01/11/2008. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Palgrave Macmillan. 201 page indexed small enlarged paperback. Price: £14.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-230-55075-9.
check out website: www.palgrave.com
Choosing books to review that are a little out of the ordinary can make for some surprises. I wanted to take a look at 'Writing For The Screen' for those who are getting itchy typing fingers and would like to know how to learn how to write a screenplay. What I also discovered from this book was some very useful instructions that will also help anyone writing prose as well.
As writers Craig Batty and Zara Waldeback point out, screenplay writing is more like a team game of channelling information from director, producers and cast in shaping the script with a lot of give and take. The scriptwriter embrues the breathe of the material to ensure that the characters function from a dialogue point of view and generally with a lot of the stuff that prose writers know. Although the scriptwriter ends up being pretty low on the rungs when production starts, it is the blueprint for the content.
This book examines the structure of a story, building up character relationships and setting as well as addressing how they talk to each other. Some aspects of which, like talking at cross-purposes isn't something we see much in our own genre oddly enough. Despite its short length there is reference to a lot of films, some of which are also in our domain so there's no excuse to say you haven't seen them. Whatever the story needs, looking at how characters develop and change over the course of a story is also an important thing to understand.
From a writer's point of view, I learn more by looking at various writing technique and whatever you're going to write, there is something in here that will cause you to stop, pause and think. If it adds something to your own writing skills so much the better. There are also exercises at the back of the book to help you flex your creative muscles if screenwriting is your thing.
The end section of this book is more applicable to screenwriting than prose but gives you insight in how you can get started in such work providing you're prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up.
If you're developing your creative bent then this book has my hearty recommendation.
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