Here is an intro I did a while back on this subject.
I assume many of you guys are here because either you have a faint interest in writing/screenwriting in general or are writers already on your way. In my case, I have been through the ups and downs that many of us go through when we don’t exactly know what we want to be and even though I have been writing things for years, it took me ages to realize writing is my calling. But then what happens once the writing bug has hit you?
This is an interesting subject for me personally in so many ways – and I have a lot to say, because if you are really serious about writing, I think taking the time to learn the ins and outs is not only non-negotiable if you want to be successful, but can also deliver us writers much faster to their destinations. So without further dilly-dally, here is this week’s trick.
TIP#1 – READ BOOKS on WRITING.
Now I know there are tons of writing books out there – an industry full of them and it’s hard to figure out which books are the best ones that can get us from A to Z, authors’ fame. That said, in my humble opinion I personally don’t think any one book can truly cover the entire subject of screenwriting, because writing in itself is that multi-faceted – so my recommendation is: why eat one slice when you can have them all? There are lots of ways to learn (hence these kind of posts) so don’t depend on just one!
The majority of my early life teaching myself how to write began by reading these. Even my first ever college screenwriting teacher took the easy way out and told us to learn by ‘reading the textbooks.’ He wasn’t exactly wrong – because that’s exactly what I did. One annoying thing I find, though with many of the books I have read in the past out there is that several jump the gun at times and talk to you about selling your script – and not as much about actually writing it, which is why if you are learning to write, certainly ‘read’ them, just don’t ‘worship’ them!
Anyway, if you are going to drop your bucks (and yes books cost a lot in general), here are four favorites worth shelling for [P.S.: I am aware there are no ‘Voglers’ or ‘McKee’s’ – which I haven’t read, probably should, or ‘Syd Fields'(who I have read, every single one) but the help in these below are quite plenty, so if you are game, try them out first. You won’t regret it, I promise!
My first book on writing ever – great beginners fodder and covers the basics, particularly formatting – the be all of screenwriting but not the end all. Lots of useful information. Also covers a bit about treatments and other ‘usefuls’. He is Dr. Format for a reason!
It may not teach you the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of writing your script, but it’s still THE BEST, PRACTICAL and MOST INSPIRING BOOK about screenwriters and screenwriting I have ever read. A mega-opus of tips, tricks and practical writing habits from the greatest screenwriters. A must for your shelf (my copy has lots of shelf-wear). Wonderful stuff that still keeps my writing wheels rolling.
OK so I started reading this (four years back) and in the intro, mega-screenwriter and mentor Snyder is that awesome and serious about the craft that he asks us to send him some loglines! C’mon, a guy who would do that for unknowns like us is a God. Unfortunately, I found out he had passed away and that plan went out the window. But yeah an amazing read and worth the price.
Who doesn’t know Stephen King? I didn’t – until I read this. So, read, enjoy and be inspired.
Next week: More tips and another great and useful resource on this subject, the ‘where’ and ‘how’.