Thursday, August 13, 2009

_Screenwriting 101_ by Neil D. Hicks

I picked up a copy of this writing book at my local library after seeing it mentioned on the Mechanical Hamster blog. I'm liking it a lot.

I'm only halfway through it, which carries some risk in even talking about it ... but it's not a novel that could go bad at the end so I'm not too worried. I get excited about books in the middle...when they're done, I go on to the next book, and then I often fail to blog them at all.

This book has so far spent a lot of time on story structure, and its concepts are very similar to those in another screenwriting book, Story by Robert McKee. But this book is much shorter and the topics and exercises seem easier to follow and more practical. Since I think Story is really onto some genius stuff, this is a good thing.

Now, I think story structure, the mystery of what makes a story work, is THE thing I need to learn, so that colors my opinion. I dunno why but the screenwriting/playwriting folk write about this stuff a lot. Another similar book is The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri.

Egri's book and McKees are also books that I'm currently working on. I've owned both for a while and I haven't finished a complete read of either one. I get to a certain point and decide I should go off and work on my writing and absorb it. I don' t think that's a bad thing; I think both books have a lot to teach and are much better than most writing books.

I expect I'll pick up my own copy of Screenwriting 101. It's full of exercises and invites you to scribble all over it.

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