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Screenwriting Tricks for Authors (and Screenwriters!): STEALING HOLLYWOOD: Story structure secrets for writing your BEST book (Volume 3) Paperback – August 7, 2015
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"STEALING HOLLYWOOD is the owner's manual that belongs in every writer's toolkit. Alex dissects the elements of story-telling with clarity, wit and wisdom."
--Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author
"Alex's unique approach to structuring fiction changed my entire writing process for the better. STEALING HOLLYWOOD is a must-have book for new and seasoned writers alike."
--International bestselling author Diane Chamberlain
"A must-have book for authors and screenwriters."
--JA Konrath, bestselling author of A Newbie's Guide To Publishing
From the Author
Table of Contents
PART ONE: STORY STRUCTURE
1. The Master List
2. What's Your Premise?
3. First, You Need An Idea
4. What KIND of Story is It?
5. The Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure
6. The Index Card Method and Structure Grid
7. Elements of Act One
8. Hero/ine, Protagonist, Main Character
9. Protagonist Case Study: Jake Gittes
10. What Makes A Great Villain?
11. Villains, Part 2: The Forces of Antagonism
12. Act Two: What's the PLAN?
13. Elements of Act Two, Part 1
14. Elements of Act Two, Part 2
15. Elements of Act Three
16. What Makes A Great Climax?
17. Story Elements Checklist
18. Narrative Structure Beat Sheet
19. Act Climaxes Breakdowns and Examples
20. A Process for Writing
21. Story Elements: Questions and Prompts
PART TWO: MORE SCREENWRITING TRICKS
22. Visual Storytelling
23. Visual and Thematic Image Systems
24. Expanding on Key Story Elements
25. Lessons from Musical Theater
26. Love Story Elements
27. Story Elements: Other Genres
28. Fairy Tale Structure
29. Meta Structure
30. What is "High Concept"?
32. First Chapters
33. Creating Suspense
34. Plants and Payoffs
35. The Big Twist
36. Act and Sequence Bridges
37. The Rule of Three
38. Character Introductions
39. Using Character Clusters
40. Your First Draft is Always Going to Suck
41. Top Ten Things I Know About Editing
PART THREE: STORY BREAKDOWNS
42. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
43. Romancing the Stone
45. Groundhog Day
46. The Matrix
47. Sense and Sensibility
48. Sea of Love
49. The Mist
50. The Wizard of Oz
51. Four Weddings and a Funeral
PART FOUR: THE BUSINESS
51. How Do I Get A Literary Agent?
52. What about Indie Publishing?
53. So You Want to Know About Screenwriting
54. Life is a Pitch Meeting
55. Recommended Reading
56. Professional Author Organizations
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Top Customer Reviews
I didn't know where to start and I didn't have a plan. What to do? I keyed in a heading: OUTLINE. That's what I needed: an outline. But the screen remained blank. What next? I purchased novel writing software to help organize my ideas and get the creative juices flowing. Sigh. The learning curve was too steep and the screen remained blank and threatening. Guess I was meant to be a reader, not a writer.
Along came our community reading festival. If I couldn't write, at least I could stock up on good books. While I stood in line for an author book signing, a soft voice nearby said, "Excuse me. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but did you say that you tried to write a book but found the process too complicated?"
"Yes," I said, it was complicated.
The quiet little lady continued, "If you are serious about writing, I might have just what you need." She wrote the name of a writing academy at West Texas A&M University. "Please feel free to call if I can be of help."
I went straight home and googled the website of the writing academy. Alexandra Sokoloff's class on plotting shouted my name. But so had the five classes I took before the days of the blank screen. How could I determine whether this workshop could solve my organizational problems? By gosh, I'd buy Alexandra's text book "Stealing Hollywood: Story Structure for Writing Your Best Book." I had concerns. Perhaps "Stealing Hollywood" would be just the ticket for screenwriters but maybe not so valuable for novelists. I didn't need to worry. Yes, there are valuable Hollywood tricks in the book. But this is it, the real McCoy, the meat and potatoes of how to write your best book ever. Three hundred and eighty-six pages that take you from concept to finish.
Okay, so Alexandra Sokoloff can write a great text book. But can she write a great novel? I bought four of her books and, yes she can write and she writes well. Even better, she writes the genre I like to read. Airline tickets were tempting me, but could this stranger teach? Should I enroll in Alexandra's workshop "Plot Your Novel in a Week?" There was only one way to find out---hit the purchase button and head for Texas. And I did. Yep, Alexandra can teach---and entertain---and motivate. Working with Alex and the members of our class was the most fun I'd had in a long time. Every student left with good memories and a fully plotted novel.
I finally have a work in progress organized by the efficient and easy to use index card method. No more intimidating blank screen. There are words,
pages, even chapters.
You don't have to travel to Texas to benefit from "Stealing Hollywood." The book stands on its own merit. But if you have the opportunity, it is the experience of a lifetime.
Thanks, Alexandra Sokoloff for writing a fantastic book on story structure and for presenting an outstanding workshop.Thanks Jodi Thomas, bestselling author of more than 50 books, for flying to Florida for our community reading festival. Did I mention that Jodi was the kind lady who encouraged me to pursue my dream?
And a final thanks to the faculty and staff of the West Texas A&M University Writers' Academy. You're the greatest!
I learned so much from it.
If you're stuck plotting your story, this can help. If you're stuck revising your story, this can help.
This is one of the best novel writing books I ever read, before I got this book I was stuck on reading book after book and wasn't getting anywhere, but after reading Screenwriting Tricks for Authors I finish my first rough draft in 2 months. This is a must have for fiction writers.