Friday, October 19, 2012

Mini Review - Alexandra Sokoloff's Screenwriting Tricks For Authors (and Screenwriters!)

Product Description:

Are you finally committed to writing that novel but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author - but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level?

Screenwriting is a compressed and dynamic storytelling form and the techniques of screenwriting are easily adaptable to novel writing. You can jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page - by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling tricks of great filmmakers.

With this workbook, based on award-winning author/ screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff’s internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks For Authors blog and workshops, you'll learn how to use techniques of film writing such as:

- the High Concept Premise
- the Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure
- the Storyboard Grid
- the Index Card Method of Plotting

- as well as tricks of film pacing and suspense, character arc and drive, visual storytelling, and building image systems - to structure and color your novel for maximum emotional impact, unbearable suspense and riveting pacing, no matter what genre you're writing in.

You'll create your own personalized workbook of genre tricks based on your favorite books and movies and tailored to your own brand of storytelling, and a collage book to build visual image systems. And the emphasis on premise is invaluable for crafting that all-important query and pitch.

In this rapidly changing world of publishing, more and more agents and editors are looking for novels that have the pacing, emotional excitement, and big, unique, "high concept" premises of Hollywood movies (and the potential for that movie or TV sale!).

Whether you're just starting to develop a book or script, or rewriting for maximum impact, this workbook will guide you through an easy, effective and fun process to help you make your book or script the best it can be.

Includes detailed film breakdowns and analysis as well as chapters and resources on how to get a literary agent, writing a query letter, professional networking, and screenwriting contests.

My mini-review:

With Nanowrimo around the corner I've decided to do mini-reviews of "how to" titles that I have at home, aimed at writers and creatives, for the next few weeks - and these mini-reviews will be put up on either Thursdays/Fridays, depending on our scheduled planning.

This little beauty by Ms. Sokoloff is one of my favourites - it's available for your kindle via Amazon and it's competitively priced and in my mind, worth at least twenty times that.

Written in a conversational style, Ms. Sokoloff's managed to put together a "how to" that will benefit new writers and more established writers.  Personally, when writing, I am always concerned about structure.  She spends some time here explaining structure and how instead of it being a confining item, we should see it as a skeleton on which to hang the story.  This made me sit up and take notice - it made sense to me.  Key to all the tasks she sets you here is that you have to work within your own comfort zone, yet challenge yourself - she asks you to draw up lists of favourite movies and books and to work with her to analyse them for theme, character and structure.  A refrain throughout the book is: whatever works for you.

I can definitely recommend Screenwriting Tricks for Authors without reserve - it's concise, it's to the point and it manages without apparent trouble, to encourage, tease and cajole you into seeing your writing as worthy, fun but hard work.  She makes use of a lot of personal examples in her writing career but puts it in context so it's not all just "me me me" here.  In fact, I've just had a look at some of the Amazon reviews for this and swooned a little as one of my favourite writers Vicki Petterson also put up a review and part of it reads thusly:  Sokoloff is a generous mentor with the gifted ability to address a storyteller's practical concerns while encouraging artistic integrity and every author's unique voice. 

I can't argue with that! Oh, and in complete self-interest, here's our review of Alexandra's novel The Harrowing we reviewed back in 2009. 

1 comment:

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

So glad it's working for you, Liz!! Thanks for the review!