Writers Question Time

For our October Like The Clapper’s workshop, we decided to go all David Dimbleby on you and and create a list of questions for our favourite playwrights to answer. Alongside our regular workshops and podcasts, Mike and I are in the process of reaching out to playwrights – both emerging and established – in order to pick their brain and create regular resource that our members can make use of in their own practice.

Our hope is that their answers and insights will prove useful for our own members and emerging writers of all backgrounds and experience. At the very least, it will provide entertaining conversation for our future podcasts and workshops and shed more light on how the Simon Stephenses, Lucky Kirkwoods and Alistair McDowell’s of the world get cracking on a play.

Below is a list of questions that both individuals and groups came up with in the October workshop. It is by no means a complete list, and if you were unable to attend last month’s workshop or have thought of a new question to throw into the mix, feel free to leave it in the comments and  we’ll add it to the list.

What’s a specific, pragmatic piece of advice to help someone start writing?
When did you first realise you wanted to write plays?
What play or production changed your life?
Do you think giving advice is useful?
Is there ONE book everyone should read?
As a writer, is it necessarily to like the characters you create?
Tell us a line or piece of dialogue you wish had made it into one of your plays?
How many re-drafts does it take? 
What’s the secret to finding a great title?
Tell us one of your stimuluses? What motivates or inspires you to start writing?
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?
How do you make a living?
How can I make writing a viable career? 
What’s the first thing you do when you finish a play?
What’s the most self indulgent thing you’re doing at the moment?
What do you think is the worst and best play you’ve written?
Would you redraft any of older plays?
Besides theatre, what is your favourite art form? 
Do you have a plan B? And if so, what is it?
How do you begin a first draft?
What  steps do you take leading up to your first draft?
How much pre-planning do you do? 
How do you interpret the idea of ‘relevance’ when it comes to writing?
How do you justify if something is ‘relevant’?
How do you choose your subject?
How do you judge a subject’s worth?
Do you write for a given audience or do you just write?
Where do you write?
How do you turn inspiration into an idea?
How do you turn an idea into a play?
How do you unlock the dramatic form of your play?
Are you conscious of the other collaborators when you’re writing? (Actors, designers, etc?)
Are you thinking of the economics and ‘producability’ of your play when you’re writing?
What do you read and what are you reading now?
What are your outside interests/hobbies?
How do you solve the problem of the ‘middle of the play?
Do you think scratch-nights are useful?

So, quite an extensive and in-depth list, as you can see. Is there a question you think is missing or something you want to add? Let us know.

Lee and Mike