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Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End First Edition Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1595940285
ISBN-10: 1595940286
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  • Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End
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  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression
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  • How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript
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Editorial Reviews

Review

...provides plenty of techniques, including the most comprehensive and practical discussion on dialogue that I have seen. -- Scr(i)pt Magazine-Mar./Apr. 2006

From the Back Cover

IT’S NOT ABOUT PLOT POINTS. IT’S NOT ABOUT ACT STRUCTURE. IT’S NOT ABOUT CHARACTER. IT’S ABOUT EMOTION!

There are three kinds of feelings when reading a story — boredom, interest, and WOW! To become a successful writer you must create that WOW! feeling on as many pages as possible, and this requires writing that engages the reader emotionally.

In his best-selling 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, screenwriter Karl Iglesias explored the working habits of A-list Hollywood scribes. Now, he breaks new ground by focusing on the psychology of the reader. Based on his acclaimed classes at UCLA Extension, Writing for Emotional Impact goes beyond the basics and argues that Hollywood is in the emotion-delivery business, selling emotional experiences packaged in movies and TV shows. Karl not only encourages you to deliver emotional impact on as many pages as possible, he shows you how, offering you hundreds of dramatic techniques to take your writing to the professional level. You’ll learn:

- Over 40 techniques to humanize a character for instant empathy. - The seven essential storytelling emotions and over 70 techniques to create them. - Over 50 ways to craft powerful scenes, including the Emotional Palette. - Over 30 techniques to shape your words and energize your narrative description. - The most common dialogue flaws and fixes for each. - Over 60 techniques to craft dynamic dialogue that snaps, crackles, and pops off the page.

"Not only does Karl Iglesias ‘get’ emotion, he shares insider secrets for moving the reader from tears to laughter and everywhere in between. This is a must-have book for every screenwriter, director, and producer." -Rosa Graham, president of Find The Funny

"Reading Writing for Emotional Impact will shake up your world. This is the book that tears through the clutter so that you can write from the heart." -Michael Lent, author Breakfast With Sharks, co-producer Hard Scrambled

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WingSpan Publishing; First Edition edition (October 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595940286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595940285
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. W. Lewis on September 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
We tend to make esoteric things harder than they are. But the art of writing is really very Zen-like: You get to a point where you realize you were making things needlessly difficult.

This book does give easy answers to difficult questions, and as you read you'll discover several slap-your-forehead moments, those wonderful moments of recognition when this book's content jibes with your own instinct. You'll discover that you had the answers all along.

It's hard being a writer. Most of us won't survive; we need all the help we can get.

When I think of the writer's life I envision sea turtle hatchlings bursting out of their eggs and dashing for the ocean. To them, that stretch of sand is death itself. Predators abound. The majority won't make it to the ocean, and of those that do, most will wind up in a fish's gullet. But the few surviving sea turtles can live for centuries. I've read cases of some bearing the musketballs of Spanish galleons embedded in their shells.

Karl Iglesias will help you make it to the ocean. Once you get there, however, you're on your own.

Mr. Iglesias' premise is that emotion is the prime factor, the elusive bird of paradise which makes all technical elements cohere and quicken into a living thing. And he's right. By God, he's right. Emotion is what's missing. It's the other white meat.

Let me address some criticisms. One reviewer complains about the formulaic approach to this book (101 ways to do this, 24 sure-fire et cetera) and goes on to gripe that Mr. Iglesias advises us to go about our work willy-nilly. Not true. First, why complain that you're getting a specific number of tools to place in your box?
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This book is about how to create emotional reactions in the audience.

I liked it and read it two or three times. Many of the suggestions belong to techniques used in Hollywood (by writers and directors) to stir emotional responses.

Some ideas might be catalogued within the cliche section. For example, if you want the public to like your character then put a scene in which your character is nice to a puppy or to children. The fact is that many movies use this technique, I know because since I read Iglesias' book that kind of scene keeps coming up in many movies (and thanks to Iglesia now I notice that more).

At the beginning of the book Iglesias warns you. Have you ever wanted to know a magic trick, and then... when told... regret you learnt the secret of the trick? Iglesias say that could happen to you reading this book, the magic of stories might fade away. That didn't happen to me.

This book gives you many tips to achieve emotional responses from the audience. Your challenge would be to use that knowledge in a new and refreashing way, so that you stay away from clichés.

This is not the ultimate book on stirring emotions in the audience. It is certainly a bit simplistic. But in the end, the real fact is that I just happened to like it.

If you want to know about structure, plot, character... there are better books. If you want to think for a while a bit about story telling from a some what different point of view (that of audiences and their emotions) this book will deliver to some degree. Probably some would have troubles with the fact that he doesn't seem to address story telling from an artisitic stand...
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I teach writing classes online -- from month-long classes on different aspects of craft to intensive eight-week classes on novel writing. I bought this book because of its title. I have long been a proponent of the theory that the only reason we read or go to the movies is for the emotional connection that is made. This was the best $20 I ever spent. Iglesias explains emotional impact, both its importance, and the techniques you can use to create it and/or enhance it in language and examples you can understand. I have used the book as source material for varous parts of all my classes and it's been invaluable as a teaching tool. I have discovered, though, that this is really not a book for beginners. First you have to know the basic craft of writing -- whether you're writing a screenplay or a novel. It's only then that you're ready for what Iglesias is preaching. The truth is, when I was a beginner, I wouldn't have been able to use a lot of what he says because I wouldn't have known enough to understand how valuable his suggestions are. I do wish I'd discovered the book years ago -- when it would have benefited me through the writing of many of my own books -- but since I didn't, I'm glad I discovered it now, because it's been a great help with my classes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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I would recommend 'Writing for Emotional Impact' to new writers, but also warn them of the reading experience. The author has an intrusive voice, and talks incessantly about the shining example of Hollywood- which, as most movie-goers know, is not often a shining example. Oddly, the book is geared entirely towards screenplays. The topic is applicable to all storytelling- but the author doesn't seem to grasp this, once citing wandering, pointless prose as something "they can get away with in novels," but not in Hollywood.

The principles of inspiring emotion in the reader are valid, and necessary to grasp- but the author tries to pound them in with long lists of films he enjoyed, and through rampant redundancy. Which is ironic, because he warns against redundancy. There will be passages where he says things like, "Now, this book is only for advanced writers, so I don't need to tell you what a metaphor is," and then he will immediately launch into a definition of what a metaphor is. This is only one example that comes to mind, but expect to encounter that sort of thing.

In short: The book has some great info in there. If you can endure the pain of redundant and intrusive writing to find it. And then tolerate finding it again every so often as you continue.

Read it, but don't expect it to be easy.
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