Saturday, September 30, 2017

It's Nanowrimo PREP month!!!

by Alexandra Sokoloff

It's October first, and you know what that means....

It's Nanowrimo PREP month!

                      Get free Story Structure extras and movie breakdowns


I always do a brainstorming and story structure review series in October, and continue throughout November with prompts and encouragement, based on my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks and workshops. (Bearing in mind, of course, I have my own new thriller coming out October 24, which is going to take some of my time!)

If you’re going to put a month aside to write 50,000 words, doesn’t it make a little more sense to have worked out the outline, or at least an overall road map, before November 1?

So let's get this party started with The Master List.

I'm teaching the SinC into Great Writing Masterclass at Bouchercon in Toronto, October 11.


And he first thing I always have my workshop students do is make a Master List of their favorite movies in the genre they're writing in.

And you guys who have done this master list before, remember, it helps to do a new one every time you sit down with a new project, and brainstorm a list of movies and books that are structurally similar to your new project.

It’s very simple: in order to write stories like the ones that move you, you need to look at the specific stories that affect you and figure out what those authors and filmmakers are doing to get the effect they do. 

Every genre has its own structural patterns and its own tricks — screenwriter Ryan Rowe says it perfectly: “Every genre has its own game that it’s playing with the audience.”

For example: with a mystery, the game is “Whodunit?” You are going to toy with a reader or audience’s expectations and lead them down all kinds of false paths with red herrings so that they are constantly in the shoes of the hero/ine, trying to figure the puzzle out.

But with a romantic comedy or classic romance, there’s no mystery involved. 99.99% of the time the hero and heroine are going to end up together. The game in that genre is often to show, through the hero and heroine, how we are almost always our own worst enemies in love, and how we throw up all kinds of obstacles in our own paths to keep ourselves from getting what we want.

So if you’re writing a story like It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s not going to help you much to study Apocalypse Now. A story that ends with a fallen hero/ine is not going to have the same story shape as one that ends with a transcended hero/ine (although if both kinds of films end up on your list of favorite stories, you might find one is the other in reverse. That’s why you need to make your own lists!)

Once you start looking at the games that genres play, you will also start to understand the games that you most love, and that you want to play with your readers and audience.

I’m primarily a thriller writer, and my personal favorite game is: “Is it supernatural or is it psychological?” I love to walk the line between the real and unreal, so I am constantly creating story situations in which there are multiple plausible explanations for the weird stuff that’s going on, including mental illness, drug-induced hallucinations, and outright fraud. That’s why my master list for any book or script I write will almost always include The Haunting of Hill House and The Shining, both classic books (and films) that walk the line between the supernatural and the psychological.
But what works for me structurally is not necessarily going to do it for you.

If you take the time to study and analyze the books and films that have had the greatest impact on you, personally, or that are structurally similar to the story you’re writing, or both, that’s when you really start to master your craft. Making the lists and analyzing those stories will help you brainstorm your own, unique versions of scenes and mega-structures that work in the stories on your master list; it will help you figure out how your particular story will work. And doing this analysis will embed story structure in your head so that constructing a story becomes a fun and natural process for you.

Another great benefit of making the master list is that it helps you “brand” yourself as an author. Agents, editors, publishing houses, publicists, sales reps, bookstores, reviewers, media interviewers, librarians, and most importantly, your readers — all of these people want to be able to categorize you and your books. You need to be able to tell all of these people exactly what it is you write, what it’s similar to, and why it’s also unique. That’s part of your job as a professional author.
So the first order of business is to make your master list.

And I encourage you to splurge on a nice big beautiful notebook to work in. We writers live so much in our heads it’s important to give ourselves toys and rewards to make the work feel less like work, and also to cut down on the drinking.

ASSIGNMENT: Go to an office or stationery store or shop on line and find yourself a wonderful notebook to work in.

ASSIGNMENT: List ten books and films that are similar to your own story in structure and/or genre (at least five books and three movies if you’re writing a book, at least five movies if you’re writing a script.).

Or – if you’re trying to decide on the right project for you to work on, then make a list of ten books and films that you wish you had written!


ANALYZING YOUR LIST

Now that you’ve got your list, and a brand-new notebook to keep it in, let’s take a look at what you’ve come up with.

For myself, I am constantly looking at:

Silence of the Lambs (book and film)
A Wrinkle in Time (book)
The Wizard of Oz (film)
The Haunting of Hill House (book and original film)
Anything by Ira Levin, especially Rosemary’s Baby (book and film), and The Stepford Wives
The Exorcist (book and film)
Jaws (film, and it’s interesting to compare the book)
Pet Sematery (book, obviously!)
The Shining (book and film)
It’s A Wonderful Life

That's off the top of my head, just to illustrate the point I'm about to make – and not necessarily specific to the book I’m writing right now. On another day my list could just as easily include Hamlet, The Fountainhead, Apocalypse Now, The Treatment, Alice in Wonderland, Philadelphia Story, and Holiday Inn.

All of those examples are what I would call perfectly structured stories. But that list is not necessarily going to be much help for someone who's writing, you know, romantic comedy. (Although the rom coms of George Cukor, Preston Sturges, and Jane Austen, and Shakespeare are some of my favorite stories on the planet, and my master list for a different story might well have some of those stories on it).

Okay, what does that list say about me?

• It’s heavily weighted toward thrillers, fantasy, horror, and the supernatural. In fact, even the two more realistic stories on the list, Jaws and Silence of the Lambs, are so mythic and archetypal that they might as well be supernatural – they both have such overwhelming forces of nature and evil working in them.

• It’s a very dark list, but it includes two films and a book that are some of the happiest endings in film and literary history. I read and watch stories about the battle between good and evil… but if you’ll notice, except for the Ira Levin books, I do believe in good triumphing.

• The stories are evenly split between male protagonists and female protagonists, but except for Jaws, really, women are strong and crucial characters in all of them.

And guess what? All of the above is exactly what I write.

A lot of the stories on your own list will probably be in one particular genre: thriller, horror, mystery, romance, paranormal, historical, science fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction, YA (Young Adult, which is really more of an umbrella for all genres). And odds are that genre is what you write.

(If you’re not clear on what your genre is, I suggest you take your master list to the library or your local independent bookstore and ask your librarian or bookseller what genre those books and films fall into. These people are a writer’s best friends; please use them, and be grateful!)

But there will also always be a few stories on your list that have nothing to do with your dominant genre, some complete surprises, and those wild cards are sometimes the most useful for you to analyze structurally. Always trust something that pops into your head as belonging on your list. The list tells you who you are as a writer. What you are really listing are your secret thematic preferences. You can learn volumes from these lists if you are willing to go deep.

Every time I teach a story structure class it’s always fantastic for me to hear people’s lists, one after another, because it gives me such an insight into the particular uniqueness of the stories each of those writers is working toward telling.

You need to create your list, and break those stories down to see why they have such an impact on you - because that's the kind of impact that you want to have on your readers. My list isn't going to do that for you. Our tastes and writing and themes and turn-ons are too different - even if they're very similar. 

So try it:

 ASSIGNMENT: Analyze your master list of stories. What does the list say about the stories, themes and characters that most appeal to you?

- Alex


=====================================================

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.  e format, just $3.99 and $2.99; print 13.99.


                                           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 ebook    $3.99
STEALING HOLLYWOOD US print  $14.99
STEALING HOLLYWOOD print, all countries 








WRITING LOVE

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)

Amazon/Kindle

Barnes & Noble/Nook

Amazon UK

Amazon DE


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



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Happy Banned Books Week!


So this has been a great week of protest and pushing back against forces that would silence free speech and protest demonstrations. Let me be very clear - I’m not a fan of the NFL. I support the boycott of the league for its tolerance of/whitewashing of domestic abuse and sexual assault. But I #TaketheKnee to protest violence against people of color. I completely support that life-and-death cause, and I very much hope that meaning doesn’t get lost in all the flag waving.

That protest coincides with Banned Books Week – not by design, but certainly not unrelated. Both are pushbacks against authoritarianism.

I’ve had my own run-in with censorship this week as well. Hunger Moon went up on Netgalley for early review, and I’ve had some savagely great reviews already. Readers are responding to the book exactly as I’d hoped – there’s shock, empathy, anger, and apparently a whole lot of catharsis.

And one reader has also responded exactly as I anticipated some people will – she went on a furious crusade to one-star the book everywhere she could, saying things like “this book should never have been written” and “I read for entertainment – I don’t want to read politics in FICTION,” and “your career is over.”

There’s not a little absurdity in these attacks. I have no idea how anyone who says they’re after “entertainment” could be a long-time follower of the Huntress series. Who in the world reads books about rape culture, child abuse, sex trafficking, and serial killing - for entertainment?

And if you’ve read four books out of this series and haven’t figured out that they’re political, I don’t understand what you’ve been reading.

If you don’t want to read politics in fiction, then don’t read political books. It’s as simple as that. We’re all free to choose what we do and don’t read. We’re all free to boycott books we find morally reprehensible. But no one has any right to say “this book shouldn’t have been written.” That – isn’t freedom at all. Threatening an author with career annihilation is also pretty low – I don’t have any fear of that myself, having gone through more career iterations than I can count. But less battle-scarred authors than I am do have that fear and it’s another form of silencing dissent to play on that fear.

I don’t mind the negative review (even if the volume of tweets at me and the running around to different sites commenting on every positive review is a bit much…). I knew Hunger Moon would be controversial. It’s too real and of the moment not to evoke strong emotion. But as any author can tell you, the best thing that could happen for me and this book would be to have it end up on the banned book list. You can’t buy that kind of controversy and attention. If some people react with anger, it means I’m doing my job.

And I know my readers well enough to know there are plenty of them who want to read this book EXACTLY as I wrote it. I’d go so far as to say that a lot of us NEED this book right now. We need to be able to work through our anger and terror and despair at the current political nightmare we’re living.

But the sobering thing about all this is that this reader is also a librarian.

Let that sink in.

Anyone has any right to hate the book. Anyone has the right to post negative reviews. But to say – and believe – “This book should never have been written”?

That’s advocating censorship. That’s authoritarianism.

Now, the hopeful thing is that I’ve (carefully at first) engaged this librarian in dialogue and she’s admitted that she’s enjoying the discussion. I do have a certain amount of empathy for the cognitive dissonance the book must have brought up for her. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be an intelligent woman who is passionately against rape culture – and at the same time defends the sexual predator we have holding the White House hostage. That is a whole lot of mental conflict going on there.

The fact remains that she doesn’t like my politics, and she wants to shut that kind of thought down. Which is also politics. I don’t have sympathy for anyone who uses their power to unilaterally prevent other people from choosing what they read.

It’s not the only instance of censorship I’m facing this month, either. A college where I’ve taught my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshop for six years now has told me I’m no longer welcome unless I stop “bringing politics” to it (I wore an “Impeach Trump” tank top this year.) This is in Texas, where every year I go I am surrounded by a very particular, very aggressive, 24/7 political bias.

Again – authoritarianism. Silencing dissenting politics. If you can call words on a piece of fabric “politics.”

But that’s the power of words, isn’t it? A few words on a tank top can get someone banned from a supposed writing academy. Words are just that threatening. Just as threatening as kneeling during the National Anthem.

Needless to say, I won’t be going back to teach there without my politics, although I am sick about not being there any more to support the students who are too afraid to speak out because of that authoritarianism.

These forces have always been part of this country and the world. But all the simmering atavistic ugliness has boiled over because of the rise of this unrepentant racist, misogynist, authoritarian unpresident. The protests will continue. They have to continue.

And in Hunger Moon, I’ve written about just that. I’ve always written about rape culture. Now rape culture is being given free rein (and free reign) – by the unpresident, by the so-called Secretary of Education, by all-male committees making decisions about women’s health and reproductive rights, by the appointment of patriarchal judges. Many of my characters in the book are protesting, in vastly different ways. Others - have a different reaction.

The book is NOT easy. It is not perfect, either. I hope people will continue to find catharsis in it.

But if you’re looking for escapist entertainment, there’s plenty of it out there. You’re not going to find it here.

I am NOT writing for entertainment. I’m writing for my life.

                     “A book must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” 

                                               - Franz Kafka

-       Alex
 
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 On another note, but just as necessary to say - please join me in donating to help the people of Puerto Rico in this horrific time. You can express donate here, there are a number of aid organizations listed here, and you can donate to the Red Cross here.

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the book - 




                    Out October 24, 2017 in print, ebook and audio. Pre-order here.

In the new book, Roarke and his FBI team are forced to confront the new political reality when they are pressured to investigate a series of mysterious threats vowing death to college rapists... while deep in the Arizona wilderness, mass killer Cara Lindstrom is fighting a life-and-death battle of her own.

For thousands of years, women have been prey.

No more.

 Enter to win one of 100 print copies on Goodreads.



Hunger Moon is Book 5 of the Huntress/FBI series. The series is chronological and It is strongly recommended that you read the series in order, starting with Huntress Moon.

 
 


Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Big Twist

The Big Twist is a highly prized commodity in Hollywood; done well it's as close to a guaranteed script sale as you can get, and over and over has meant gonzo box office even in movies that would have been a hard sell otherwise (think THE CRYING GAME).

Book editors swear that a good ending is a good ending, twist or not, and I believe them, but I also believe a good twist can't hurt, so that's what we're going to be talking about today.
  

If you're interested in learning about twists work, I of course advocate the same method of study I have been preaching... I mean suggesting... all along.

Make a list.

What are ten twist endings that surprised and delighted you, or even sent you right back into the theater or to the first page of the book to see the movie or read the story again?

In this post, I'll lay out twists that I've particularly liked and why they worked for me, and I'm going to put my list up front because there are SPOILERS galore, and it you haven’t read or seen some of these and would like to, unspoiled, you may want to proceed cautiously.

Presumed Innocent
The Others
Oedipus (but honestly, if you don’t know that one…)
Chinatown
The Sixth Sense
The Crying Game
Seven
Bladerunner
A Kiss Before Dying
Fight Club
Identity
The Eyes of Laura Mars
Psycho
Don’t Look Now
In Bruges
Boxing Helena
Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos)
Falling Angel
Angel Heart
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
No Way Out
Eastern Promises

It should come as a surprise to no one that my list is all thrillers, supernatural and otherwise. Hey, it's MY list!

But surely there are great twists in comedies and romances - I just couldn't seem to think of any except RUTHLESS PEOPLE. Maybe I need to see something light once in a while.

So I'd be very grateful for some suggestions of great twists in OTHER genres, and I would be happy to talk about that in another post.

Of course, as mystery and thriller authors, designing story twists is a regular part of our job. After all, we don’t want our readers to guess the identity of our killers before our detectives do! We employ classic story tricks… I mean, literary devices… like red herrings, misdirection, false leads, false alibis, plants and payoffs, irony and unreliable narrators, to keep our readers (or viewers) guessing.

If you’re interested in building your skill at twisting a story, make your list and start analyzing how the author, screenwriter, or playwright is manipulating you to give that twist its power, so that you can do the same for your readers and viewers.

It's helpful to realize that these techniques have been around since the beginning of drama, or I’m sure really since the cave-dweller storytellers (“The mastodon did it!”). Knowing the names of techniques is always of use to me, anyway!

And I’d also like to note up front that big twists almost always occur at the act climaxes of a story, because a reveal this big will naturally spin the story in a whole other direction. (If you need more explanation about Act Climaxes and Turning Points, read here.)

Let’s break down some different kinds of twists.

* ANAGNORISIS

The Greeks called twists and reveals Anagnorisis, which means “discovery”: the protagonist's sudden recognition of their own or another character's true identity or nature, or realization of the true nature of a situation.

This is always a great thing if you can pull it off about the protagonist, because we kind of expect to find out unexpected things about other people, or have surprises come up in a situation, but to find out something you never suspected about yourself is generally a life-altering shock.

So here’s a big twist that has worked over and over again:

* THE PROTAGONIST IS THE KILLER (or criminal), BUT DOESN’T KNOW IT

- We find probably the most famous twist endings of world literature in Sophocles’ OEDIPUS THE KING (429 BCE) in which Oedipus, the king of Thebes, is trying to discover the cause of a devastating plague in the city, only to find that he himself is the culprit, cursed by the gods for killing his father and marrying his own mother.

- I’ve talked at length about the influence of Oedipus on the Polanski/Towne classic film CHINATOWN (discussion here).

- But the noir mystery FALLING ANGEL, by William Hjortsberg, and Alan Parker’s movie adaptation of that book, ANGEL HEART, steals its twists from Oedipus as well: PI Harry Angel is hired by Louis Cyphre to find Johnny Favorite, who owes Cyphre (his soul, turns out!). Angel finds out he himself is the man he’s looking for, Johnny Favorite, and also that he’s slept with and killed his own daughter.

- PRESUMED INNOCENT (book and film) is another take on the Oedipal detective story, in which main character and detective (by dint of being a ADA) Rusty Savage is guilty, not of the murder of his mistress, but of infidelity, so he protects his wife, the real killer, from detection.

PRESUMED INNOCENT also employs a great bit of misdirection, in that the victim was sadomasochistically bound and apparently sexually tortured and raped – there was semen found inside her. So even though the cheated wife would ordinarily be the prime suspect, we and all authorities rule her out.


* THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR

Another literary device that makes for a powerful twist is the unreliable narrator.

- Agatha Christie surprised and therefore irked some critics with this one in THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD.

- THE USUAL SUSPECTS has won classic status for its now famous reveal that meek Verbal Kint is the nefarious Keyser Soze he’s been talking to the police about, using random objects in the police station to add details to his fabricated story.

- FIGHT CLUB puts a spin on the unreliable narrator, as antagonist Tyler Durden is revealed to be an alter ego of split-personality narrator Edward Norton (called just “The Narrator”, which is a sly little hint of the device being used.)

- Of course multiple personality disorder can be used as a twist all on its own, most famously employed in PSYCHO, but also in, hmm, let’s see… THE EYES OF LAURA MARS, and dozens of cheesy ripoffs of the concept (fascinated as I am by MPD, this is one device I’m not sure I’d ever want to tackle, myself).

- The 2003 movie IDENTITY takes the MPD twist several steps further: EVERY character in the movie a different aspect of John Cusack’s fractured personality.

* KILL OFF AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER UNEXPECTEDLY

- While I’m thinking about it, PSYCHO has another famous twist, which I’m sure at the time of the film’s release was just about as shocking as the reveal of “Mother”: the apparent main character, Janet Leigh, is murdered (spectacularly) at the first act climax.

- This was copied much less effectively but still successfully in the 1987 thriller NO WAY OUT, in which the apparent love interest dies at the first act climax.

- The Brian DePalma film THE UNTOUCHABLES kills off a beloved sidekick (the Charles Martin Smith character) at the Midpoint, and as I recall I didn’t see that one coming at all (until he got into the elevator, that is…)

* THE “BIG SECRET”

The big secret reveal, done well, means a pretty guaranteed sale and often gonzo box office. Some famous examples:

- THE SIXTH SENSE. We all know this one: the child psychiatrist who seems to be treating a little boy who claims to see dead people turns out to be – one of the dead people the boy is seeing. This one is especially interesting to note because writer/director M. Night Shyamalan went through several drafts of the script before he realized that the Bruce Willis character should be a ghost. Which goes to prove you don’t have to have a great twist planned from the very beginning of your writing process – you can discover a perfect twist in the writing of the story.

- THE OTHERS takes a page from SIXTH SENSE and triples it: they’re ALL dead. A young mother and her two light-sensitive children think their creepy old house is haunted. A climactic séance reveals that actually the mother has shot herself and the children and THEY’RE the ones haunting the new family in the house.

- THE CRYING GAME’s famous twist reveals gorgeous, sexy Dil, whom we have fallen in love with just as surely as main character Fergus has, is a man. That was a twist that hit squarely below the belt, as writer/director Neil Jordan forced us to question our own sexuality as well as our concepts about gender.

THE CRYING GAME has a couple of earlier twists at the first act climax, too: IRA soldier Fergus becomes more and more sympathetic to his personable hostage Jody, enough so that Fergus lets Jody run free when he takes him out in the forest to execute him. We kind of saw that one coming. But then there’s a horrifying shock when on his run to freedom Jody is suddenly hit and killed by a truck. Devastating, and totally unexpected.

- EASTERN PROMISES. In one of the most emotionally wrenching reveals I’ve seen in a long time, Viggo Mortensen, the on-his-way-up chauffeur for a prominent leader of the Russian mob, turns out to be a Scotland Yard agent so deep undercover that in the end he is able to take over the whole mob operation – but must give up Naomi Watts in the process. A wonderful “love or duty” choice, which you don’t see often, these days. And if that isn’t enough to convince you to see the film, try: Viggo. Naked and tattooed. In a bathhouse. For a five-minute long fight scene. Did I mention he’s naked?

- We see another great reveal about the nature of a protagonist in BLADERUNNER: Harrison Ford, the replicant hunter Deckard, is himself a replicant.

* IRONY

Actually this whole post was inspired by my recent structure breakdown of THE MIST, the film, which takes the idea of its shocker ending from a line in King's original novella, but gives it an ironic twist that is pure horror: After battling these terrifying creatures for the whole length of the movie, our heroes run out of gas and the protagonist uses the last four bullets in their gun to kill all his companions, including his son (with the agreement of the other adults). And as he stumbles out of the car intending to meet his own death by monster, the mist starts to lift and he sees Army vehicles coming to the rescue. People loved it, people hated it, but it was one of the most devastating and shocking endings I've seen it years.

* OTHER COMMON PLOT TWISTS:

Here are several twists that we’ve all seen often:

- The “S/he’s not really dead” twist - as in BODY HEAT (and overused in ten zillion low- budget horror movies).

- The “It was all a dream” twist: OPEN YOUR EYES, BOXING HELENA (I’m not sure what you’d have to do to make that one play, it’s so universally loathed.)

- The “ally who turns out to be an enemy” twist: as in John Connolly’s EVERY DEAD THING, William Goldman’s MARATHON MAN,

- And the “enemy who turns out to be an ally” twist: Captain Renault in CASABLANCA, Professor Snape in the first Harry Potter (and then reversed again later…)

* JUST BE ORIGINAL

A twist doesn’t have to be as cataclysmic as a “big secret” reveal. Sometimes a plot element or action is so unexpected or original that it works as a twist.

- I was watching THE BIG HEAT the other night, shamefully had never seen it, and there are several big surprises. I knew that too-good-to-be-true wife was going to die, but I was totally unnerved by villain Lee Marvin throwing a pot of scalding coffee in girlfriend Gloria Grahame’s face. Although you don’t actually see the burning, that brutality must have made people jump our of their seats in 1953. Then (although she’s one of my favorite actresses of all time and totally up to the task) I was equally shocked to see Grahame’s character take over the movie from hero Glenn Ford (kudos to writer Sydney Boehme and director Fritz Lang for that) and shoot another woman (a co-conspirator of Marvin’s) so that key evidence will be revealed, then go after Marvin herself and burn him in exactly the way he burned her (before he shoots and kills her).

What works as a twist there is the sudden primacy of a seemingly minor character – especially a woman who would normally just be there for eye candy. Sad to say, but portraying a female character who is as interesting as women actually are in real life still counts as a standout.

- In the movie SEVEN there’s a great twist in the second act climax when John Doe, the serial killer the two detectives have been pursuing, walks into the police station and turns himself in. You know he’s up to no good, here, because it’s Kevin Spacey, but you have no idea where the story is going to go next.

And of course then you have that ending: that John Doe has always intended himself as one of the seven victims (his sin is “envy”), and the infamous “head in the box” scene, as Doe has a package delivered to Brad Pitt containing the head of his wife so that Pitt will kill Doe in anger.

Hmm, can’t end this post with that example - too depressing.

- Okay, here’s a favorite of mine, for sheer trippiness: Donald Sutherland being killed by a knife-wielding dwarf in DON’T LOOK NOW – and the delightful homage to the scene in the brilliant IN BRUGES.

And the above are not even scratching the surface of great plot twists – I could really write a book. :)

So, everyone, what are some of your favorite movie and book plot twists? Writers, do you consciously engineer plot twists? And editors, on the level - are you more likely to buy a book that has a big twist?

- Alex


=====================================================

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.  Any format, 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 ebook    $3.99
STEALING HOLLYWOOD US print  $12.99
STEALING HOLLYWOOD print, all countries 








WRITING LOVE

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)