Playwriting For Dummies
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The characters in your play must be fully developed, as close to real people as you can make them. The keys to creating believable characters are details and specificity. If you know your characters as well as you know your best friends, you’re more likely to know what they will do under the circumstances of your play.

So write mini-biographies of all your characters. The time you invest in doing this will pay off later. Here are some of the things you should know about all of your characters and why:

  • Gender: Men and women react to life’s events in very different ways.

  • Parents: Parents, even absent ones, have a profound influence on their kids.

  • Siblings: Relationships later in life can be influenced by experiences with siblings.

  • Schooling: Education, or the lack of it, can influence a person’s daily life.

  • Work: People often measure themselves by their work and earnings.

  • Relationships: People who are married or in committed relationships usually behave and think differently than single folks.

  • Religion: People’s choices and behaviors can be powerfully influenced by religion.

  • Race/ethnicity: People of different backgrounds make different choices in similar situations.

  • Politics: Political beliefs can strongly affect what that person chooses to do.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Angelo Parra is an award-winning playwright who has received national acclaim for several of his plays. He teaches theatre and playwriting at SUNY Rockland. Angelo is the founder and director of the Hudson Valley Professional Playwrights Lab and president of the board of Penguin Rep Theatre in Stony Point, New York.

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