Time Structures

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Order 'In my writing I have looked back in time, at my parents and at my grandparents, who lived in Japan. I figured that if I told their stories I could move on to my own generation, and then on to speculating about what life might be like for the next generation of Japanese Americans.'

-- Philip Kan Gotanda



Time can be a great asset in storytelling, if you want to get tangled up in it. But you can ignore this business of time -- and most playwrights do -- if you use the simplest structure possible.

Start the story's clock with the Point of Attack in Act I and turn it off at the end of the Resolution in Act II [or Act III].

You're presenting the Plot's events in the linear order in which they logically occurred. Even if you have an Intermission at the end of Act I, no story time goes by while the audience is out in the lobby . . .

Continuous Time Examples


But if Exposition doesn't seem to do the job of telling us enough about the past, you can show us with . . .

Flashbacks


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