Thursday, 20 November 2014

New Release: The London Stories by Helen Smith

The London Stories by Helen Smith

Three bestselling British mysteries in one bundle of fun. Join amateur sleuth Emily Castles as she investigates a murder at a bonfire night party, blackmail during an end-of-term show at a stage school, and a disappearance at a department store in London.

"Readers will be enthralled by the cast of characters presented." Suspense Magazine

Grab the Kindle edition at the special introductory price of $0.99/99p!
If you shop from the US Kindle store, you can send a copy of The London Stories as a gift direct to a friend's Kindle. It's a great way to introduce someone to this series.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Screenwriting Books: 6 Of The Best By Lucy V, Script Editor
Today I'm joined by Lucy V who has written a guest post about her six favourite screenwriting books. Thanks, Lucy!

I’m a script editor for movies FYI, being a script editor does NOT mean I correct writers’ grammar, spelling and punctuation. Instead, a script editor helps facilitate a story and its characters by helping to enable a writer to well, write!

I’ve worked with writers now for over a decade and what I’ve discovered is that ALL writers, new or professional, need advice. Even if they hate writing advice, they’ll still spend time reading it (if only to say how pointless it is and how no one needs writing advice). So, why?

Well, writing is a solitary profession mostly. The only thing any of us really know, is that none of us really know what we’re doing. True story. With every project, we basically reset to zero because what worked with the last project, won’t necessarily work with the next one. Supersadface.

Cue screenwriting books!

Whether you think they’re handy little reference guides or evil tomes that seek to suck the beauty and spontaneity out of our God/dess Creativity, there really is a screenwriting book for EVERY WRITER. And I mean that literally: every single writer, no matter your genre; audience; format; or even how experienced you are. If you need it, it’s right there, waiting for you. Oh yes. Here’s 6 I recommend to my Bang2writers most often:

6) Screenplay by Syd Field
Buy from Amazon

This book was one of the first and for my money, one of the best. It’s simple and straightforward and can be applied however you want (no checklists thangyewverymuch) to whatever you want (in terms of medium). And even if you don’t like the sound of this book, tough ‘cos most industry pros have read it and will expect you to at least know in theory how the paradigm works, even if they don’t call it the paradigm!

5) Successful Models For Filmmakers by John Sweeney
Buy from Amazon

These are the facts. Most spec screenwriters know very little about the realities of the UK film industry, or how to get a screenplay made into a film on a low budget. This filters through every aspect of their writing, from concept up; as a result most spec screenwriters FAIL to get anyone interested in their work, because they have no clue how to do it! Many more who do manage it, cannot keep that interest because it was via accident, rather than design. Yet what if there was a book that showed spec screenwriters IN THE UK what “low budget” really means, in-depth?? HERE YOU GO! Find out about the industry; it can only help you as a screenwriter and this is just one of many great books that can connect you and the realities of the industry.

4) Short Films by Patrick Nash
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I’ve read a LOT of short films over the years and most shorts simply don’t think BIG enough story-wise, because they’re too busy thinking about what they can achieve, with what money. Nash’s book offers a powerful reset for filmmakers in terms of story AND budget constraints and is well worth a look for those dipping their feet in this very crowded and competitive pond.

3) The Insider’s Guide For Writing For Television by Julian Friedmann & Chris Walker
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It used to be that I would see perhaps 5 or 6 speculative television pieces (usually so-called “mini series” of 3-4 episodes, sometimes each one feature-length), but that’s all changed in the last seven or eight years. Now, the spec pile is AWASH with TV pilot specs, to such a degree it can feel sometimes like my beloved feature screenplays are an endangered species! What’s more, these TV pilots are often good – so how do you stand out aginst the competition?? This book will show you how. Read it at once.

Writing and selling drama screenplays
2) Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays by Lucy V Hay
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Oh how embarrassing, this is one of mine. BUT ANYWAY: drama scripts can be ANYTHING, yet in the spec pile they’re invariably a big fat bunch of clich├ęs and stereotypes: teen mums, towerblocks and totes misery. So I contrast these with a variety of produced and award-winning films, including recent ones like BLUE VALENTINE, SAVING MR BANKS, TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, illustrating drama doesn’t necessarily automatically mean “depressing”.

1) Writing Drama by Yves Lavandier
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Possibly my favourite writing book, ever. Not to be confused with the notion of writing a drama SCREENPLAY, Lavandier’s book talks about creating drama WITHIN your story – whether a big ass, sprawling epic genre piece, or a small, psychological story about the minutiae of life. Not for beginners, Lavandier assumes you are competent not only in storytelling, but its history as well! Lavandier takes us through time, from the works of the Great Greek dramatists and opens our eyes truly on how dramatic drama can be. It changed my writing life. Let it change yours.

Want more recommendations for writers’ books, including ones on genre; specific writing elements like non linearity and characterisation; writing novels; careers in the industry and more? THEN CLICK HERE

BIO: Lucy V Hay is the author of two screenwriting books and one of the organisers of London Screenwriters’ Festival. You may know her from the writing & networking site Bang2write and its accompanying social media (warning: extremely sweary writing tips). Or perhaps you know her as a novelist for the YA series, The Decision, which confronts a female protagonist with ALL the potential outcomes of a single dilemma. Please check out all her books HERE