Friday, September 03, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 32

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced me as a fantasy author.

by Syd Field

Screenplay: The Foundations of ScreenwritingFor this series about books that have influenced my writing, I've mostly stuck with fiction. But I've also been influenced by a good number of non-fiction books.

Screenplay by Syd Field is one such book.

I've mentioned elsewhere how screenwriting, specifically this book, helped me to have some sort of a mental breakthrough about 10 years ago, allowing me to get post something akin to writer's block that I had had for about five years at the time. For that very reason alone, I have plenty for which to be thankful when it comes to this book and Syd Field.

But I think what was the big mind-clicking moment for me was when I realized the basics of storytelling. Not good storytelling, necessarily, but storytelling in general. The basics of how a story works, how it should flow.

The secret? Quite simply, it's this: A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

There. That's it. Sounds dumb, doesn't it. But this book engaged my mind by making me realize what actually should come in the beginning of a tale, what should be in the middle, and what should be in the ending.

For me, it was almost like breaking down storytelling into a simple mathematical formula, one I could grasp.

Of course there's more to it than that, really, but it helped me break my writer's block and I've been writing like crazy ever since.

And if you are a prose writer, don't be turned off because this book is about screenwriting. Though Screenplay can be a bit dry in places, it definitely can help with creating characters, plot development and the like. Give it a try if you're looking for something different to read about writing. You'll even learn a good bit about actual screenwriting.

Up next: Hamlet, by Shakespeare

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've heard good things about this. I've never been intersted in doing a screenplay, although I'd like to try my hand at it for experience sake sometime.