- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Touchstone; Revised edition (February 15, 1972)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671213326
- ISBN-13: 978-0671213329
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 146 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art Of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives Revised Edition
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For many years, Lajos Egri's highly opinionated but very enjoyable The Art of Dramatic Writing has been a well-guarded secret of playwrights, scriptwriters, and writers for television. Unlike many other books on playwrighting (several of which Egri criticizes during the course of this one), the author's systematic breakdown of the essentials for creating successful realistic plays and screenplays effectively demystifies the process of creative writing. Egri, who formulated his thoughts about "a well-made play" during its heyday (the 1940s and '50s), places a premium on an exhaustive analysis of characters and discussion of their psychological motivations. The writer is exhorted to find a premise to explore and to discover which characters will most effectively demonstrate this thesis, then is shown how most effectively to place them into conflict with each other. Conflict itself is also discussed, particularly how to create scenarios in which the crisis develops at a pace that feels unforced and natural. While Egri's view of the well-made play has little space for either the spare musings of Beckett and Pinter or the conscious excesses of non-narrative and other experimental writing, it nonetheless remains an essential text for writers drawn to realistic drama, and to any writer interested in the fundamental motivations of human behavior. --John Longenbaugh
Moss Hart I found Lajos Egri's book enormously interesting -- one of the best I have ever read.
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I am only at the beginning of the first chapter and have eye fatigue. Really sad.
Some of the key concepts he covers in this book are...
- How to create your story's PREMISE. SO many stories lack this and, as a result, feel empty and hollow (and you often don't know why).
- How to craft your pivotal character--the character that will force the conflict and that makes or breaks the story. If you get this wrong, you'll lose people very quickly.
- How to play your protagonist against your antagonist correctly so that the tension of the story builds steadily until the climax. This is what makes books real page-turners.
- How to figure out where to open your story so it immediately grabs your reader or viewer and doesn't let him go.
- What is meant by "character growth" and how to do this in a way that feels natural and inevitable. Nothing is worse than reading about or watching a story wherein the people never change or, even worse, change inexplicably and illogically.
- How to create "tridimensional" characters that feel true to life at a visceral level. These are the types of characters that you never forget.
- And much more.
If you're a fiction writer of any kind (novels, TV, screenplays, etc.), read this book. It will forever change the way you look at storytelling.
One of the things that makes this book a classic is its simplicity. The book start exploring how you as a dramatic writer can use Premise as the guiding sign through out the whole process of writing a story.
Once you have a premise you can work on creating your characters (using the premise to do that). To do this you'll have to know your character's physiology, sociology, pshychology, etc.
Once you have your characters you can work on creating the story using the principle of contradiction, thesis, antithesis and synthesis. You'll have to use clashing forces... (again, you use the premise as explained at the beginning of the book).
Then the author covers some of the most important elements in writing dramatic material of quality.
In my case I found the chapter of "Jumping" quite enlightening. Once you read this chapter you'll understand why many, many stories just don't work. The characters jump and then... they fall to their death... and to the apaty of the audience.
What is it that I like about this book? Well, I read it... time passes... come back to it again... time passes... and I come back again to read it!
Where as most books make you feel like writing is extremely difficult, this one always makes me feel like I'm in command and that great story telling is within my grasp.