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Stealing Hollywood: Story Structure Secrets for Writing Your Best Book

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The highly anticipated textbook of the internationally acclaimed SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS workshops. Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts—by l The highly anticipated textbook of the internationally acclaimed SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS workshops. Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts—by learning from the movies. Screenwriting is based on a simple (and powerful) structure that you already know from watching so many movies and television shows in your lifetime. And it's a structure that your reader or audience unconsciously expects, and that is crucial for you to deliver. In this workbook, award-winning author/screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff shows you how to jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling structure and tricks of great filmmakers: • The High Concept Premise • The Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure • The Storyboard Grid • The Index Card Method of Plotting • The Setpiece Scene • Techniques of film pacing and suspense, character arc and drive, visual storytelling, and building image systems. Based on the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops and blog, this new e book edition uses an enhanced format and layout, incorporates all the basic information from the first Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbook and doubles the material, including ten full story breakdowns. Also available in PRINT --- the textbook-quality edition is 8 x 10 inches and lies open flat for easy highlighting and note-taking.


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The highly anticipated textbook of the internationally acclaimed SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS workshops. Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts—by l The highly anticipated textbook of the internationally acclaimed SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS workshops. Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts—by learning from the movies. Screenwriting is based on a simple (and powerful) structure that you already know from watching so many movies and television shows in your lifetime. And it's a structure that your reader or audience unconsciously expects, and that is crucial for you to deliver. In this workbook, award-winning author/screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff shows you how to jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling structure and tricks of great filmmakers: • The High Concept Premise • The Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure • The Storyboard Grid • The Index Card Method of Plotting • The Setpiece Scene • Techniques of film pacing and suspense, character arc and drive, visual storytelling, and building image systems. Based on the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops and blog, this new e book edition uses an enhanced format and layout, incorporates all the basic information from the first Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbook and doubles the material, including ten full story breakdowns. Also available in PRINT --- the textbook-quality edition is 8 x 10 inches and lies open flat for easy highlighting and note-taking.

30 review for Stealing Hollywood: Story Structure Secrets for Writing Your Best Book

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joe Surkiewicz

    An easy to understand, concise and enjoyable method book for aspiring novelists that uses movies as the vehicle to understand the underlying structure of successful mysteries, thrillers, whatever it is you want to write. Definitely falls into the "why didn't I think of that?" category, although, of course, one would have to be a successful screenwriter to pull it off. It also serves to deepen one's understanding of movies, since you now have the expertise to analyze what, exactly, is happening o An easy to understand, concise and enjoyable method book for aspiring novelists that uses movies as the vehicle to understand the underlying structure of successful mysteries, thrillers, whatever it is you want to write. Definitely falls into the "why didn't I think of that?" category, although, of course, one would have to be a successful screenwriter to pull it off. It also serves to deepen one's understanding of movies, since you now have the expertise to analyze what, exactly, is happening on screen. I'll never see Chinatown quite the same way again, which is very good, because now I have a better understanding of Robert Towne's brilliant screenplay. Sokoloff provides in depth, virtually minute-by-minute breakdowns of some great films, including the aforementioned Chinatown, Groundhog Day, and The Wizard of Oz, among others. She really lays out the three act, eight-sequence structure that virtually all films (and literary works) adhere to. She also provides the nitty gritty on life as a Hollywood screenwriter, thus bursting that balloon (it sucks). Sokoloff makes it a fun read and comes across as a genuine person who wants to help people become better writers. I've read a lot of "be a better writer" books, and this is the best.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori Puma

    Part 1 is 5-star fantastic. I have several pages of notes from it. I particularly appreciated chapter 5 The Three-Act, Eight Sequence Structure. This is the story structure that most films use. Part 2 - Nothing stands out from this section. I don't have any notes from it. It feels more like a collection of blog posts and I think the book would be stronger without it. Part 3 - Breakdowns of 10 movies into the Three-Act Eight Sequence structure. This is a super useful reference tool. The author is a Part 1 is 5-star fantastic. I have several pages of notes from it. I particularly appreciated chapter 5 The Three-Act, Eight Sequence Structure. This is the story structure that most films use. Part 2 - Nothing stands out from this section. I don't have any notes from it. It feels more like a collection of blog posts and I think the book would be stronger without it. Part 3 - Breakdowns of 10 movies into the Three-Act Eight Sequence structure. This is a super useful reference tool. The author is a big Hero's Journey advocate. I'm more neutral on it, but I still find her breakdowns useful. It's great to have detailed summaries of popular stories for reference. Part 4 - Covers the writing business. Gives excellent food for thought for anyone who wants to make money from their writing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Devlin

    Not a perfect guide, but 5 stars because: 1. I had a lot of fun working through the assignments and making my lists! I saw some patterns emerge and identified some of the things I really care about in a story. 2. Had I read this at the very beginning of my writing career, this would've been like my bible. I've read a lot of books on craft by now so there wasn't a ton of new information for me here, but I did appreciate the new insight on story sequences, the specific examples for every term and el Not a perfect guide, but 5 stars because: 1. I had a lot of fun working through the assignments and making my lists! I saw some patterns emerge and identified some of the things I really care about in a story. 2. Had I read this at the very beginning of my writing career, this would've been like my bible. I've read a lot of books on craft by now so there wasn't a ton of new information for me here, but I did appreciate the new insight on story sequences, the specific examples for every term and element, and the easy and "conversational" tone. One I'll keep next to SAVE THE CAT on my shelf. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Kate

    Handy go-to book I'm a writer & one that has also studied Theatre & some screenwriting so the concepts in this book are not new to me, but the way to structure & outline my novels & summarise their premise are. It's something I haven't practised before as I have always been a 'pantser'. This books provides clear defined ways of going about it & really useful exercises to practise with a step by step process. I will definitely be using this book for reference whenever I start writing a new novel. Handy go-to book I'm a writer & one that has also studied Theatre & some screenwriting so the concepts in this book are not new to me, but the way to structure & outline my novels & summarise their premise are. It's something I haven't practised before as I have always been a 'pantser'. This books provides clear defined ways of going about it & really useful exercises to practise with a step by step process. I will definitely be using this book for reference whenever I start writing a new novel. Highly recommend to any writer looking to find a way to outline & structure their books as well as write pitches.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This book is *exceptional*. While it doesn't solve every single problem I have as a writer, it does offer solutions to most of them. Sokoloff does a great job breaking down story structures to common elements that work for most genres. Here are the things I found helpful: - Comprehensive lists of story elements, as well as detailed sections covering each. - Complete breakdown of three act, eight segment story structure. - Movie breakdowns, which surprised me with their relevance. - The narrative stru This book is *exceptional*. While it doesn't solve every single problem I have as a writer, it does offer solutions to most of them. Sokoloff does a great job breaking down story structures to common elements that work for most genres. Here are the things I found helpful: - Comprehensive lists of story elements, as well as detailed sections covering each. - Complete breakdown of three act, eight segment story structure. - Movie breakdowns, which surprised me with their relevance. - The narrative structure beat sheet, which saved my sanity. Highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I took a workshop on scriptwriting a few years back and during the course I wondered how applicable the plotting techniques I learned were to fiction. I ran across this book by random chance and, remembering that moment, picked it up to skim through it. Ended up reading it cover to cover. The author breaks down a lot of the same material I learned in that scriptwriting workshop, but takes it a step further to show exactly how those techniques can be used to improve a book draft. It’s always love I took a workshop on scriptwriting a few years back and during the course I wondered how applicable the plotting techniques I learned were to fiction. I ran across this book by random chance and, remembering that moment, picked it up to skim through it. Ended up reading it cover to cover. The author breaks down a lot of the same material I learned in that scriptwriting workshop, but takes it a step further to show exactly how those techniques can be used to improve a book draft. It’s always lovely to finally scratch a mental itch.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue Lilley

    The author is clearly an expert in her subject. This was a comprehensive guide, very long but informative and easy to read. I’m not much of a film buff which didn’t help, as I’d never seen half of the films used as examples. This wasn’t the fault of the author, rather it’s something lacking in my own education! One tiny thing did jar – the constant use of “s/he” and “hero/ine”. Isn’t the rule always choose one and stick to it?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Cuthbert

    This is a must read, must own for anyone who calls themselves a writer. Whether you are already published, or writing your first book, I highly recommend this book. Ms. Sokoloff breaks down story structure like no one I have seen before. She uses her years as a screenwriter and teacher to help you write a better story. I have the Kindle edition, and can not wait to own the print version so that I can re-read and take better notes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    B Warne

    I liked this a lot an learned some fascinating tips through it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Dillard

    This is fantastic for the basics of setting up a book (or script); I used it as one of my research books before NaNoWriMo next month.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Excelente libro. Muy recomendable

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carl Brookins

    The accomplished author of this work is a multiple award winning writer for the screen, in fiction writing and she conducts workshops on a variety of topics around writing and filmmaking. This work grew out of her workshops and is designed to be used with a course or workshop. Her experiences, insights and organizational abilities are in full force here. Even without the actual workshop, this book is well worth acquiring and examining. For many authors, it can be a foundation for either a novel The accomplished author of this work is a multiple award winning writer for the screen, in fiction writing and she conducts workshops on a variety of topics around writing and filmmaking. This work grew out of her workshops and is designed to be used with a course or workshop. Her experiences, insights and organizational abilities are in full force here. Even without the actual workshop, this book is well worth acquiring and examining. For many authors, it can be a foundation for either a novel or a film. It is well-organized into four major sections, Story Structure, More Screenwriter Tricks, Story Breakdowns and The Business. The workbook is written in a highly engaging style with an occasional discursion into Alexandra's seriously tongue-in-cheek but trenchant observations of the Hollywood and national publishing community. It would be easy to dismiss the enire effort as a frivolous effort but that would be a mistake. Works of this genre can often use a little relaxed attitude to help readers through sometimes arcane and dense detail. Finally there is a very good section that deals with the business of publishing which any writer who wantsto be successful needs to know. It is no longer sufficient to hire an agent and leave all the business to her or him. To be successful, one needs to be current with the business. For the time being, this book is an excellent foundation. Even experienced writers can learn from this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheriene

    A really good book on story elements and plotting- it covers alot of ground, from the basics to bigger ideas. Alot of suggested activities involve watching movies (who isnt up for that) and making lists (of favourite villians, favourite opening scenes etc), which is a good way to get you looking at structure and thinking about the things you find interesting as a way to imporve your writing. The movie breakdowns are an interesting read and give you some idea of how to tackle breaking down films fo A really good book on story elements and plotting- it covers alot of ground, from the basics to bigger ideas. Alot of suggested activities involve watching movies (who isnt up for that) and making lists (of favourite villians, favourite opening scenes etc), which is a good way to get you looking at structure and thinking about the things you find interesting as a way to imporve your writing. The movie breakdowns are an interesting read and give you some idea of how to tackle breaking down films for yourself (the breakdown of the Matrix was an eyeopener). She references work by Joseph Cambell and Christopher Vogler and I found her take on these mythic characters and structures alot easier to read and disgest. For me, the only drawback was there is a bit of repetition in the examples used, but all the examples are really well used to demonstrate technique.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Coleman

    One of the best books on craft I've read. This is a book I'll be going back to again and again. Sokoloff gives the reader tools to analyze story structure in any genre. Her humor and intelligence shine through the writing. There is so much useful information packed into this book that it is easy to overlook the repetitive information. This is another "my blog in book form" book, but one I am grateful to have on my shelf. One of the best books on craft I've read. This is a book I'll be going back to again and again. Sokoloff gives the reader tools to analyze story structure in any genre. Her humor and intelligence shine through the writing. There is so much useful information packed into this book that it is easy to overlook the repetitive information. This is another "my blog in book form" book, but one I am grateful to have on my shelf.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The idea of plotting used to leave me crying in the fetal position. But this great, insightful book turned that around with a kind, encouraging voice and tips that makes even those most fervent pantster feel at ease with a plot board.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Clay

    Excellent read covering structure, plotting, character, tropes, publishing and more with helpful well-known examples.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Frances Trilone

    Excellent craft book on plotting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Morrison

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Brown

  20. 5 out of 5

    Denn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Travis Simmons

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan Eaton

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Lowder

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tameka Fleming

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mason Cross

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ray

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob Cornell

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Bell

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