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- How to captivate readers’ attention with drama – Jamiu Ahmed | MMM Writers Lecture
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Last Updated on May 28, 2018 by Memorila
In today’s Making Monday Mild Writers’ Lecture corner with Jamiu Ahmed, the renowned writer and blogger took us down the drama terrain, explaining the best ways to plunge readers into the ocean of action. MMM is hosted by Diepireye Rita George.
Drama basically means action and writing drama is like you’re giving your words life to live at that particular point in time.
Writing a scenery is like capturing one section of life at a given PLACE and TIME.
I lay emphasis on the given PLACE and TIME because a scene must happen somewhere at a given instance of time.
What’s now a scene?
A scene is the place, time and circumstance, in which anything happens.
A Scene answers the questions of:
When, where, who, what, which, whom and the likes
A scene can happen anywhere and anytime like: 2:00AM in the bedroom, 9:00AM in the classroom, 3:00PM in the cafeteria, roadside, et al just any given place as at that point in time.
That’s why drama of all literary genres takes PRESENT TENSE.
The four basic things you need to write a flash drama are setting, character, dialogue and stage direction.
SETTING: This is the exact time, the exact location and the circumstances surrounding where the incident happens. The description of the place, the things around them, the characters, what they wear, and the people around them.. et al…
It’s the first thing that starts a scene because it provides information of both the environment where action takes place and the characters too.
CHARACTERS: These are the people in the play. Short plays usually have comic characters, and the best thing is to build your characters in a more lively way because your characters are the emotional carrier of a drama, they turn words to action and make them come alive and real. Having a comic character or emotional is the best bet of getting your play right.
DIALOGUE: This is the conversation between the characters, dialogue is very important in the sense that, without it the characters are meaningless like a lifeless statue, it’s the dialogue that gives life to the characters and distinguishes them from lifeless words. Study your characters very well and their lifestyle, know the kind of words you’re familiar with that kind people in the world and apply it to them.
STAGE DIRECTION: This is usually written in a bracket, examples:
(Teacher frowns, leaves the classroom)
It involves the moods and the movement of the characters on the stage. I call stage direction the “action centre” because it’s where things are executed and buried. Since a play is a written to be practically staged or acted, the stage direction help the director to guide the characters and the characters to know what to do, when, and where to do it. It also helps the readers/audience to get along with the characters and motion of the play.
Now let’s look at this flash drama.
9:00AM Morning. Inside the classroom of basic 9, Hopewell College, Warri City, Delta State, Nigeria.
Teacher in a white shirt and black trousers enters the classroom holding a book.
[The students stand up to greet him].
STUDENTS: [All stands up, except Okon] Good morning sah!!! We are happy to see you sah!!!, God bless you sah!!!
TEACHER: [With Warri tone mixed British accent] Amen, Goodd morningg student, sit down everybody.
STUDENTS: [They all sit] Thank you sah.
TEACHER: [Opens his book] Someone should rub off the board, today we will talk about Nouns.
STUDENTS: [Efe stands up to wipe off the board] OK sir.
TEACHER: [Looks around, saw Okon eating, calls him] Okon! What are you doing?
OKON: [Spits out, stands up] Nothing sah!
TEACHER: [Looks surprise] I saw you chewing something.
OKON: [Looks both side] Nothing sah!, I’m just cramming my note.
TEACHER: [looks more confused] Ok, tell us what is a noun?
OKON: [smiles to himself: (someone no fit eat in peace again)] A noun is the name of groundnuts in my garri and the name of places to get them.
TEACHER: [Hisses] God safe you say you getam.
STUDENTS: [Clap for him, shouting his name] Okon! Okon!! Okon!!!
OKON: [put his hands together up, whisper silently to himself] Thank you father for this early momoh garri and groundnut…
Jamiu Ahmed is a young Lagos based voice in the realm of writing and literary world.
He is currently a blogger, the founder and the editor of Liberal Poetry, the blog where he publishes his poetry works.
Some of his poems have been featured and published in some anthologies, online websites and blogs, his poem has made the top list in a 10 days poetry challenge organised by Poets in Nigeria (PIN), his poem has made the top list in a monthly poetry competition organized by the WRR known as Word Rhymes and Rhythm.
Hope you’ve been inspired by this piece.
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Happy New Week!