Copywriting Secrets Learned From Playwrighting: The Beat

by Randy Murray on February 5, 2014

One of the first things that all actors, directors, and playwrights learn is the concept of “the beat.” The beat is the molecular level of the play. It’s the smallest part that you can divide a play into which still has meaning (rather than the atomic level, which is the word). Beats give the play a rhythm. It’s the life-energy of the play.

And yes, even your most simple marketing materials can be divided into beats.

In playwrighting, for each beat, every character on stage wants something specific at this precise moment. The next beat happens when there’s a shifting of desires, motivations, and actions. You move from beat to beat based upon these changes. Beats can be long or short.

Each of the actors needs to know exactly what their character wants at this moment, inside the beat, and how that might change. The reader of your copy is your ‘actor’ and needs to sense this too. They need to feel the change in their own motivation. They need growing clarity and a tension mounting to learn more, to DO something.

Learning how to write in beats can be a very valuable skill for copywriters. A copywriter with these skills can do more than relay facts. We can MOVE people. We can help make things happen.

This is the “wright” part of playwright. I have to struggle to not use that spelling elsewhere and call myself also a “copywrighter.” It’s the craft of creating copy. Really good copy isn’t just typed out. It’s shaped, molded, fashioned to create movement and action in prospects.

It makes things happen.

Copywriting Secrets Learned From Playwrighting: The Beat by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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