- Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Act Four Screenplays (January 5, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 098362660X
- ISBN-13: 978-0983626602
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 85 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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STORY MAPS: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay Paperback – January 5, 2012
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With that said, I read screenwriting books to see what new advice or tips I can pick up to add to my writer's toolbox. And in that regard, this book does not disappoint. I thought that the story maps structure paradigm was another interesting way to break down, analyze, and build screenplays.
The author had a decent writing style, and the readability of this book was pretty high for me. One of the things that I liked about this book, and many others, is when the author applied concepts from the book to analyze popular movies. I also liked that the author of this book used recent movie example. I mean I love Casablanca, Chinatown and other movies of that era, but I prefer it when screenwriting authors use examples from contemporary movies that are sometimes a little bit more fresh and reflect contemporary Hollywood films.
Usefulness of book for new screenwriter s- 8/10
Usefulness of book for experienced screenwriters - 9/10
Use of film examples in book that apply author's screenwriting strategies - 9/10
Readability - 8.5/10
Price - 9.5/10
Recommend Level - Strongly Recommend
I have used every approach known to man attempting to break a story and I think I own every piece of writing software ever created -- I have studied Vogler, Chris Soth's Mini Movie method, Jeff Kitchen's weekend seminars, Blake Snyder's Save The Cat and have read most every book the Writer's store has on plot and plot structure.
Without a doubt I am the writing software's fool. I own both FD and MMSW, Truby products and Truby Blockbuster, Dramatica, Movie Outline, Save The Cat and scads of others ad infinitum. When it comes to owning plotting and writing software I feel like that character in TIN CUP, Roy, when he gets the shanks and has all of those bells and whistles on his head and body supposedly to cure his golf swing -- But they don't cure his swing at all.
And neither do all of the software programs I own cure my writer's shanks. But, today, after reading Dan Calvisi's STORY MAPS: HOW TO WRITE A GREAT SCREENPLAY, I took one of my current screenplays I was "doodling" with and MAPPED IT -- Seriously, then I MAPPED IT FULLY -- Suddenly, fogs lifted, confusion vanished, and clarity came roaring in with a vengeance. His writing and approach spoke to me. In a matter of hours I had my story FULLY MAPPED and I had my writer's swing back again along with nearly all of my SCENE BEATS -- I feel like I have created a Story on Steroids and have cured the limp noodle story imitation I have been doodling with for the past months. And I did all of this in HOURS not days or weeks.
Thank you Dan Calvisi!!
I am not new to writing. I have been optioned, written on assignment, sold an original and had the good fortune of once having been a signed client of the William Morris Agency. But that is all in the past.
If you are having problems breaking a story, or your story lacks structure, or you are having writers' shanks, I highly encourage you to purchase My Calvisi's incredible book. And then visit his website at [...] where you will find a host of programs to aid you the writer.
I have not taken Mr Calvisi's classes yet because I just discovered him yesterday. But after reading his book and knowing what is out there with other writing methods and approaches, to me, this is the ABSOLUTE BEST, bar none. I was comfortable with the approach at once. It's simple, succinct and spot on. And I highly encourage others to give it a try to cure the writer's Shanks or just improve your writer's Swing. Trust me, just buy this great book.
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I have so far created a story map. That allows me to see what has to be dropped and what adjustments to make in order that I do not end up with a disordered muddle that doesn't flow properly. This will make actually writing the scenes so much easier. I plan then to launch into writing the scenes and then go back and trim as necessary to fit the original structure in terms of timing.
If you've never done this sort of thing before then this seems to me a good place to start.
Think about it.
1) If you want your book to be optioned, or better still made into a movie, then why not write it that way?
2) The structure shown here gives you the major "tentpoles" which hold up your plot, providing a valuable checklist to make sure all major story elements are present.
3) The structure used in movies guarantees progressive escalation.
4) You could use the timings and map them to approximate page count as a guide to pacing (haven't tried this but clearly feasible).
Wonderful addition to an aspiring screenwriter's Library.