Select Page

Without a doubt, the #1 most common question that people ask writers is:

“Where do you get your ideas?”

We get them, of course, everywhere. From snippets of overheard dialogue. From images of a forboding landscape. From a relationship dynamic between two friends. From a crazy “what if” idea. From watching a play that we would have taken in a completely different direction.

Ideas are everywhere.

In a way, deciding what your play is going to be about is sometimes the easy part. Because you’ve probably got a half-dozen ideas for plays you could write. And if you don’t, I bet you could come up with that many in an hour or less.

This is one area of playwriting where, I think, we sometimes go too fast. In other words, I think many playwrights start writing their play too quickly–before settling on the absolute best idea they can come up with.

Think about it this way. When you start writing a play, how long does it take you to finish it? Three months? Six months? Longer?

That’s a significant time investment.

And because of that, I believe it’s worth taking extra time–more time than most playwrights take–to consciously brainstorm more play ideas and come to a careful decision about which is the most promising, the most intriguing, or the most interesting to you.

Don’t settle for a so-so premise.

I don’t have any magic bullets for achieving this. For one thing, everyone’s taste is subjective, which means an amazing premise to me might only be a so-so premise to you, and vice versa.

But I can say that if there’s one thing that has always helped me to improve my play ideas, it’s time.

When I dedicate more time to consciously developing more ideas, and giving my brain time to noodle on them, I always end up with a play idea that I’m much more excited about.

And speaking of play ideas, the PSH Playwriting Course has an entire lesson on coming up with–and developing–better play ideas. Plus, it also contains a 5-part video series with 5 places to look for better ideas.

The course is available to members here: