Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Playwright's Compost

So I can hear you yelling at me from here, "But, Dr. Fronkensteen, compost is for gardening not writing a play." I know that, but there is a great tool in the playwright's belt that, like compost, allows a fertile environment for a play idea to be germinated.

A playwright's compost is a list of a few things that inspire and influence you artistically that you keep coming back to in your writing life. Unlike mood boards and character thumb nails which give you inspiration on one show. I'm talking about a working morgue that you keep adding to and coming back to for information every now and then for ideas. Here's what my personal compost includes...

A Playwright's Compost

Your Top Ten

  • Favorite Villains
  • Favorite Heroes
  • Favorite Movies
  • Favorite TV Shows
  • Favorite Plays
  • Favorite Books
  • Favorite Songs
  • Least Favorite of the Above


  • Scenes from past projects that never worked.
  • Inspiring Photos
  • Inspiring Quotes
  • Inspiring Newspaper/Magazine Articles


  • People that you've seen and never forgotten.
  • People that inspire you.


  • Favorite Moments
  • Moment's you've never seen but is good.
So what does this list do for you? Well the reason that you like these things is that they inspired or influenced you in some way. This is how you see and hear. This is also how you think artistically. So the next time that you have a major case of writer's block you can go back to what inspires you for guidance. Sometimes going back to my favorite stories tells me how I want my current story told.

Stay tuned for exercises that help you use your compost to create more stories.

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