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The Art of Dramatic Writing : Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives - Lajos Egri

The Art of Dramatic Writing

Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives

eBook Published: 15th February 1972
ISBN: 9781439123799
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Amid the hundreds of "how-to" books that have appeared in recent years, there have been very few which attempted to analyze the mysteries of play-construction. This book does that -- and its principles are so valid that they apply equally well to the short story, novel and screenplay.

Lajos Egri examines a play from the inside out, starting with the heart of any drama: its characters. For it is people -- their private natures and their inter-relationships -- that move a story and give it life. All good dramatic writing depends upon an understanding of human motives. Why do people act as they do? What forces transform a coward into a hero, a hero into a coward? What is it that Romeo does early in Shakespeare's play that makes his later suicide seem inevitable? Why must Nora leave her husband at the end of A Doll's House?

These are a few of the fascinating problems which Egri analyzes. He shows how it is essential for the author to have a basic premise -- a thesis, demonstrated in terms of human behavior -- and to develop his dramatic conflict on the basis of that behavior. Premise, character, conflict: this is Egri's ABC. His book is a direct, jargon-free approach to the problem of achieving truth in a literary creation.

Industry Reviews

Moss Hart I found Lajos Egri's book enormously interesting -- one of the best I have ever read.







1. The Bone Structure

2. Environment

3. The Dialectical Approach

4. Character Growth

5. Strength of Will in a Character

6. Plot or Character -- Which?

7. Characters Plotting Their Own Play

8. Pivotal Character

9. The Antagonist

10. Orchestration

11. Unity of Opposites


1. Origin of Action

2. Cause and Effect

3. Static

4. Jumping

5. Rising

6. Movement

7. Foreshadowing Conflict

8. Point of Attack

9. Transition

10. Crisis, Climax, Resolution


1. Obligatory Scene

2. Exposition

3. Dialogue

4. Experimentation

5. The Timeliness of a Play

6. Entrances and Exits

7. Why Are Some Bad Plays Successful?

8. Melodrama

9. On Genius

10. What Is Art? -- A Dialogue

11. When You Write a Play

12. How to Get Ideas

13. Writing for Television

14. Conclusion

APPENDIX A. Plays Analyzed

APPENDIX B. How to Market Your Play

APPENDIX C. Long Runs on Broadway


ISBN: 9781439123799
ISBN-10: 1439123799
Audience: General
Format: ePUB
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 15th February 1972
Publisher: Touchstone