This practical guide provides the principles of dramatic writing. Playwrights and screenwriters will discover these essential principles and acquire the tools to put them to use. Sam Smiley incorporates extensive new material in Playwriting: The Structure of Action, a revised edition of the book that dramatists in theatre and film have relied on for more than twenty-five years. No writer, director, critic, or teacher concerned with dramatic writing should be without this intelligent and inspiring guide. Sam Smiley offers insights derived from a lifetime of writing, teaching, and consulting. While preserving the best of the earlier edition of the book, he offers new discussion on contemporary playwrights (Tony Kushner and Tom Stoppard), on copyright law, on new writing approaches, and on nontraditional dramatic forms. Reaching far beyond simplistic how-to instructions, the book focuses on identifying and explaining principles essential to creating dramas: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. Smiley explains these classic topics and provides the modern keys for realizing each element in effective dramatic scripts.