Dramatic Writing

Study dramatic writing, learn about writing compelling drama - learn how to plan, and develop your ideas and stories. Study by distance learning - by correspondence, online, or by eLearning. Learn from highly experienced specialist tutors.

Course CodeBWR110
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Dramatic Writing Course - develop your skills to write engaging and compelling drama.

Do you have a flair for dramatic writing? Or, would you like to improve your dramatic writing skills? Well, drama queens (and kings) can make money writing!


What will this course do for you?

  • Guide you into writing engaging and powerful plots.

  • Encourage you to express your ideas clearly and in an exciting way.

  • Help you to develop your story ideas.

  • Get you started!

What type of writing can benefit from this course?

  • This course will help you no matter what style of writing you do, or where in the world you live.

  • Short stories

  • Poems

  • Novels

  • Screen plays etc. 

Dramatic writing can be useful in all of these.  This course includes lessons looking at many different writing styles (including screen writing) and allows you to apply them to your own work. 

Learn at home, guided by an international team of experienced, published, professional writers.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Motivation
    • Typing Time
    • Types of Writing : Reflection, Exposition, Description, Explanation, Argument
    • Making Decisions about what to Write
    • Know your stuff
    • The concept
    • Synopsis
    • Keeping a Notebook
    • Process of Story Development
    • Planning a Story
    • Developing your Voice
    • Useful terms
  2. Characters
    • Developing the characters
    • Building Characters
    • Main Characters
    • Minor Characters
  3. Theme & Genre
    • Developing a Theme
    • Universal Themes
    • Sub Themes
    • Creating Conflict
    • Names
  4. Plot Development
    • First Decisions
    • Ambience
    • The End of a Story
    • Types of Dramatic Story: Memoirs, Biographies, Reflective Stories, Historical etc
  5. Weaving a Story
    • Techniques: Action, Emotion, Mirror; Parallel lives, Palm Cards
    • Writers Block
    • Developing a Story Line
    • Things to Avoid
    • Different Approaches: Dialectic, Transition
    • How a Character Affects a Plot
    • How Plot Affects Genre
    • Goals
    • Consequences
    • Motive
    • Flashbacks and Flashforwards
  6. Writing a Dramatic Short Story
    • Main Character and Antagonist
    • Creating a Sense of Place
    • Counting Out Your Story
    • Short Stories
  7. Developing Sub Plots
    • Method
    • Plants
    • Activity
  8. Writing a Chapters for a Dramatic Work (Novel or Play)
    • Getting Published
    • Writing Resources
    • Writing as a Business
    • Vanity Publishing
    • Dealing with Publishers
    • Creating a Chapter or Segment of a larger work

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Define and develop an understanding of dramatic writing.
  • Develop methods of developing characters in dramatic writing.
  • Define different genres and develop themes for dramatic writing.
  • Develop techniques for developing your plot.
  • Describe techniques for weaving a story.
  • Develop a short story using dramatic writing.
  • Develop a chapter of dramatic writing.
  • Determine how to develop sub plots.

Different Types of Dramatic Writing

 There are many different types of writing – short stories, poems, novels, screen plays etc. Dramatic writing can fall into all of these. A short story usually takes place over a shorter period of time. It is often set in just one setting/scene, and the characters may be shown with broader strokes – there is not as much time to analyse characters as there is with novel writing.

A novel, however, allows more space to describe characters and scenes. There may be more than one scene and more than one plot. The plots may be multilayered. 

Writing comes in many forms, all of which can be creatively employed and manipulated by the creative writer, regardless of the genre (novel, poetry, travel guide etc.) in which they are writing. One form of writing is rarely used on its own. 

Common forms of dramatic writing are:
  • Reflection: An internal process of reviewing and making meaning from one's own experience.

  • Exposition or Reporting: Covers a wide area of writing. Events, thoughts and situations are exposed or shown to the reader, as in textbooks, magazine articles or news stories, but also when the narrator or a character takes an informing role. One very important form of reporting or exposition for writers is description.

  • Description: The reporting of information to convey an impression or feeling about a place, person, thing or idea, rather than facts. Description can be a small part of a particular narrative, or the main part of it. A lot of good travel writing is descriptive, as is a lot of fiction. Consider the heavy overlapping of description and exposition in this description of a circus performer by E.B. White (not in one of her novels, but in a newspaper article):
    The richness of the scene was in its plainness, its natural condition - of horse, of ring, of girl, even to the girl's bare feet that gripped the bare back of her proud and ridiculous mount. The enchantment grew not out of anything that happened … but out of something that seemed to go round and round with the girl, attending her, a steady gleam in the shape of a circle …

  • Explanation: A process of leading another person to a particular understanding or perception through information and reason, rather than through persuasive language. It includes instruction, rules and guidelines, argument and analysis.

  • Argument: Aims to persuade the reader to change their viewpoint or attitude about an idea or situation. It is often quite rhetorical in nature. [Rhetoric is the art of persuading through emotion, but using elements of logic or reason (often quite illogically)]. Most political speeches are rhetorical in nature. Argument typically presents two points of view; then builds a case for one of them, and either refutes or overwhelms the other.

Who can benefit from taking this course?

  • Writers wanting to work on plays, teleplays, screenplays, and novels and short stories.
  • Writers needing new approaches to characterisation, and how to tie a character's actions back to his or her emotional and mental aspects.
  • Writers wanting a deeper understanding of theme, structure, and narrative arc. Approaching the material from a dramatic perspective helps writers understand different approaches to writing, and how ideas and pieces from one type of writing can be applied to another. All writing is really about cross-pollination.
  • Writers seeking to try something new, or get out of a rut with their current work.
  • Writers wanting to improve their written dialogue.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Understand how to develop a character and improve characterisation.

  • Understand the principles of compelling dialogue.

  • Understand what narrative arc and three-act structure are, and how to use them.

  • Understand how to create and resolve conflict without losing the reader's interest.


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