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The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take Paperback – January 1, 2012
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About the Author
Eric Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for such companies as Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, 20th Century-Fox, ABC Motion Pictures, Lifetime, Showtime, NBC, ABC, TNT, Skouras Pictures, Gaylord Productions, Geffen Pictures, and Saban Entertainment.
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***FOR BEGINNING SCREENWRITERS: Please don't make the same mistake as me in buying over a dozen books on screenwriting. To be honest, there's more than OVER a dozen good books on screenwriting. But, as happened with me, it's easy to get into READING about writing instead of doing what writers do…….write. For this reason, to save you time and money, I strongly recommend purchasing this book AND Inside Story: The Power of The Transformational Arc (by Dara Marks). The two books give you the BIGGEST advantage in avoiding two of the biggest pitfalls: Weak structure (Story Solution) and deep, emotional story that hooks us from the beginning with CHARACTERS that we care about (Inside Story).
I don't mean to recommend the additional book as a knock on SS; I just really find that SS does an EXCELLENT job on structure. Inside Story does an EXCELLENT job on THEME, which Marks blends AMAZINGINGLY into story.
But, to return to SS: Over 80% of the screenplays that have issues, poor structure and bland protagonists fill that pile. Make it to the next round of that famous screenwriting contest and purchase this book.
Once again, a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The part about characters was really great, too. This book provides a lot of examples of roles that characters should play, and this part really brought my novel to life. It had people in it, of course, but they weren't assigned specific roles that I understood very well. This book really pushed my WIP to the next level.
I've read books that encourage authors to write down a character's likes and dislikes, behavioural nuances, as well as other such hogwash. These books fail to realise that a character liking the colour blue and who flicks their hair when they're nervous DOES NOT make for a compelling character. Advice like this has lead to an abundance of hair-flicking Mary Sue characters who passively wade through their story until they accidentally stumble across The End.
Eric distills characters down to their most important function. Reality is, stories shouldn't happen DESPITE the characters- stories should happen BECAUSE of the characters. Eric shows us how to do things right.
"23 Actions"... although this book does detail these 23 actions in the latter part of the book, everything before this is also gold. I could never figure out why my dialogue was always so weak. Now I know.
If you've ever suffered from a plot that flounders and sags half-way through, or had trouble bringing stories to a proper resolution, or had difficulty writing characters who make things happen, or if you've even suffered from writer's block, I recommend reading this book.
The only writers I WOULDN'T recommend this book for are those who 1) are half-way through a book already (because reading this book will make you want to scrap everything and start over again, or 2) are greatly opposed to the idea of planning out your story in advance.
This book still leaves the hard work up to the writer. But Eric sets the writer on the correct path.
Needless to say, I've applied Eric's advice to my own work, and it's already 100 times stronger for it. I can't believe that following the advice of one book has had such a dramatic effect on the quality of my storytelling.
Story Solution is easy to understand. It delivers on its promise of offering a solution to any writing problem by showing you how to structure a story that works. All the necessary parts of a story you NEED to consider are touched upon here. Dozens of movie plots are used as examples. If nothing, the book is an interesting examination of movie plots.
Put it this way: if you follow this book's advice, you'll probably start pumping out stories people would want to read pretty quickly. Stories that make sense, follow a cohesive structure, and present interesting characters.
Whether you read this book or not, check out these excellent guides for writers:
1) Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing by David Morrell (Newest edition has a slightly different title.)
2) On Writing by Stephen King
3) Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
3) Outlining Your Novel by Weiland
4) Scene & Structure by Bickham
5) Any of Chuck Weltig's books on writing
6) Anne Rice's advice on writing from her Youtube page
These should get your brain-engine overheating. Enjoy. :)
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