I am not a script writer. I am not an author.
I am an editor and I love to discover new ways to make the manuscript I am working on shine. That is why, when given the opportunity to read Lucy V. Hay’s writing and Selling Drama Screenplays, I jumped at the chance.
I adore Hay’s website, Bang2Write. I can get ‘lost’ in her advice, articles, and guest contributors works for hours and hours. I take notes, I devour her words and advice and, although most of it is targeted towards script writers, there is so much that can be transferred to the world of fiction writing.
Before I delve in to the book itself, here’s the blurb …
It may be drama features that win the most awards and kudos from critics, but in the current marketplace you’re unlikely to sell a drama screenplay in the way you would a genre script. Breaking down the nuts and bolts of what differentiates drama from genre, Writing and Selling Drama Screenplays will consider questions such as: What is ’emotional truth’? What separates stereotypical and authentic characters? What are the different types of drama feature screenplay? How do we make these films, when there’s ‘no money’? What are the distribution opportunities for dramas? Exploring the ways in which drama and authenticity work, it will empower screenwriters to make their own story and character choices, so they can write and also help to package, finance and even make their own drama features. Writing and Selling Drama Screenplays will include detailed case studies of produced dramas made on both shoestring and bigger budgets, and industry insights from their writers, directors and producers. It looks in-depth at Scottish BAFTA-winning Night People, the iconic coming out movie Beautiful Thing, the touching New Orleans drama Hours, starring the late Paul Walker, and the ambitious true story of Saving Mr Banks, based on the battle of wills between Mary Poppins author PL Travers and Walt Disney himself. It will also discuss films such as Brokeback Mountain, American Beauty, The King’s Speech, Juno, Erin Brockovich, Changeling and Girl, Interrupted.
My thoughts …
It may seem strange that a fiction editor is reviewing a book about drama screenplays but bear with me.
When you read a book, what makes it brilliant? Is it the structure? The characters? The world the author has created? It’s a combination. And to create the right balance between the three, all the help you can get is needed.
If you google ‘how to write a book’, you will find pages and pages of advice, good, bad, and ugly. Amazon is the same, hundreds and thousands of books all claiming that you need the perfect structure, the prefect characters, and the perfect world and professing to be the best book to help you achieve this.
But how can you create something you may not understand or may never have seen before? You couldn’t attempt to draw a tree if you’d never seen a tree before, if you had no idea what one looked like and that is the beauty of Hay’s book.
She shows you what drama is AND how to create it!
Not only does she give some phenomenal advice, she backs it up with examples. She delves in to some of the best films made and takes them apart, showing the reader how the writers and producers were able to make these emotional, evocative, and timeless greats and dissects what made them brilliant.
Written in easy to digest chapters, Hay gives us a breakdown of the various elements required to make a great drama and I know her lessons can be transferred to fiction writing, I’ve used them myself and will continue to do so. Her advice is easy to understand and implement, and the chapters are set out in a way that makes it easy to refer back to. Which I do, often!!!
I think that the fact Hay has written her own bestselling novel also backs up my claims that her advice can be transferred to fiction writing. The Other Twin, published by Orenda Books, is one of my favourite books of the year and you can read my review here. It was gripping, brilliant, and utterly fascinating and when you read it, you will see her advice taking shape on the pages. AMAZING!!!
If you want to bring the drama to your pages, whether a screenplay or a novel, I would highly recommend that you add this book to your shelves, it is a brilliant resource and will see you right in all aspects of your writing.
Many thanks to the author for my review copy, I will be recommending this one to all the authors I work with!
If you want to get your hands on a copy, head over to Amazon on the link below, as much as the kindle version is a great price, I would recommend the paperback, keep it on your desk and get the page-marker post-its out when you start reading!
About the author …
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, a script editor, a script reader, a founding organizer of the London Screenwriters’ Festival, and the author of Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays.
You can find out more about my editing services over at http://www.edmcreatingperfection.wordpress.com