Playwriting: Day Two

Daily Prompt #51: Inspired by Music

As the music plays, write down whatever comes to your mind.

Today, we’re going to do some practice writing dialogue. You’ll be writing two different scenes of dialogue.

First Scene: find a partner. With your partner, select one of the sample characters listed below (or come up with your own). Decide on a scenario where these two characters would be talking and write their conversation. Write it like a play script. Don’t worry about quotation marks and dialogue tags.

Be prepared to share. I’ll ask for a few volunteers.

Second Scene: on your own. Select two new characters listed below (or come up with your own). Just as before, decide on a scenario where these two characters would be talking and write their conversation. Write in screenplay or play script form. Use the remainder of the hour.

Sample Character List
from the National Writing Project

  • movie star and fanatic fan
  • officer and speeder
  • psychiatrist and patient
  • waiter/waitress and diner
  • man on a ledge and psychologist
  • principal and student
  • hairdresser/barber and client
  • teacher and parent
  • little sis and big sis
  • driving instructor and student driver
  • deejay and phone-in listener
  • reporter and accident witness
  • priest and confessor
  • cheerleader and nerd
  • girl and boy on blind date
  • dogcatcher and dog owner
  • player and coach
  • two late-night grocery shoppers
  • girl’s date and little brother or sister
  • flight attendant and passenger
  • man and God
  • angel and devil on character’s shoulder

Playwriting: Day One

Daily Prompt #49: Writing from Music

Listen to this song.  As you do, write whatever pops into your head.

Music can lead to amazing moments of brilliance.  Try it out!

Today, we are going to read together two scripts from former students who submitted to the Michigan State University’s Playwriting Competition.

To understand how to format a playscript, you’re all getting a copy of a sample script outline (courtesy of the MSU contest). Additionally, here is a diagram which explains stage directions.

With the time remaining, we’ll continue brainstorming ideas for either movie scripts or play scripts, discussing what content works best for each form.


Screenwriting: Day Three

Daily Prompt #49: Responding to Art

Look at the image below, then free write for seven minutes about it. See where the image and your mind take you!

Hi folks!

Let’s review the handouts: Building Blocks of a Script and Formatting a Script.

Next, practice formatting a short scene from Toy Story with a partner. The activity can be found on the back of the “Formatting a Script” packet.


Now, alone or with a partner, try your hand at writing a mini screenplay for the following scenario:

John heard a strange noise in the closet. As he crossed the room to investigate, he heard Diana scream something terrifying. He tried to decide what to do. Then, he made his decision.

Elaborate as much as you want. Be prepared to share and discuss with the class.






Screenwriting: Day Two

Daily Prompt #48: Writing from Music

Listen to this song.  As you do, write whatever pops into your head.

Music can lead to amazing moments of brilliance.  Try it out!

Today, we’re going to continue studying scripts for the screen.  Specifically, we’re going to watch brief excerpts from the pilot episode of Lost and the movie, Titanic.  As we watch, we’re going to practice how what we see on the screen translates onto paper into script form.

Screenwriting: Day One

Daily Prompt #47: Inspired by Images

Courtesy of Pixabay

Inspired by this image, write for ten minutes. Your choice of topic and form is completely up to you. See where the art and your writing take you.

For this unit, you’re going to learn how to write both movie and play scripts. Since both are meant to be performed and seen, our daily prompts will be both image and music-related.

To start this unit, you’re going to study excerpts from three different film genres and complete the linked activity.  Once you’re done completing the activity, we’ll talk about what the elements of movie scripts are.



Crafting a Letter to a Poet

Daily Prompt #43: Color Poem

Try your hand at writing a color poem using the provided handout as a guide.

Take ten minutes.

Now that you’ve watched 11 poets read their work, it’s time to select the one you were most intrigued by.

Let’s figure out who you want to write to and get into groups based on that. From there, you can discuss the poem and start to determine what you might like to say to the poet.  Can you identify the poet’s voice?  What lines spoke to you and why?  Do you share any similarities with the poet?  What questions do you have?

As a class, let’s determine what these letters should look like, including what to avoid.

Tomorrow we’ll be in the lab so you can type your letters and email them to the poets.

Here are the specific guidelines:

Have at least two of your peers read over your letter before emailing to ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.

Your letter must contain your name, the name of the poet you’re writing to, and our school name and address (see this sample letter template)

The formal address to include in your letter is Academy of American Poets, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901, New York, NY 10038

You may choose to type your letter directly in the email or attach it as a pdf.

Send your letter to

“CC” your teacher on your email to ensure you get credit ( OR

Complete this assignment by Sunday night (April 30th). It cannot be turned in late for credit.

If there’s time today, you can feel free to play around with any of the poetic styles we learned about this week.




Class Chain Story

Daily Prompt #28: Catharsis

Write for five minutes about whatever is floating around your brain right now.

Today you’re going to have fun writing collaboratively.

Step One:
Everyone, open your notebook to a fresh page.  Write down a title for a story which doesn’t exist (yet).

Step Two:
When everyone is done, pass your notebooks to the left. Read the title of the new notebook in your hand, then begin writing the beginning of a story for it.

Step Three:
Whenever the teacher says, “Pass!” you should pass to the left. You will do this several times.

Step Four:
When it is the last pass, the teacher will tell you so that you know to finish the story.

By the end of the activity, you will each get your notebooks back, complete with a story created by the class.

Have fun!