Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors II

This should make a lot of people here deliriously happy: the second Screenwriting Tricks book is up now - just $2.99 for any format.

- Smashwords (includes online viewing and pdf file)

- Amazon/Kindle

- Barnes & Noble/Nook

- Amazon UK

- Amazon DE

Now, let me be clear. This is not a book on writing romance.

What it is is a greatly expanded follow-up to Screenwriting Tricks For Authors - with a special focus on the key story elements and structure tricks used in writing love (including love subplots). The ten story breakdowns in this book are all romantic comedy, romantic adventure, period romance and romantic suspense. (I'm going to have to save urban fantasy and paranormal for another, darker book).

I started the book as a general revision of STFA, to incorporate all of the new discoveries I’ve been making from writing my own novels, from teaching workshops, and from interfacing with my workshop students and all of you here about your story problems and discoveries. One of the things I most wanted to do, at the requests of quite a few of you (you know who you are!), was include more examples from love stories and comedies. Yes, I’m a thriller writer, and most of you are aware that my teaching examples can run toward the - um, homicidal.

But as I was reviewing a lot of romantic comedies and romantic suspense for great and teachable examples of key story elements and other points I’m always trying to make, it dawned on me how much more useful it would be to let the first workbook stand as is and move forward by concentrating the new material in this book, and each subsequent book, on just one genre at a time.

One thing I love about this new book is that it really demonstrates that idea I'm always trying to get across about working with a Master List, that Top Ten list of your own favorite stories in your specific genre. So it made sense for me to organize the book by making my own list of ten love stories and analyzing those in-depth, looking closely at how these films handle key elements, both of general storytelling and those elements specific to love stories.

So yes, it should be very useful to romance writers, but I hope writers of all genres will be able to get almost or just as much out of it, too.

There are ten full story breakdowns in this book:

While You Were Sleeping
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Sense and Sensibility
Groundhog Day
Sea of Love
The Proposal
New In Town
Leap Year
Notting Hill
Romancing the Stone

(And if you ask me, that alone is worth the price of the book, no matter what genre you're working in!)

As I worked my way through the list I was finding patterns and elements of love stories that I’d never been consciously aware of before, but after my third or fourth story breakdown I realized how very common certain elements are to love stories of all kinds, and how helpful it is to know and name those elements every time you start out to write a love story — or love subplot. And that goes for ANY genre you happen to be working in.

I know some people are going to ask - "Which book should I get?"

Why oh why do people ask these things of authors? You should get BOTH, of course, you can have them both for less than the price of a paperback. Plus, then I can eat. My cat will thank you, too.

But if you want to know which to START with, well, it depends. If you're writing romance or anything close to it, then definitely get Writing Love for all the love story examples. If you're writing the darker genres, you will want to have the first Screenwriting Tricks for the darker examples. If you are brand new to this blog or to writing, and not particularly writing love, then you will probably want to read the shorter STFA first; there is so much more material in Writing Love that it might be overwhelming. When you're just starting out, less is often more.

If you've been reading the blog for a long time, and/or if you already have STFA I, then you definitely want Writing Love - it's twice as much material and twice as many breakdowns.

Please let me know what you think. The great thing about e publishing is that it's all so alterable!

- Alex


- Smashwords (includes pdf and online viewing)

- Kindle

- Barnes & Noble/Nook

- Amazon UK

- Amaxon DE (Eur. 2.40)


Steve Enloe said...

Already bought it and started on the story breakdowns. This is good stuff! I've spent enough money on writing books to know. Thanks, Alex!

Cheryl said...

*Pulls out Kindle*

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Thanks, Cheryl!

And Steve, thanks especially for that great Amazon review. It really helps!

PatriciaW said...

I wish I'd known. I'd have held out when I bought the other book a month ago for this one specific to romance. But hey, what's another 2.99? Looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

I bought both today and look forward to digging in and gaining new insights. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great, I'm onto it. You write beautifully and teach awesomely. Got a question...only if you've got a minute: what is the difference between a thriller and a suspense? Thanks for the great blog - Liz

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Thanks, Patricia and Muse. I really appreciate the people who are supporting the books.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Anon, on the "thriller or suspense?" question, there's no official line. Some people will tell you that it's not a thriller unless it has world consequences, like war or the destruction of a country or earth as we know it. I think that's silly (and sexist); and publishers don't think of it that way at all - most of the time they'll use the word "thriller" to position a book for a certain audience and the word "suspense" to position the same book to a different audience.

Romance has the subgenre "romantic suspense", which includes both thrillers and suspense; Hollywood would be more inclined to call romantic suspense a thriller.

You could say that suspense is a slower and more sustained thrill, and a thriller is more about adrenaline and urgency, but any good novel in either genre will use both - does that make sense? And you can choose to emphasize one over the other: a kidnapping story can be written as a thriller or more as a suspense story.

I think the real question you may be asking is which are YOU writing, so if you want to give me more details or some examples, I can tell you what I think.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying Alex and yes, I want to know what genre of YA I'm writing!
I have a young girl with a dying father and a creepy hospice nurse who claims he can save the father in exchange for her physical sacrifices. The story is small in territory: a house, a dusty California town, a backyard but big in scope and consequences. I am thinking....The Price. Ta dah!
Thanks so much for your time.

Lisa Mondello said...

Fantastic book for romance writers. Thanks, Alex!

Melisa said...

Bought the book, can't wait to read it as I do read and write books with romance involved. Nice to have a book with romance as some examples.


JD Rhoades said...

Just got 'em both for my new Kindle. Easier to carry around than that sheaf of printed out Murderati posts I've got.

Now go eat.

laughingwolf said...

alex... does your 'any format' include apple's i-pad? [thinking of getting one]

or sony? [my younger daughter has one]

once i'm kinda/sorta settled in my new digs, your books will receive priority purchases....

Jamie Dierks said...

As a screenwriter, I've put the techniques I've learned to use in writing my novels. It makes my writing go so much faster when I have a roadmap of plot points, etc. Looking forward to reading the book.

Jamie Lee Scott

Anonymous said...

Yes, looking for structure in movies is fun, and subtexts and what-not. My 13 year old daughter is crazy about the X-Men and via internet search discovered that the creators were basing the X on Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, which convinced the producer to go ahead with making the first film after an initial reluctance.

You are an inspiring teacher - I think partly because you let the reader/writer relax at the same time they are churning.

Novels are becoming more like film: Friedkin said that's why he made "The Exorcist", because the novel read like a film.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Anon, I couldn't tell from your synopsis if this is supernatural or psychological, or one that could go either way, like The Price.

If you're choosing to emphasize fear, and there's a supernatural possibility, it's horror. If it's totally realistic, but creepy with lots of real life jeopardy, I would call that an edgy YA thriller (edgy because of the sexual threat.)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Thanks, Lisa - I love discussing all this stuff with you!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Melisa, thanks - it's about time I broke down some romance, right? You all shamed me into it.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

LOL, Dusty. Or at least a big mochaccino, right?

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Tony, yes, you can get the i pad format from Smashwords - I think! or download a free Kindle app for the i pad.

I read Kindle books on my Mac Air with that Kindle app until I got my Kindle.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Jamie, hi - yeah, all my screenwriter friends do the same thing. It makes the writing SO much easier.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Nido, it's great to hear that I'm doing something that lets writers relax while they're working. Thanks for saying so.

The Exorcist does read EXACTLY like a movie. Wonderful book, I was just talking about it on GoodReads.

laughingwolf said...

cool, thx alex :)

Deirdra A. Eden said...

You have a fabulous blog! I'm your newest follower. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: Powerful Woman Writer Award for all the hard work you do!

Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.