Let’s get one thing straight….
by Jessica Brown, Screenwriter and Board Member of Phoenix Screenwriters Association
Your story. How are you doing writer? 2021 is off and running. Do you feel like you are running as well? Perhaps to catch up with your writing goals? I feel it too. With January behind us and our writing goals dwindling already, we need help.
Diane Drake’s wonderful guide to screenwriting is just the help we need to get our stories back on track and straighten out so they work on so many levels. Get Your Story Straight: A Step-By-Step Guide to Screenwriting is the perfect tool to aligning your story with the vision in your head.
In Chapter One, Ms. Drake drills down to the very core of why we write. If we understand why we are writing, we clear out the cobwebs and get the story engine going again. She opens her book with a quote by Enid Bagnold who writes: “Who wants to become a writer And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
From that powerful opening and insight to your soul, Ms. Drake jumps into what Movies Are Really About in Chapter Two and then on to What’s the Big Idea in Chapter Three.
I love the opening quote of Chapter Three. “Ask me if I care.” ~ Anonymous thirteen-year-old, and pretty much any executive in Hollywood. OK, so that was humbling. After you sit up straight, dive into this chapter to figure out your concept leveraging Diane’s five idea generating strategies. Her checklist at the end of each chapter is a great summary of the material and timesaver. Just plug each action into your calendar and you will get a lot accomplished.
Chapter Four will teach you how to write a compelling log line. With great examples embedded in the chapter, you are sure to figure your log line out without stressing out. Whew! Glad I got all that out!
Chapters Five through Seven walk you through how to structure your acts followed by Chapters Eight through Fourteen which are filled with examples from compelling scripts to demonstrate dialogue, writing scenes, Villains and co-stars, heroes and how to win an Oscar.
Diane saves the best for last. Chapter Fifteen talks about being a Content Creator. She opens this chapter with an inspiring quote from Pablo Picasso: “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Well said, Mr. Picasso and nice touch, Ms. Drake.
Diane Drake has been a guest speaker at PSA Events and is always a delight to spend time with. Her powerhouse background and experience in the industry speaks to her authority on the subject of writing. And it helps that she writes as well and that her screenplays sell for seven figures. She is the real deal and so is her book.
Stay focused and get your story straight before the year is over, dear writer.
PS: drop me a line and share your experiences writing in 2021. I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.