Tag Archives: Hamlet

Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays Book Review

On the surface, writing is a very simple process. It is turning the computer and opening the word processing program or taking out the pad and pen and beginning to write.

But the reality is that writing is both an art and a skill. Especially if the writer is playwright. Writing a play is very different from writing prose. Beyond the standard issues of character and narrative development, there is also the very specific format and the idea that the play is not just in the hands of the writer. It is in the hands of the director, the actors, etc. All have a part in creating the final product which will hopefully be seen by an audience.

Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays, written by David Ball and with a foreword by Michael Langham, is about the craft of writing plays. The book touches on everything a playwright would need to know about including character and narrative development to imagery, conflict, theme, etc. Using William Shakespeare’s Hamlet as an example, this book should be required reading for every playwright, especially if they are just starting out.

This book was recommended to me by a writer friend. It was an educational and eye-opening read. It was also a reminder that writing plays and writing prose are two different animals and requires writers to think differently when writing a play vs. writing a novel.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, William Shakespeare, Writing

The Hardest Thing To Do Is To Be Yourself

We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we attend to it, than any other person can be- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

This above all: to thine own self be true/ And it must follow, as the night the day/ Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!-William Shakespeare- Hamlet

The hardest thing in life that we can ever is tell ourselves and our loves ones the truth of who we are. Even if that truth contradicts everything we have been taught is right and proper.

Tom Sosnik is a 13 year old boy who did a very brave thing. He announced to his classmates and to the world via youtube that he is trans-sexual.

I wish many of us had the courage of this young boy. Perhaps this world of ours would be in a better place.

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Filed under Jane Austen, Life, Mansfield Park, William Shakespeare