For the past few days, to fulfill my hour-a-day-of-screenwriting pledge (while waiting for my Internet co-worker to lob back some more brainstorming notes on our evolving structure), I have busied myself by reading a book on screenwriting.
Yeah, it counts. My rules.
Every year or so I do this, because I find it helps. I look for good screenwriting books, and then read them at the perfect time -- when I'm brainstorming a new piece, working out the structure, and looking for things to help inspire me along the end.
This current book is perfect.
It's called Writing Drama, by Yves Lavandier, and it's probably not for the beginning writer. It's a dense book, that essentially covers everything about the nuts and bolts of drama and screenwriting.
Lavandier has read all the other really good books that you should be reading and haven't read yet, though he doesn't really distill them as much as accumulate a lot of good ideas -- this book is almost 600 pages long.
I'm hamstrung a bit because I haven't seen a lot of the movies he talks about along the way, yet that turns out to be a minor point, because he makes it clear what the references indicate.
The book was originally published in France, but Lavandier isn't a pro-European film, anti-Hollywood guy. Instead, he believes in storytelling, in great stories told right, and he thinks that generally Hollyhwood has figured out how to do it better.
It's a good read, just because as I pore through it, I'm thinking about the script I'm writing now, and what it is lacking, and what it needs, and what about the structure already works.
Worth seeking out, if you are into a little self-education.
59 straight days, through yesterday.