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Dramatists Toolkit,The Craft of the Working Playwright Later Printing Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
On the down side, I was really, really disappointed in Sweet's opening chapter, which still casts a pall over "Dramatist's Toolkit" for me as a whole. It's unfortunate that such an otherwise helpful book nevertheless opens with a blunt, narrow, and chapter-long definition of who should attempt the life of a playwright (the journalist) -- and who shouldn't (the prose writer). As this is supposed to be a general "toolkit" to assist any attempting the art of the dramatist, Sweet's dismissal of a huge number of writers who do not meet his criteria for success is doubly disappointing.
I'm not knocking journalists (I am one), but Sweet's starting-gate assumption that a versatile writer can't straddle more than one genre surprised and disappointed me, especially in the face of such obvious successful exceptions as William Goldman, Larry McMurtry, W.B. Yeats, John Steinbeck, and many more.Read more ›
Jeff Barker, Professor of Theatre and Playwright in Residence, Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa
Because of this emphasis, this is not going to be the book you should refer to for structure; again, Hatcher is strong there, as is Gordon Farrell's Power of the Playwright's Vision (the only text I've seen to give numerous structural breakdowns). However, Sweet's advice - taken well, and with the usual pinch of salt - is very liberating to the writer who's been struggling against formulaic playwriting texts.
Sweet's book is worth its cover price based solely on its discussions of negotiations, which really are eye-openers as to how subtext really works. His section on exposition, with a discussion on high and low contexts, is likewise strong. The book is great as a reference while doing your actual writing, just to remind you of things you can really make work.
Now, Sweet's a bit brief (but powerful) in this book, but makes up for it in the sequel, Solving Your Script. The latter is a reinforcement of the ideas from The Dramatist's Toolkit, with enlightening, well annotated examples. Together, they make up a powerful combination addressing what is so rarely touched on in playwriting books: how to actually write powerful, subtle scenes. Combine them with a couple of good structural books like Hatcher or Farrell, and you've got a much better basis than most of the formulaic texts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had ordered this for my creative writing class and it helped me craft my writing style better.Published 1 month ago by kayan
This is an excellent book for anyone trying to learn the craft. It exceeded by expectations and was a pleasure to read. It had easy to understand practical advice. Read morePublished on June 9, 2009 by Frost Liederbach
This book is a fair introduction for a newcomer. But when I say newcomer, I mean a newcomer to writing, not to playwriting. Read morePublished on March 8, 2004
My advice is to skip this book and go directly to Jeffrey Hatcher's or Louis Catron's, if you haven't already. Read morePublished on December 29, 2003 by JackOfMostTrades
...books on writing plays...this one, as well as "Backwards and Forwards," have changed me as a playwright. I still have a long way to go, but Mr. Read morePublished on October 24, 2001 by Wretched Man
This book is wonderful. It distills so much that I wanted to know about theatre plays. But, the title should have been longer. It should have added "... Read morePublished on August 28, 2001 by Morgan Parker
I've had the pleasure of studying with Jeff and he's very adept at transcribing his lessons to an easily understood distillation of basic precepts regarding dramatic writing. Read morePublished on August 25, 2001 by Tom