Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Book Meme

So it's happened. I've finally been memed. And by Sheikspear no less. What's more I've finally worked out how to insert a link and it to appear the way I want. Lots to learn with the blog lark.

Well the list of useful screenwriting books isn't too hard, I hope. The tricky part will be finding other victims. Hmmmmm.

Right. I've looked along my writing shelves. I suppose I'll list the ones that I read from cover to cover when I got them. Not to many really. Most are used like reference books. I dip in and out when I need inspiration or I'm stuck on a particular issue. I've also stuck to screenwriting or TV ones.

No.1. Alternative Screenwriting by Ken Dancyger & Jeff Rush

This is top of my list in so many ways. Easy to read, inspiring when I get a block. Despite the title it isn't about breaking rules. More explaining them and showing how to twist and recombine them. Lots of examples too.

No.2. Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman

Is this absent from anyone's list? Just to remind you how nuts the industry is.

No. 3. Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger

My characters used to just free-wheel. This meant the plot got forgotten completely. This book helped me knock them into shape and to get into their head a bit better.

No.4 and 5. Screenwriting by Lew Hunter and Story by Robert McKee

The nuts and bolts. I don't follow them religiously, instead I use them as problem solvers.

Then the fun ones.

No.6. Porridge: The Scripts by Dick Clements & Ian La Frenais
No.7. Steptoe and Son by Ray Galton & Alan Simpson
No.8. BlackAdder 1485-1917 by Richard Curtis & Ben Elton
No.9 Withnail and I Screenplay by Bruce Robinson
No.10. Smoking in Bed by Bruce Robinson

So how many was I supposed to list? I'm going to stop now or I will end up logging every writing or script book I own!

So who do I meme in turn? Well I pick Jon and Paul and Colin. Unless someone beat me to it.


Colin McBride said...

Hi Rach,

I think my fave screenwriting books are as follows:

McKee - Story - it's pretty much the standard, isn't it? It tells you everything you pretty much need to know to get started.

Smethurst - Writing for Television - I would say this is the book that I've personally found most useful. Well written and really informative.

Field - Screenwriter's Problem Solver - Field was the first of screenwriting texts I turned to for my first script and quickly found his approach a bit too structured. However, this one I find a handy reference when you run into trouble.

Blum - Televison and Screen Writing. Written primarily for the US market, I have found this really useful and while it's not really a cover to cover read, it's a really useful reference work. It also has good sections on pitching, agents' letters and that whole side of the business.

And on a more fun note, if you can get hold of the novelisations of both series of A Very Peculiar Practice by Andrew Davies, he's written a really fun narrative on the tribulations of TV writer Ron Rust as he tries to get the series made. Great fun.

Rach said...

I forgot I had Smethurst on my shelf. It's so neat it slips away between the others.

And I can't beleive I forgot A Very Perculiar Practice.

I'll have to take a look at Field and Blum.

Rach said...

...and before anyone points it out, yes I spotted what I did...I before E except after C...Doh!

Jon Peacey said...

Oooh! I've been double-memed: Chip's tagged me too. I'll have to do some more thinking...

Thank you kindly... :)

Rach said...

Well Jon, you must be doubly popular or we are all on tenter-hooks to see how your brain works.

Jon Peacey said...

I woudn't dare to say popular...

For some reason everybody whose ever met me wants to know how my brain works: mainly it's with cogs, rubber bands and a frequent smell of burning!

Rach said...

Mine's sugar and spice and superglue.

Jon Peacey said...

Isn't that one of Nigella's unpublished, less successful recipes?

Rach said...

No. It's why they're back from teh chippy rather than risk my cooking. Got to go eat them.