Carol Wolf's plays have been seen on both coasts and five continents; The Thousandth Night (LA Drama Critic's Circle Award, Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Award, London Fringe First) was last seen in 2019, touring fringe festivals across North America, while the French translation was performed at the Avignon Theatre Festival in France and Dr. Rowan, the Demon and Love premiered at the Morgan Hill Playhouse. The Terrible Experiment of Jonathan Fish has had productions on both coasts; Cymbeline, Simplified! or The Queens Cookies, Dr. Rowan, the Demon, and Love, The Place in the Woods, and Daughter of France, all received developmental readings at The Pear Theatre. Don't Let Go, a short play, was included in the Pear Theater 2021 Slices production.

Wolf has produced and directed three feature films, The Valley of Fear, Far from the Sea, and documentary Letters to My Grandchildren (Semi-Finalist: Miami International Film Festival, Official Selection: Great Lakes Film Festival, Northwest Mountain Film Festival, Poppy Jasper International Film Festival).

Wolf wrote the scenes and ambient dialogue for the video games Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and Legacy of Kain: Defiance.

Wolf's novels include Summoning and Binding, Books One and Two of the Moon Wolf Saga, Savage Island, Voyages of the Shep, Coyote Run (with Eric Elliott), and The Book of Lost Days.

Wolf is the author of Playwriting: The Merciless Craft; Comprehensive Techniques for Mastering Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Playwriting, #4 on the list of Book Authority's Best Playwriting Books of All Time. She teaching Playwriting at the Levan Institute and Film Studies at Bakersfield College.

Playwriting: The Merciless Craft by Carol Wolf

Playwriting: The Merciless Craft; Comprehensive Techniques for Mastering Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Playwriting

This book is designed to serve concurrently the writer who has never written a play, but would like to write a good one; journeyman playwrights who would like to increase their skill set, deepen their knowledge of the craft and increase the power of their work; and advanced playwrights who are seeking new horizons to challenge their already considerable craftsmanship.

For the beginning playwright, this book provides specific techniques in how to design your material to work in the theater; for the writer who is already a practiced playwright, this book provides a tool box of skills for plotting, story structure, character development, theatricality, and multiple uses of dialog, to broaden and strengthen your work. It provides a diagnostic tool for trouble-shooting your plays, so that every moment of your plays will work in the theater as you envision them.

For the advanced playwright, this book provides layers of techniques to test against your skill set, deepen your dramatic powers, and widen the horizons of your craft.

Carol Wolf's plays have been produced on both coasts and on five continents. The plays of her playwriting students have been produced on both coasts and on four continents, so far.


Carol Wolf is an accomplished playwright and theatre veteran. Her plays have been produced on both coasts and five continents. She has also worked on films and video games and has won the L.A. Drama Critic's Circle Award, the Bay Area Critic's Award, and the London Fringe First. I had the good fortune to attend a Worldcon 76 workshop where Wolf was a panelist. Immediately after hearing her speak, I ran over to the dealer room to buy her book. Playwriting: The Merciless Craft has a special place on my "arms reach" shelf. – Melissa Snark



  • "If you want to know how to write - really write - a play, or screenplay, or story of any merit, you NEED to buy this book. Carol Wolf displays an unmitigated genius for getting right to the heart of what makes a good story."

    – D.M. Gribshaw
  • "The only reason I stop reading is because the book inspires me so much I need to rush back to my work and incorporate the guidance and support here. The chapter on "joy" alone is worth the price of this book."

    – A.C.
  • "It is too often said to make sure a particular book is in your library, but make sure this book is in your library."

    – David Oliveira



Is This the Book for You?

If you have never written a play before, and you want clear, specific, simple techniques for how to write a play that will work in the theater, then this is the book for you.

If you have written one or more plays, but they didn't turn out as splendidly as you know they should be, and you'd like some input to show you how to get them working optimally, then this is the book for you.

If you have written a number of plays, and want to improve your skills so that your work will advance in power and complexity, then this is the book for you.

If you are interested in a set of tools for troubleshooting your plays to diagnose weaknesses and capitalize on strengths, so that what you've written will work as well as it possibly can, then this is the book for you.

If you are an advanced playwright, and want some challenges to inspire you to a wider range of more interesting work, then this is the book for you.

If you are a writer, and want to improve your skills of plotting, character development, dialog and story structure, then this is the book for you.

If you are a writer who has written a number of works, and want to know why some parts work well, and others do not, then this book will give you techniques for understanding what you have done, how you have done it, and how to diagnose and solve problems for effective rewriting.

If you want to understand how storytelling works, whether in the form of plays, episodes, films, or stories, then this is the book for you.

If you already know everything in this book, and can think of a number of things that aren't included, and have proved them in your work, then I really, really want to talk to you.