veber said it is "the most thorough and challenging work of its kind to come out since the birth of scriptwriting".
To find out what the bloggers say about Writing Drama, click here. It is as important as Story by Robert McKee. A French import written by a man whose brain is bigger than I can conceive. It is an obvious must for all professionals.