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Building Your Play

Building Your Play

Theory and Practice for the Beginning Playwright

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David Rush


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
192 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, 1 illustrations


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About the Book

David Rush takes beginning playwrights through the first draft of a play and deep into the revision process. Drawing on examples from such classics as Othello and The Glass Menagerie, Rush provides detailed models for writers to evaluate their work for weaknesses and focus on the in-depth development of their plays. 

Rush encourages writers to make sure their plays are clear and focused. He shows how to keep plays dramatically compelling and offers ways to avoid common mistakes that make them dull, confusing, or ineffective. He then distills the essence of traditional revision into key questions and discusses frequently overlooked tools, terms, and strategies that go beyond established methods of evaluation.


David Rush heads the playwriting program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His plays have been produced at Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, and Geva Theatre among others.  He is a past resident of the Inge Center and a member of Stage Left Ensemble and the Dramatist Guild. He is the author of A Student Guide to Play Analysis, published by Southern Illinois University Press.


“This book is a clearly articulated structural analysis of how conventionally constructed plays work and how to use that knowledge in addressing the struggles inherent in the crafting of one’s own work.”—Paul Meshejian, artistic director of PlayPenn, an annual conference for the development of new plays

"With a focus on the beginning writer, Rush's [book] about playwriting is distinctive and worthy of consideration for any teacher of dramatic writing looking for a textbook or for any young writer seeking a welcoming, experienced voice and a friendly, knowledgeable guide to accompany her/him in writing a first play."—Theatre Topics