Shakespeare has become one of the known writer/authors because of his great written stories. Many of the aspiring writers have really acknowledged his writings until now.
Here are tips on how to write like Shakespeare that we need to share:
1. Write about real historical events and characters, or even borrow plots from your favourite books. If you do choose to write about real events, don’t feel the need to be bound by the facts, and do make up a funny friend for your main character as Shakespeare did with Falstaff for the young Prince Hal in Henry IV Part I.
2. As Shakespeare wrote in Othello, “There’s magic in the web of it,” so weave some magic into your tale. Witches, wizards, fairies and sprites can all play their part, whether it’s with a little mischievous misadventure as Puck so expertly displays in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or something a little darker, like those haggard witches with their terrible prophesy for Macbeth.
3. Have fun with language. Many words and phrases that are in common usage today can trace their origins back to Shakespeare, so feel free to invent words and create new phrases. You may even come up with the next “The world’s mine oyster”, or “green-eyed monster”.
4. Most story plots, including many of Shakespeare’s, follow a relatively simple formula. Characters are introduced, the scene is set and a goal of some kind is introduced. The tension and fun in a story comes when a problem is introduced, one that will hinder the characters achieving their goal.
Shakespeare introduced all sorts of problems to his characters, from falling in love with a man with a donkey’s head, to separating identical twins at birth, to meeting three witches on a moor. Through many twists and turns, by the end of his plays, a resolution was reached, sometimes happy, often tragic.
5. Write a love story. Like Shakespeare, you’ll have endless themes of love to choose from. Forbidden love is a popular choice, but there’s also jealous love, love-sickness, unrequited love, luckiness in love, or, worst of all, ‘death-mark’d love’ as suffered by Romeo and Juliet. As Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “The course of true love never did run smooth”, so your love story could have as many plot twists as you like.
6. Shakespeare is rightly famous for his inventive put-downs, from the cutting, “Thou art like a toad; ugly and venomous.” to the verbose, “Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!”. Contrive a way for your characters to insult each other, and don’t let them hold back. Here’s a few insulting words from Shakespeare to get you started: goatish, malt-worm, measle, pox-marked, spleeny.
7. Shakespeare’s plays were written to be performed. His words come to life when they are spoken aloud, and much of that is to do with the rhythm, the famous iambic pentameter he was so fond of. I don’t suggest that you write your tales in iambic pentameter, but read aloud what you’ve written, and listen to how it sounds. A series of long sentences may need breaking up with some shorter ones, some punchy short words might add impact to a scene.
8. If you would like to add a darker tone to your tale, consider including a ghost in your cast of characters. The ghost of Hamlet’s father was given a voice, and he used that voice to reveal the identity of his murderer to his son. The ghost of Banquo was silent, but was used to great effect in Macbeth, increasing Macbeth’s growing sense of madness.
9. To write a Shakespearean comic tale you will need to put one or more of your characters in disguise. Sometimes only a single scene using disguise is enough, a masked ball for example, but you could choose to lead your plot with a main character who is permanently concealing her identity.
Having a character in disguise gives you so many options, from being rude about someone to their face, as Beatrice is to Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, to gaining the trust of new employer, as Viola does in Twelfth Night. She also then falls in love with her male employer, while dressed as a boy, which doesn’t help her romantic prospects.
10.Don’t be afraid to kill off a character or two, or fourteen, as happens in the brutal Titus Andronicus. You don’t need to limit death to secondary characters, your main character could also end their days by the end of your tale.