Monday, March 19, 2007

The Three Questions

This will probably be my last post for a couple of days. I leave Monday morning and won't be back until Thursday.

I listened to NPR today while I was working and heard an interview with David Mamet, the playwright.

He talked about the differences between writing novels and writing plays. He was vaguely contemptuous of novel writers, saying they could get away with more than writers of drama could.

He said that drama focuses on making the audience hunger to know more and to know which character they should be rooting for.

Mamet listed the three questions that a play must answer:

1) Who wants what from whom?
2) What happens if they don't get it?
3) Why now?

As I listened to the interview, I found myself thinking these were excellent questions for a novelist to answer.

Does your novel make readers crazy to know what happens next?

See you soon.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Safe trip! =o)

I think my books make the reader hunger to know what's next - at least that's what my beta readers keep telling me.

You know, I hate it when people make statements like 'novel writers can get away with more than drama writers'. Each type of writing has its own points. For instance: Drama writers can rely on the actors to provide visual cues to the end-user. Novelists have to create it all on paper in order to get the point across to the end-user.

"The grass is always greener in someone else's lawn." ;o)

Maya Reynolds said...

B.E.: I had EXACTLY the same reaction. "Oh, get over yourself, Mamet."