How to Start the Play You're Writing
Part of the Playwriting For Dummies Cheat Sheet
The opening of your play needs to grab the audience; otherwise the battle is lost before it begins. Following are some of the elements of a strong start:
Start your play as far into the story as possible. Pick a point of attack (opening scenario) that’s well into the story, just before the inciting incident.
Upset the status quo. Be sure that something happens early on (the inciting incident) to upset the world of your protagonist, launching her on a mission to set things right.
Give your protagonist a critical mission. The audience will get behind your protagonist if what your protagonist is after — the goal— is urgent, important, and crystal clear to the audience.
Be sure that the antagonist provides strong obstacles. The more even the battle, the greater the suspense.
Get the backstory in. Throughout the play, when it’s necessary to do so, gradually weave into the dialogue the backstory, relevant events that happened before the start of the play.