Saturday, August 15, 2009

Screenwriting Tricks For Authors: Table of Contents

For those new to the blog, here's where you can find some of the most important of these articles in a relative order. A lot of the articles link to other articles within them, but this will provide an overall table of contents.

Obviously, you can skip around as much as you like! But for those of you who don't know where to start - it's a map.

If you're tired of clicking around for links, and/or want more than what's on the website, all the information on this blog and more, including full story structure breakdowns of various movies, is available in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks.  

Obviously I am going to suggest that to get the most out of these concepts, you'll want to get one or both of the workbooks. I've priced the ebook versions so low so that it's easy for anyone to afford them:   just $3.99 and $2.99.

                                           STEALING HOLLYWOOD

This new workbook updates all the text in the first Screenwriting Tricks for Authors ebook with all the many tricks I’ve learned over my last few years of writing and teaching—and doubles the material of the first book, as well as adding six more full story breakdowns.


STEALING HOLLYWOOD print, all countries 


Writing Love is a shorter version of the workbook, using examples from love stories, romantic suspense, and romantic comedy - available in e formats for just $2.99.

Smashwords (includes online viewing and pdf file)


Barnes & Noble/Nook

Amazon UK

Amazon DE


You can also sign up to get free movie breakdowns here:


          SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS (and Screenwriters!)


What you need to know right up front, whether you're writing a novel or a screenplay:

          Introduction: The method behind the madness, here

          What's Your Premise?

          What is High Concept?

          Your First Draft is Always Going to Suck

If you're writing a screenplay, or thinking about it, you'll want to read these screenwriting articles sooner rather than later:

On Screenwriting

          Screenwriting Part One: The Job

          Screenwriting Part Two: The Craft

          Screenwriting Part Three: The Dirty Little Secret

Story structure for both authors AND screenwriters:

          Screenwriting - The Craft

          Story Structure 101 - The Index Card Method

          Story Elements Checklist

          Why the Three Act Structure?

          What are Act Climaxes, Turning Points, Act Breaks?

          Elements of Act One

Act One Breakdowns:

          Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

          Romancing the Stone

          Chinatown Act I Breakdown

Acts Two and Three

          Elements of Act Two

          Elements of Act Two, Part 2

          Elements of Act Three

          What Makes a Great Climax?

Visual Storytelling:

          Visual Storytelling Part 1

          Visual Storytelling Part 2

Creating Suspense:

          Creating Suspense

          Creating Suspense, Part 2

Plants and Payoffs:

          Plants and Payoffs

More structure

          Fairy Tale Structure and the List

          Meta Structure

          What KIND Of Story Is It?

Creating Character:

          The Protagonist

          What Makes a Great Protagonist? Case Study: Jake Gittes

          What Makes a Great Villain?

          Villains: The Forces of Antagonism

          Collecting Character

          Character Introductions

Story Breakdowns

- Act Climaxes Breakdowns:

          What Are Act Breaks, Act Clmaxes, Turning Points, Plot Points? 

          You've Got Mail

          Raiders of the Lost Ark

- Act One Breakdowns: (with more discussion)

          Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

          Romancing the Stone

- Chinatown Full Story Breakdown

          Chinatown Act I Breakdown

          Chinatown - Act II, Part One Breakdown

          Chinatown Second Half Breakdown


          Why do I need an agent, anyway?

          How do I get a literary agent?

          Life is a Pitch Meeting

          The Business of Indie Publishing


If you'd like to to see more of the story elements I discuss on this blog in action, I strongly recommend that you watch at least one, or much better, three of the films I break down in the workbooks, following along with my notes.

I do full breakdowns of Chinatown, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Romancing the Stone, and The Mist, and act breakdowns of You've Got Mail, Jaws, Silence of the Lambs, Raiders of the Lost Ark in Screenwriting Tricks For Authors.

I do full breakdowns of The Proposal, Groundhog Day, Sense and Sensibility, Romancing the Stone, Leap Year, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sea of Love, While You Were Sleeping and New in Town in Writing Love.


Gayle Carline said...

Ah, dammit-to-hell, I completely misread your blog and thought you'd be in Riverside on Sunday. What possessed you to do two signings in one day? Oh, wait, you're a horror writer - you must get possessed all the time (LOL)!

I was so looking forward to buying The Unseen and getting an autograph, AND telling you about meeting Bentley Little at the Placentia Library today (he bought one of my books, which made my head spin a bit).

Good thing I'll be at Bouchercon this year, so I can get one of your books, possibly even signed!


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Alexander said...

This is really an amazing resource - I can't tell you how many books I've bought on the craft of writing, and this is more helpful than any of them.



Anonymous said...

Alexandra, I really enjoyed your articles on screenwriting and how they relate to writing novels. I love movies and am an avid collector of DVD bonus materials where the ‘making of’ the movie is explained. I held your ‘three act – eight sequence’ diagram against my novel and found that I had unconsciously used my knowledge from years of watching movies and theatre to pace my own story. Everything you spoke about was present – this was great fun, as now I’m more conscious of the principles behind good story-telling.

Thank you so much for your insights.

Martyn V. Halm, author of Peccadillo, the Amsterdam Assassin Series.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Sorry, Gayle, wasn't trying to fake you out! Can't wait for BCon!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Cher, thanks for the shoutout! Glad to have you here.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Thanks, Alexander! I always say read everything. Eventually it all comes together - but I'm glad I was able to help.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

That's the thing almost everyone seems to discover, Martyn - we KNOW this stuff already, from writing and watching and reading, but it's just nice to have a review of it all, and checklists.

tobe said...

Great stuff Alexandra.

I would like to buy the pdf version of the screenwriting book -- but it does not seem to be available.

Please let me know if a way to purchase a version I can print out.


Lucy said...

Hi Alexandra,

Does the second book cover the same ground as the first with extra material or should I buy and read both?


Wendy said...

This is the BEST blog on story structure. I also LOVE your books. Thank you so much for sharing your advice on story generously. I'm also getting John Truby's masterclass, as you recommended. You're the real deal, Alex!