How to convert a Story into a Play: This post comes out as a whim on my part amidst the story writing posts. But with my previous article being on how to write a play, I’d to make this as I’ve gone further on playing with my short dramas and short stories.
Writing a drama/play is one thing, writing a short story is another. But say you already have your script ready in the form of a descriptive story and look forward to converting it to a play. Going through the entire writing word-to-word and redrafting your drama is one way. Another way is to make small changes to your existing work.
There are a few key elements that change when it comes to adapting a play into a story. So here’s how to convert a story into a play!
How to Convert a Story into a Play – Story Dramatisation
While these tips help you to adapt whichever format of writing, many details depend on your requirements. The length of the play, budget, and availability of special effects – all come into the picture.
Here are some essential tips on how to convert a story into a play:
- Summarize and pick out its main plot
- Choose the Style of your Drama
- List out the key characters from the story
- Design your Acts and overall layout of the play
- Focus less on descriptions and more on action
- Link the play well in order of the story events.
- Think out music, lighting, and timings
- Make a rehearsal and get feedback!
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There’s much more to playwriting than stories. After all, there’s no constraint with imagination in story writing. But a play is written keeping in mind the size of the stage, number of characters, lighting and backgrounds, the budget of the show, and so on.
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Writing short stage plays.
Be it how to adapt a play, how to dramatize a story, or how to turn a story into a play – this process can also go the other way i.e. converting a play into a story.
More writing tips on this blog:
1. Summarize the Story and Pick out its Main Plot
The first thing to do on how to convert a story into a play is to summarize your story. Bring in a synopsis, the whole plot of the short story into a single idea.
Leave out the minute details that can’t be portrayed in plays. Descriptions of characters’ faces, expressions, and hand gestures don’t play important roles as they do in stories.
Unless the details add to the plot, exclude the descriptions from your summary. Depending on your play’s requirement, you can add or remove dialogues or descriptive details from the play. The summary of the story draws a skeletal structure for your play.
It’s similar to going through edits of the story to get its final form.
2. Choose the Style of Drama
Sure, you’re writing a play, but in what form do you imagine it in? Is it a drama with stringed puppets or a musical? It doesn’t matter whether you have control over the budget of your play or its location and direction, but keep the storyline well thought of.
This helps you glide through the narration of dialogues, characters’ actions and positions in every acts, their entry and exit, all specific to your imagination. The more well-planned out, the easier it gets to implement it later.
We may need to make changes later on while executing and rehearsing – but let its original form be of value and
3. List out the Key Characters
The word ‘key’ here is significant. Not every character has to be in a play. Stories in their long descriptive forms have no constraints on the events.
However, that’s what makes stage playwriting a challenge. Unlike novel writing, stage plays deal more with real-world constraints and less of audience imagination. Some reasons to cut down on the characters:
- The stage gets overcrowded with people
- The audience is confused about the many roles.
- More actors simply cannot be hired on the budget.
4. Design your Acts and Layout
Dealing with the hurdles of theatrical dramas again, they have a limit to the landscapes of the story taking place.
With the short story in mind, bring the play into a set of Acts. Most plays have 2-3 acts/landscapes, so stick down your events in groups. With the plot being the same, play around with the story and create a suitable order of events.
5. Focus less on Descriptions and More on Dialogues
Similar to the first step, filter out the unnecessary detailing once more. While short stories shouldn’t require weeding out long descriptions, novels and novellas do.
A book takes a reader through every movement of the key roles – every emotion, every eyebrow raise, and dialogue. A play doesn’t have that luxury with the large audience sitting afar from the exhibit.
Along with descriptions, consider excluding some dialogues. Be careful about what you eliminate. Not all character dialogues add up to the main plot but bring out a message subtly to its audience. Even a few words, one-word dialogues, or a silent gesture can bring a huge impact!
6. Link the play in the order of events
Here’s where the beauty of a play is – an audience never gets bored of the same story played by different people. can watch the same story before them a hundred times with different characters, settings, and directions, and it’ll still remain fresh.
Well, provided they love the story in the first place, of course. Some plays are obvious – Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s series, Pinocchio, and Peter pan. The costumes for such plays immediately bring out the familiar story to its audience.
But others are more story-oriented. So make sure to keep the order of significant events in the story to make it recognizable. Changing up the minute actions is fine, things that go unnoticed in the overall view.
But try to stick to the storyline as close as possible and improvise only if necessary. It’s essential when speaking of how to convert a story into a play.
7. Music, Lighting and Timings
Until now, there’s been only bringing down your story into the constraints of the real world. But it doesn’t end there. As a play writer, take a step forward and make it your job to dig deeper into the music, lighting and timings of the drama.
This tends to be more of scripting, but the narration by one person is far more clear than a bunch unless you’re working with millions of dollars at stake. You’ve planned out the play well, now click that play button and rehearse it with your characters.
Add relevant music, music effects, and lighting based on the dialogue and situation at the particular moment. It doesn’t have to specify exact music clips, but a transparent description such as ‘thunders roar’ should be enough.
An example of lighting effects would be to make use of cool colors during the normal acts of the play and bright reds when the scene turns suddenly dark.
8. Make a Rehearsal and Take Feedback
Make your best to get a rehearsal together with your characters. The closer to its final form, the better. Get your team to put up with their costumes. If you’re submitting your play script to a big agency where you’ve no control over the following changes, direction, costumes, try rehearsing out with your own team beforehand.
Take feedback on how it went from strangers and other fellow team members. For short plays, multiple rehearsal with further edits to the script is even better.
Converting Stories into More Forms
Most of the time, it’s about adapting a play from a story. However, there are times when one wishes to develop a story script from a play.
How to Convert a Poem into a Story
We’ve seen the famous play by William Shakespeare, the writer of Romeo and Juliet, turned into scripts, stories, and even a movie. There’s more to materialize when it comes to this development.
While we try and bring down the story to the real-world constraints with fewer descriptions, it’s the opposite with adapting a story script from a play. Observe the play script, elaborate descriptions, and add more touch to the emotions and gestures when you’re drafting the story.
Feel free to add in your touch of luring the readers with your writing style and words here. There’s more of an advantage here; It’s left to the story writer’s imaginations to where the story strides.
How to Convert a Story into a Screenplay
Screenplays refer to a series of on-screen episodes, movies, or even short films. Writing a play is comparatively easier when it comes to converting a story into a script for films. Especially when you’re looking to submit your script to an industry professional.
The format of your script plays an important role. You wouldn’t want to get rejected the moment people flip through the first script page for its format. When submitting to any organization, read their guidelines thoroughly as different film companies have different requirements. Read this screenplay format by FilmFunds.h
Tailpiece to how to convert a Story into a Play
That concludes on how to convert a story into a play. Regarding the format of a play, there isn’t much apart from the character along with their dialogues, acts segregation, and narration.
Speaking of narration, there’s no hard and fast of the narrator to be on or off the stage. It’s left to one’s convenience. That finished this piece on how to convert a story into a play.
Happy writing :)
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