Is anyone else sick of screenwriting books?!?

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  • Is anyone else sick of screenwriting books?!?

    I've been thinking this for a long time now. I've bought probably 15 different books on screenwriting, and you know what...I'll never get another one again. They all say the SAME DAMN THING. They've just seemed to find 78,435 different ways to say em. 500 Ways to Beat This, How to Write a Script in 21 Days That. Story This, How To Write A Sellable Screenplay That. I'm tired of these people making money off of saying the same thing. Anyone with me? JUST WRITE!!!

  • #2
    My opinion...if you have to be TAUGHT how to write, you probably weren't meant for it. You either have it in you or don't.

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    • #3
      I have not used any screenwriting books. I have David Trottier's modestly titled The Screenwriter's Bible and it's in mint condition.

      I don't mind that there are books on screenwriting at Barnes and Nobles. Those that I do like are more anecdotes from working professionals who share their struggles and successes.

      Among the books I like are "First Time I Got Paid For It", "Adventures in Screen Trade" and "Which Lie Did I Tell" by William Goldman, and "Oscar Screenwriters on Screenwriting" by Joel Engel.

      I think books like "how to land an agent and sell your screenplay" or "marketing screenplays" are the worst types. Those are the true scams. Below that are books like "How to write X type of screenplay in Y days" or "How to create more emotionally Z characters in 10 easy methods" type of books by authors who probably never even wrote a screenplay.

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      • #4
        Is anyone else sick of screenwriting books?

        Yes.

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        • #5
          I'm not. I've never read any. But I will if Ce writes one.

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          • #6
            I dunno... a TV producer I know gave me a list of about 6 or so different books to check out, after I inquired about finding good books on screenwriting. So I picked up the only 2 my local Waldenbooks had that day, Goldman's "Which Lie Did I Tell?" and McKee's "Story".

            I must say that "Which Lie Did I Tell?" was indeed a very funny and enlightening book. It didn't help be figure out HOW to write better, but it gave me a better insight to the goings-on in Hollywood. Robet McKee's "Story" however... just didn't do it for me. I sat down, read about 50 pages into it, and closed it. And in no way do I feel, let alone THINK, any differently than I did going into it. And this is the 'writer's bible' that so many people have suggested? I just don't get it.


            ANYWAY... there are 2, just 2, books I'm actually considering getting. Soon, after I get everything settled in my life, I'm going to hopefully jump back into 'Story' and get it finished.

            THEN I'm going to ponder getting 'The Complete Book of Screenwriting', because it supposedly covers a lot of writing formats (and I was a B5 and RG fan). And I KNOW I'll be getting Jeffrey Scott's upcoming "How to Write for Animation", as his writing has been inspiring to me in the past, and it's really the only book I know of to deal totally with writing for Animation.

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            • #7
              LionClaw,

              I understand what you're saying because I have about 6-7 myself and most of them sound alike. They all say the same thing except for one...The Art Of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. This book is the best book out there for screenwriters and yet it wasn't even written for screenwriters!

              Do yourself a favor and go out and get this. It's actually a theory on writing for the 3-Act structure which can be applied to any writing which uses this structure, screenwriting included. The theory is that plot grows out of character and after reading the book twice, I agree with him.

              The book was written in 1946 and it's still around today. That should tell you something right there. Do you think Syd Field's book will be around that long? I f*cking doubt it.

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              • #8
                I also have a shltload of screenwriting books. You could rip off the covers and switch them around and no one would know the difference.

                One book that I find to indispensible, however, is (recently re-discovered) Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey.
                It's really helps me out of a jam whenever I have problems with story structure.

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                • #9
                  I will be at about 2pm today.

                  I'm doing a talk and autographing my book at the Writers Store in Westwood at noon.

                  - Bill

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                  • #10
                    I've found the most informative are the interviews with screenwriters compiled by Bill Froug. Just as, when I'm a novelist, the ones I like best are the Paris Review interviews. No one's preaching, just speaking from experience. Here and there you pick up a good pointer. Otherwise, I'm with a lot of people on this thread--read, read, read; write, write, write.

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                    • #11
                      Yes, I'm sick of screenwriting books. I've invested alot of money into screenwriting books, and Violator's right--rip off the covers, switch them around--couldn't tell the difference on most of them.

                      IMO, if you don't have the talent/creativeness to begin with, it doesn't matter. The "formatting and structuring" of a story can be learned but the creating aspect of a story cannot. You've either got talent to write a story or you don't.

                      But, I do agree with Jake in that some of the more informative books are interviews with professional screenwriters who live, breath and sleep screenwriting. They know...the inside story.

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                      • #12
                        I took a great weekend writing workshop (say that three times fast) at UCLA extension.
                        The first thing the teach told us, was to go out and finish whatever script we're working on,
                        BEFORE taking another class or reading another writing book.

                        It makes sense, I have a few friends who are workshop junkies. They are always
                        preparing to write a script, always have an outline - not even a script - but
                        and outline they are working on. Always busy, but never actually doing anything.

                        It was probably the best practical advice I ever got.

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                        • #13
                          nope not me

                          I'm never sick of books, I love learning and reading about craft and the business of screenwriting!

                          If you're sick of books then stop reading them, BUT no matter how much you know or THINK you know, theres always room for improvements and books can come in handy.

                          Imagine your Surgeon saying,
                          "Oh the hell with books, I'm sick of them. They all say the same thing.
                          I'm just gonna get to cutting, gimme a knife"

                          Boy if that ever happens, we'll all be in bad shape! LOL

                          VM

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                          • #14
                            Hmmm

                            That was kind of a snotty thing to say.

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                            • #15
                              SNOTTY?????

                              what as snotty about what i posted?
                              saying that i learn reading?
                              that i like learning?
                              that i love the art and craft of screenwriting?
                              i hope you never tell a young kid in school that learning is snotty.

                              if i had said, BOOKS SUCKS, you proabaly would love me for saying that.........huh?

                              vm

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