Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Report... Happy Valentines Day!

I know that I've been a slacker when it comes to the Blog so far this year, but I hope to turn that around now that I'm done with the Visual Blue Book and think I have figured out the best way to expand future titles. I wrote a monster article on Silent Films, then took my primary example and re-ordered the techniques covered in the original BB to match the film... then completely integrated the "Bonus Material" articles into the main body of the book to prevent duplicate lead paragraphs. Now that I know what I'm doing, the next BBs will be better. Using BRIDESMAIDS for Supporting Characters BB, and writing a new article on comedy characters that uses HANGOVER (1) plus adding some articles from the vault.

The 63k words (full length book!) on VISUAL will probably not happen again (but who knows) - the new silent movie article is actually longer than the original paper BB. But now that I've figured out the best way to expand the Blue Books there will be less beating my head against the wall and more time for blogging and those new Script Tips I promised. Hey, since we're talking about books...

I just began reading my friend Nancy's Oprah-endorsed Best Selling Novel THE CROWN on my Kindle – and it's off to a great start! Not my usual genre (since it's a period story I don't expect many car chases) but I'm trying to get around to reading books written by my friends (a problem – because they are mostly writers!) and *Oprah* loved this book. I feel by reading Nancy's book, I'm closer to touching the hem of Oprah's garment...

But here's the great thing – not my genre, people wearing frilly shirts... and from the first page I'm *hooked*! Nancy opens with conflict, which not only gets us involved in the protagonist's story, it also exposes the protagonist. After only a couple of paragraphs I'm totally with the protagonist. The year is 1537, the country is England, and a broke young woman is trying to get a ride into town so that she can attending a woman's hanging... wait, it's not just a hanging - they're burning her alive. The dude who owns the cart wants *cash*, and even thought this young woman might clean up real good – at this point in time she's been wearing the same sweat stained clothes for a while – which she has probably slept in – and to top it all off she's biracial at a time when that was not considered “hot”. So there is no way in hell this guy is going to let her on the cart.

She is the uber-underdog and yet finds a way to get herself of that cart headed to the hanging, er - burning alive. The method she uses (not sexual – more tragic) shows that she is resourceful and driven to get to this burning. Which also creates a fair amount of mystery. Oh, and to add to the mystery we discover that this scruffy looking gal is a *nun* who has escaped from a convent, and the woman being burned alive is her cousin (more of a sister). This is a great
opening to a story... and a lesson that works in screenplays as well.

Nancy's Author Page on Amazon – this photo looks more like the real Nancy than the photo on the book.

Whether you are writing a screenplay or a novel or a short story, you need to grab the reader on page one! This is nothing new, by the way, Edgar Allan Poe said you need to grab your reader in the first sentence or you have lost them. My friend Joshua Grover-David Patterson – I think his zombie novel with heart MERCY was one of my past book reports – has a novelette on Kindle called BABY TEETH that opens with this sentence: “This is the night I'll finally kill my baby.” Okay – don't you want to know why someone would kill their *infant*? And why they've been thinking about it, maybe planning it, for long enough that it's *finally*? I know I did, and that's why I kept reading.

No matter how we tell our stories, we need to start strong and find that scene or line or situation that pulls the audience into the story and makes them want to read more. If we're writing a screenplay and it takes a while before anything interesting happens, there's a good chance you need to cut those boring scenes or at least find some way to reorder your scenes so that the story hits the ground running. Even “slow burn” screenplays like THE SIXTH SENSE opens with *something interesting happening* - going down into the dark wine cellar and having the light explode... plunging the scene into scary darkness. This sets the stage for the rest of the screenplay – it tells us that spooky things *will* happen, wait for them!

One of the reviews of Nancy's book says you can't put it down – and though I've obviously stopped reading to write this blog entry... I can't wait to get back to those people in frilly shirts in 1537 England!

- Bill


TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Writing Sequels -
Dinner: Togos #9 sandwich.
Movies: SAFE HOUSE and THE GREY (plus lots of others I haven't told you about... but will!)



*** VISUAL STORYTELLING *** - For Kindle!

Expanded version with more techniques to tell stories visually! Using the first Oscar Winner SUNRISE and Oscar Nominee THE ARTIST plus other Oscar Winners as examples... as well as RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is around 250 pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage! (limited time price)




Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio).(ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!


*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!
*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is around 155 pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!



Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 155 pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!



*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!
*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is almost *200* pages!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!

1 comment:

MWire said...

Looking forward to more frequent posts.

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