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Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing a Play vs. Writing Fiction

Does writing a play differ from writing a novel?

Anton Piatigorsky, author of The Iron Bridge


Read an excerpt from an interview with award-winning playwright and novelist Anton Piatigorsky. His latest novel, The Iron Bridge, is now available in paperback.

Fiction, I’ve learned the hard way, is very different from playwrighting. Writing a play is much like creating a blueprint for an experience, and so I would say that the craft has a lot in common with composing, architecture and acting. Maybe more in common with those arts than it does with novel or story writing. A book is not a blueprint — it is the thing itself. So even when the plot is moving quickly, I find the pace slower. The words alone have to do more of the work. The research is the same, and many of the structural qualities are the same as well, but I definitely had to learn different skills. The dialogue, of course, came naturally to me. Still, even then, a conversation works in different ways on the page than it does on the stage. Ideally, I’d go back and forth between the two forms. Both offer something that the other can’t do as well, and I love them equally. If my brain can handle switching, I think I’d be happiest doing both in the future.

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