Page 1 of Notes on Lajos Egri's “Art of Creative Writing”. 1. Universal Man. Every type of creative writing depends on the credibility of a character. Whatever a. Title: THE ART OF DRAMATIC WRITING. Other Titles: ITS BASIS IN THE CREATIVE INTERPRETATION OF HUMAN MOTIVES. Authors: EGRI, LAJOS. Keywords: THE portal7.info, INTRODUCTION, kB, Adobe PDF, View/Open. Read "The Art of Dramatic Writing Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives" by Lajos Egri available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get.
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THE ART OF. DRAMATIC WRITING. Its Basis in the Creative. Interpretation of Human Motives. BY. LAJOS EGRI. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY. Editorial Reviews. portal7.info Review. For many years, Lajos Egri's highly opinionated but very enjoyable The Art of Dramatic Writing has been a. The Art of Dramatic Writing - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives by Lajos Egri.
First published in under the title "How to Write a Play," The Art of Dramatic Writing became such a landmark in not only playwriting, but storytelling of any kind, that it was revised in and given the title it has today. Lajos Egri's book is a classic, deconstructing the pieces of a play, analyzing them all, then putting the pieces back together in the simplest way, writing in an exceptionally organized fashion without any nonsensical attitude. The confusing jargon that fills the spaces of most guides, is nonexistent here. It is completely straightforward. Egri thinks writing should hold its ground on concepts present throughout the entirety of a play. The essentials, such as premise, transition, and character growth, are what he believes in. He is opposed to the idea that a play should center around singular facets, like exposition or an obligatory scene.
A satisfying structure - used in many of the book's examples - is one in which two characters with opposing flaws are inextricably bound together, leading to a crisis in which the conflict is resolved by some dramatic action. Later life[ edit ] Egri taught creative writing in his West Los Angeles home at Mayfield Avenue until shortly before his death.
He died of a heart attack at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. Hungarians in America: a biographical directory of professionals of Hungarian origin in the Americas. Hungarian University Association. New York Times. April 17, Writing teacher. He finds him: a nice kid, sixteen years old, with a sister. The father has disappeared, leaving behind the two kids and a sick wife.
He could not find a job, became disgusted with life in general, and left home. His wife died soon after. The girl of eighteen insisted she could look after her brother. She loved him, and it was unthinkable to live without him. She'd work. An orphan asylum could have taken Johnny, of course, but then "Poverty encourages crime" would be senseless as a premise. So Johnny prowls the streets while his sister works in a factory. Johnny has his own philosophy about everything. Other children look to their teachers and parents for guidance.
These teach: be obedient, be honest. Johnny knows from his own experience that this is all bunk. If he obeys the law he will go hungry many a day. So he has his own premise: "If you're smart enough you can get away with anything. He has stolen things and got away with it. Against Johnny stands the law, whose premise is: "You can't get away with it," or "Crime doesn't pay. Guys who got away with it.
He is sure they can outsmart any cop. There is Jack Colley, a local boy, for instance. He came from this very neighborhood. All the cops in the nation were chasing him, and he made fools of them.
He's tops. To know Johnny as you should, find out about his background, his education, ambition, hero worship, inspiration, friends. Then the premise will cover him and millions of other kids perfectly. If you see only that Johnny is a roughneck, and you don't know why, then you will need, and find, another premise, perhaps: "The lack of a strong police force encourages criminals. An ignorant person might say yes.
But you will have to explain why millionaires' sons do not go out and steal bread, like Johnny. If there were more police, would poverty and misery diminish in proportion? Experience says no. Then "Poverty encourages crime" is a truer, more practical premise. It is the premise of Dead End, by Sidney Kingsley. You must decide just how you are going to treat your premise. Will you indict society? Will you show poverty and a way out of poverty? Kingsley decided to show poverty only and let the audience draw its own conclusions.
If you wish to add anything to what Kingsley said, make a subpremise which will enlarge the original one. Enlarge it again, if necessary, so that it will fit your case perfectly. If in the process you find your premise untenable because you have changed your mind as to what you wished to say, formulate a new premise and discard the old.
Of course, this play will differ from Kingsley's. You can formulate any number of premises -- "poverty," "love," "hate" -- choosing the one that satisfies you most. You can arrive at your premise in any one of a great many ways. You may start with an idea which you at once convert to a premise, or you may develop a situation first and see that it has potentialities which need only the right premise to give them meaning and suggest an end.
Emotion can dictate many premises, but you must elaborate them before they can express the dramatist's idea. Test this with an emotion: jealousy. Jealousy feeds on the sensations generated by an inferiority complex. Jealousy, as such, cannot be a premise, because it designates no goal for the characters.
Would it be better if we put it thus: "Jealousy destroys"? No, although we now know what action it takes. Let us go further: "Jealousy destroys itself. We know, and the dramatist knows, that the play will continue until jealousy has destroyed itself. The author may build on it as he chooses, saying, perhaps, "Jealousy destroys not only itself but the object of its love. The variations are endless, and with each new variation the premise of the play is changed.
But whenever you change your premise, you will have to go back to the beginning and rewrite your synopsis in terms of the new premise. If you start out with one premise and switch to another, the play will suffer.
No one can build a play on two premises, or a house on two foundations. See synopsis and analysis on page The premise of Tartuffe is: "He who digs a pit for others falls into it himself. Tartuffe was taken into the house by her son, Orgon. Tartuffe is obviously a scoundrel masquerading as a holy man.
Tartuffe's real objective is to have an illicit love affair with Orgon's wife and to take possession of his fortune. His piousness has captured Orgon's heart, and he now believes in Tartuffe as if he were the Saviour incarnate.
But let's go back to the very beginning of the play. The author's objective is to establish the first part of the premise as quickly as possible. Mme Pernelle is speaking: MME. He is seeking to lead you all on the road to heaven, if you would but follow him.
Your father both loves and trusts him, which should surely dispose you to do likewise. I loathe the fellow and all his ways, and I should lie ii I said I did not. And if he tries to domineer over me again, I'll break his head for him. DORINE: [The maid] Truly, Madame, it is not to be borne that an unknown person who came here penniless and in rags should take it on himself to upset everything and rule over the whole house.
This is the first hint of what is actually going to happen later, when Orgon entrusts him with his fortune. I know you all dislike him -- and why? Because he sees your faults and has the courage to tell you of them. He is seeking to prevent Madame from entertaining any company at all.
Why should he rave and thunder at her as he does for receiving an ordinary caller? Where's the harm in it? It's my belief that it's all because he's jealous of her! Yes, he is jealous, as we'll find out later. Think what you've dared to hint, girl, and be properly ashamed of yourself! My son never did a wiser thing in his life than bringing worthy Tartuffe into this house, for if anyone can recall wandering sheep to the fold, it is he.
And if you are wise in time you will heed his warnings that all your visiting, your routs, your balls are so many subtle devices of the Evil One for your soul's destruction. For the pleasure we take in such gatherings is innocent enough. If you reread the premise, you will notice that someone -- in this case, Tartuffe -- will ensnare innocent, believing persons -- Orgon and his mother -- with his hypocritical pretension of saintliness. This will enable him later to take possession of Orgon's fortune and make the lovely Elmire his mistress -- if he succeeds.
In the very beginning of the play we feel that this happy family is threatened with dire disaster. We didn't get a glimpse of Orgon yet, only of his mother taking up the cudgel for the pseudo saint. Can it be true that a man in his senses, an ex-army officer, believes in another man so implicitly that he may give him a chance to play havoc with his family? If he does believe so much in Tartuffe, the author established the first part of his premise explicitly.
We have witnessed, then, how tartuffe, with subtle methods, and with the help of Orgon, his intended victim, is digging a pit for Orgon. Will he fall into it? We don't know yet. But our interest is aroused.
Let us see whether Orgon's faith in Tartuffe is as firm as his mother wants us to believe. Orgon has just arrived home from a three-day journey. But you must pardon me if, before we talk, I ask a question or two of Dorine here. Madame was taken with the fever the day before yesterday and suffered terribly from pains in her head. And Tartuffe? DORINE: Oh, he went straight from the table to his bed, where, to judge by the sounds, he slept on sweetly till the morning was well advanced.
Great heavens, man, how can you be so infatuated with this Tartuffe? What do you see in him that makes you indifferent to all others? Obviously Orgon can't see the pit Tartuffe is digging for him. Tartuffe has dug a pit; will Orgon fall into it? We don't know -- and we're not supposed to know -- until the end of the play. Needless to say, the same principles govern a short story, novel, movie, or radio play.
Let us take Guy de Maupassant's short story, The Diamond Necklace, and try to find the premise in it. Mathilda, a young, daydreaming, vain woman borrowed a diamond necklace from a wealthy schoolmate to wear to a ball. She lost the necklace. Afraid to face the humiliating consequences she and her husband mortgage their inheritance and borrow money to download a replica of the lost necklace.
They work for ten long weary years to repay their debt. They become coarse, work-worn, ugly and old. Then they discover that the original lost necklace had been made of paste. What is the premise of this immortal story? We think it started with her daydreaming. A daydreamer is not necessarily a bad person. Daydreams are usually an escape from reality; -- a reality which the dreamer has no courage to face.
Daydreams are a substitute for action. Great minds are dreamers too, but they translate their dreams into reality. Nikola Tesla, for instance, was the greatest electrical wizard who ever lived. He was a great dreamer, but he was a great doer too. Mathilda was a good-natured but idle dreamer. Her dreams led her exactly nowhere, until tragedy befell her.
We must examine her character. She lived in imaginary luxury in a fairy castle where she was a queen. Naturally she had a great deal of pride and couldn't humiliate herself by admitting to her friend that she was unable to afford the price of the lost necklace. Death was preferable to that. She had to download a new necklace even though she and her husband had to work the rest of their lives for it.
They did. She became a drudge because of her vanity and false pride; inherent characteristics which were the result of her daydreaming.
Her husband worked along with her because of his love for her. The premise: "Escape from reality leads to a day of reckoning. Even in early youth Hank Martin was determined to be the greatest of men. He peddled pins, ribbons, cosmetics, with the idea of ingratiating himself with people to use them later on.
He did use them; so well that he became governor of his state. Then he plundered the people until the multitude rose up against him. He died a violent death. Obviously the premise of this novel is: "Ruthless ambition leads to its own destruction. This is the story of Al Schmid, wounded marine who became blind in the war.
He feels that he is useless to her now. He was brought home by a ruse; his sweetheart convinces him that she still wants him and that, although blind he can still hold a job. He gets a job and they plan to get married. Although the doctors have given up hope of his regaining his eyesight, he does begin to see a little. Premise: "Sacrificial love conquers hopelessness.
Such knowledge would have deepened the story considerably. Earth and High Heaven, a novel by Gwethalynn Graham, is the story of a wealthy Gentile Canadian girl who falls in love with a Jewish lawyer.
Her father refuses to accept the young man and does everything in his power to break up the romance because of the man's religion. Father and daughter had been devoted to each other. The girl must choose between her father or the man she loves. She decides to marry her sweetheart, thereby breaking off relations with her family. Premise: "Intolerance leads to isolation. Without it, it is impossible to know your characters. A premise has to contain; character, conflict and resolution.
It is impossible to know all this without a clear-cut premise. One more thing should be remembered. No one premise is necessarily a universal truth. Poverty doesn't always lead to crime, but if you've chosen this premise, it does in your case. The same principle governs all premises. The premise is the conception, the beginning of a play. The premise is a seed and it grows into a plant that was contained in the original seed; nothing more, nothing less.
The premise should not stand out like a sore thumb, turning the characters into puppets and the conflicting forces into a mechanical set-up. In a well-constructed play or story, it is impossible to denote just where premise ends and story or character begins.
The figure wore a long robe with long loose sleeves. The hands were folded in front. Rodin stepped back, exhausted but triumphant, and eyed his work with satisfaction. It was a masterpiece! Like any artist, he needed someone to share his happiness. Although it was four o'clock in the morning, he hastened to wake up one of his students.
The master rushed ahead with mounting excitement and watched the young man's reaction. Egri is a character man. Characters come first to him. This impression is evident toward the beginning of the book, and the remainder of it revolves around these beliefs, that plays should not revolve around individual scenes or ideas, but should work as a whole to accomplish something big the writer believes in.
The book is split into four sections, the first three representing the big ideas Egri wants his writers to attend to: Premise, Character, and Conflict.
In 'Character,' there are eleven chapters. Egri begins by picking apart a character, and what affects their decision-making and actions. This progresses to descriptions of the growth process and the strength of a character. Egri moves on to his opinion on plot being secondary to character.