Writing Drama



I am currently writing my first drama script and would love to get advise and/or feedback on a few things. I have been a writer for six years now but have only recently begun writing screenplays, prior to that I was a sportrswriter for a newspaper and a non-fiction writer. I recently wrote my first script, a horror, and surprisingly enough it came rather natural to me. My next project, however, is not going as smooth. I want to write a drama but am having a tough time determining what is drama and what is just plian boring. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to write intrieging drama without putting people to sleep. (My general plot line is that of a hot shot movie producer living in California in his mid thirties when he gets word his father, whom he hasnt spoken to in almost 20 years, in on his deathbed. He returns home for his dad's funeral torn about never getting the chance to patch things up...it gets even more complicated because his sister hates his guts for leaving home all those years ago and he meets up with his old love interest as well. Basically it's a wasted time and rekindled relationship plot. I know its not exactly oscar worthy but its only my second script and thats about the best I can do right now!) Any comments, suggestions, etc. would be very welcome!


New member
That's a very broad question! "What is drama?"

Drama (to me at least) is any script that isn't a comedy. Pretty much every script has elements of drama in it. It may not all be watery eyes kind of drama, but drama anyways.

To keep people from getting bored I think the number one thing is to have intriging characters. Make them people with faults that the audience can relate to; so the audience will pay attention and care about them. Also, you could add a lot of small incidents to develop the characters and their relationships to each other.

That's all I can think of right now. Basically, just write whatever you want, read it over yourself, and if you think it's boring you're probably right. (I find that writers can be very judgemental of their own writing!)


New member
The best way to write drama is like writing any other genre. Start with a good logline. What objective does your protagonist want to achieve? The more specific, the better. As a former journalist, your logline should reflect the basics you already know: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

Schindler wanted to save Jews by giving them jobs. (Schndler's List)

Sam wanted to keep his daughter from going into foster care. (I Am Sam)

Rick wanted to win Ilsa's love back. (Casablanca)


New member
The number one thing that defines a good drama (well any movie for that matter) is character development. It's what draws people in and what makes the audience fall in love and really care about the charatcters. And the only way to do that is to have the character grow with the audience.


New member
You have a good story.

Drama is a story borne out of conflict between characters. The conflict which drives the story must lead to character development - for better or for worst.

Drama has moments of tension, dramatic irony, and an engaging pace as well as interesting characters.

In your story, you have already set up the conflict - a successful film producer has to return to see his ailing father whom he has not spoken to for 20 years. The conflict is already between these two characters who have not spoken. What is the source of the conflict is on the audiences minds as the story unravels, and I am sure you will release bits of background information one step at a time to retain viewer interest and keep them on the edge of your seat.

Since the father is dead by the time the protagonists reaches home, the conflict continues in the form of his sister.

And then you also have an inner conflict within himself, which will lead to the development of his character.

Essentially, the story arc should be about the protagonist who wants something. However, there is an obstacle in his way, and the overcoming of that obstacle forms the story and the drama. This is the conflict.

When he ovecomes the obstacle, this is usually celebrated with a renewed vision or the creation of a new world. The protagonist sometimes goes right back to where he started, but the experience in overcoming the obstacle has given him new perspectives and insights and he is not the same person who began the story.

In this case, it could be something intangible which he is seeking that leads him to go to California and become a producer. It could be his search for this something which leads to him and his father not speaking.

So, there must be an obstacle to him search for this elusive something. And in overcoming the obstacle, he rediscovers himself and sees things with new eyes. It is like the discovery or creation of a new world at the end.

You have an interesting story and I hope it develops into a great script. Look forward to hearing more about it.


New member
It sounds like an interesting story. It's been a while, but for some reason it reminds me vividly of "Garden State". But then, I'm having a hard time remembering the plot at the moment.