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on April 11, 2011
I was fortunate enough to attend Michael Hauge's workshop on story structure at the Romantic Times conference this year (2011). My head spun when I walked away from that seminar. I was so impressed by Michael's clarity and succinctness -- and of course, by the story principles he offered -- that I couldn't wait to put them into practice. I picked up his book immediately at the conference, and devoured it on the plane.

Even though I don't write screenplays, I used Michael's approach to developing characters and outlining the story's structure to sketch the main points of my new novel. I'm amazed by the results. I can now "see" the story in my head like never before. It's taken on a clarity I hadn't expected, and I'm excited to start writing it to see what develops.

Michael's ability to provide a straightforward blueprint for crafting a great story is admirable. It's already changed the way I plan, structure, and think about my work. Highly recommended.
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on March 29, 2013
Michael Hauge has joined my personal pantheon of people who can tell you a lot about doing it right. The others are Syd Field, Robert McKee, John Truby, and Paul Chitlik among moderns and Lajos Esri in the older group. This won't help you if you write for fun or art houses, but if you want to sell your screenplays he lays out a lot of basic ingredients in a very clear way. Once it's written, move on to "Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds."
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on February 3, 2015
Generally good, with in-depth discussion and examples of character development barely covered by some authors in this category.

But in Chapter 4, Theme and Character Arc, Hauge seems to go astray: he avers that the Hero must always recognize his similarity and relatedness to the Nemesis before the theme can emerge, at which point character growth can begin. While this "necessity" may work for some classes of story, it has become a cliché in many recent movies, i.e. the Hero creates his own Nemesis, or in the case of Batman, the Hero is created *by* the Nemesis. The Incredibles has a pretense that takes this Mr. Incredible-Syndrome mutuality at face value--which could have been handled by the classical notion of mere irony. Perhaps political correctness demands that evil must always be the good guy's fault...

Real life is more complicated than this, and many if not most good movies work fine without such an artifice: in Die Hard, McClain and Gruber have little in common, and the former wastes no time in pondering how much he resembles the latter, nor does the action or subtext even suggest any underlying relatedness. Instead, Gruber's a greedy criminal (masquerading as a terrorist), and McClain treats him as any good superhumanly-tough and determined cop would. Basically there are just evil people, and good stories don't need to dig deep to explain them. One does not invariably need a Hero-Nemesis equivalency, connectivity or antecedents to make a compelling story: Gruber is merely a huge, drawn out obstacle to McClain's motivations: reconciling with his estranged wife and being (a bit) less of a jerk.

In LotR, Frodo Baggins did not create Sauron, nor make that Dark Lord desirous of dominating Middle-Earth, but he bravely steps up when it's obvious that only he can put an end to the threat; thus ends act I. In both book and movie, the ring-connection between Frodo and Sauron is indeed established, but it serves merely as another challenge and threat to the success of Frodo's mission. Gollum's erstwhile similarity to *all* hobbits is interesting, but incidental and not essential to establishing the story's theme (done long before Frodo ever meets Gollum), or to Frodo overcoming this secondary villain--which he never does BTW: Gollum destroys himself--setting Frodo free--and to the very end he never stops being a secondary nemesis and primary reflection of Frodo.

That said, the book's okay for putting a polish on one's understanding of some aspects screenwriting method. I'm just glad I read Brian McDonald's Invisible Ink before this one, otherwise I might have taken this seemingly spurious "rule" of thematic development seriously.
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on July 8, 2012
As a fiction writer, I struggle with understanding character arc and motivation, but after reading Writing Screenplays That Sell, I feel so much more confident in this area. Hauge does a great job explaining the importance of motivation and character development, and applies the concepts in the book to several well knows screenplays such as Shrek and Avatar. His breakdowns will be just what you need to encourage a light bulb moment! I can't state enough how helpful this book is for all writers, not just those who write screenplays.
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on March 13, 2015
Michael Hauge provides a framework for developing screenplays that moslty fit the Hollywood mold. This is an excellent resource for new writers or anyone who wants a better understanding of how a story works best on screen. Of course, a movie begins with the screenplay, and using Hauge's advice, you will certainly develop a story that "works" in the sense that it follows the best flow for cinematic story telling. Much of the book is a nuts and bolts approach, from the basics right up to the finished, formatted screenplay. He also provides detailed explanations of how Hollywood deals generally work, what to look out for, and how to protect yourself. There are no guarantees, but this book will put you on the right track. When I'm writing a screenplay and get stuck, I frequently check back through this book, where I find the answer to why my story has stalled. Probably best to by the paper version so that you can refer to it easily in the course of your writing.
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on August 12, 2013
Awesome resource, easy read, hits the nail on the head. This book gave very specific direction for writing a great screenplay. I found it immensely useful for writing a screenplay based on a fiction novel. I Highly recommend it, especially if you are a fiction writer venturing into screenwriting territory.
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on June 29, 2014
If you know who is Muchael Hauge, you know for sure this book is EXCELLENT! If not, just buy it and you will discover the guru of the gurus in this subject.

This book is for beginners and for those who already have more than one screenplays. You will enjoy how easy is to write if you follow his structure. No more stucks with ideas, characters, dialogs, because he opens the door to make it easier. You'll find here from the step one to the last step. I had my script ready for marketing and after read his book I made changes. Now I feel more confident with my script. Just buy it!!!
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on June 19, 2014
As a novelist, I find Michael Hauge's take on storytelling invaluable. I use his insights and methods continually in my manuscript critiques, my blog posts, and in my workshops. Whether you write screenplays or fiction, you need this book!
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on December 2, 2015
It's Michael Hauge! This is a must have writing fiction reference or how to book. Although, geared for screenplays, it's still about how to tell a great story-period. Check out his videos for free online. If you are a writing a screen play--and especially if you have written a screen play; Review this book before you submit or market. I'm a big fan of Michael Hauge .
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on June 3, 2015
Michael Hauge is my writing coach. Before you hire him read his books, watch his DVDs, listen to his CDs and read the how-to articles on the website. Take all that in and then you are closer to the magic. I am a professional non-fiction writer and writing a screenplay is a challenge. Michael's wisdom, with a healthy splash of humor, is the perfect tonic.
Henry DeVries
Author of "Marketing With a Book" and "How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett"
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