Additions and updates for Chapter 9 Plotting the Sound Story 

Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook published by Routledge 31st March 2023

Book Description

Writing Audio Drama offers a comprehensive and intelligent guide to writing sound drama for broadcasting and online. This book uses original research on the history of writing radio plays in the UK and USA to explore how this has informed and developed the art form for more than 100 years.

Audio drama in the context of podcasting is now experiencing a global and exponential expansion. Through analysis of examples of past and present writing, the author explains how to create drama which can explore deeply psychological and intimate themes and achieve emotional, truthful, entertaining and thought-provoking impact. Practical analysis of the key factors required to write successful audio drama is covered in chapters focusing on audio play beginnings and openings, sound story dialogue, sustaining the sound story, plotting for sound drama, and the best ways of ending audio plays. Chapters are supported by online resources which expand visually on subjects discussed and point to exemplary sound dramas referenced in the chapters.

This textbook will be an important resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses such as Podcasting, Radio, Audio Drama, Scriptwriting, and Media Writing.

Chapter Nine

Updates and additions to Chapter 9 ‘Plotting the Sound Story’ in Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook published by Routledge in 2023.

This chapter forensically investigates a wide resource of advice and instruction from books on the best methods of plotting dramatic story telling in the sound medium only.

Is one plot-line with a heavy focus necessary to maintain the attention of listeners because of the everyday competition presented to the other senses?

Can the auditory imagination cope with second, third and fourth plots.

Is there a correlation and demand of specific plotting in sound drama to linear frame and duration? 

Should the sophistication and potential of plotting be pushed to the very limits like theatre and film and indeed prose literature?

Rather than regard the listener as a handicapped and disabled sensorium, should not the writer pitch the ambition and tolerance of the audience to an equal degree?

Chapter includes discussion of Tom Stoppard’s radio play Artist Descending a Staircase (1972) and the author argues outstanding plotting in the long form is achieved by Caryl Phillips in his Giles Cooper award-winning play The Wasted Years (1984), his first play for radio.  


Extracts selected and analysed in the printed text for the purposes of criticism and review, scholarship and learning.

Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard.

Analysis engaged page 151, paragraph 2:

There are eleven scenes. The play begins in the here-and now; the next five scenes are each a flashback from the previous scene; the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh scenes are respectively, continuations of the fifth, fourth, third, second and first. So the play is set temporally in six parts, in the sequence ABCDEFEDCBA

A = here and now

B = a couple of hours ago

C = Last week

D = 1922

E = 1920

F = 1914

(Stoppard 1994:111)


Companion Website Resources Chapter 9 Pages 142 and 143

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