Screenwriting’s best kept secret

Posted on August 22 2010 by James

One of the reasons we’re writing this blog is to share our experiences of creating Greek Island with aspiring screenwriters. We’re not setting ourselves up here as experts, though. But we are fellow travellers with a story to tell.

Screenwriting books

Click to go to Amazon

And here I think is the moment to let you in on one of screenwriting’s best kept secrets: anyone can do it.

Yes, you don’t have to be a Tolstoy, or Tolkien, a Dickens or a James Joyce, or even a JK Rowling, an Agatha Christie or a Barbara Cartland to write a memorable box office hit. And it probably helps if you aren’t.

Screenwriting is a craft, not an art. And like crafting pots, chairs, even buildings or bridges, it’s a skill that can be taught and learned. Once you learn the techniques, anyone can do it.

And if you don’t believe me, just look at the vast number of books, seminars, and college courses that aim to teach you how to do it. Today’s screenwriters have a bewildering range of choice when it comes to theories and tips.

Future blogs will from time to time refer to books we find particularly useful, and you’ll find an expanding list of useful links at the side as we go along.

Today, I’m just going to mention one which Jack Rousseau, my writing partner, is currently reading and which he finds enormously helpful in helping him structure Greek Island. Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc is hardly the most catchy of titles but don’t let that put you off. Jack tells me that Dara Marks has found an interesting way of demonstrating and underlining the importance of the inner story when writing a screenplay.

The transformational arc is about the relationship between the protagonist’s out journey, the visible plot, and the inner emotional journey, what Marks called the sub-plot (not to be confused with a secondary storyline). Jack says that even if you don’t buy the book, do at least read the reviews, such as those in Amazon for example. Also now available in paperback.

Menni, our feisty grandmother protagonist in Greek Island, is a character who is on just such a journey.

Comments are closed.