This should probably be in the craft section of the blog, but I’m currently reading about five books so rather than give half-hearted reviews about half-read books, I will review my new favorite craft book.
I’m not sure why, but it when it comes to craft books I tend toward screenwriting books. I feel like they are less restrictive, allow more room for spontaneity. As I’m gradually making the transition from a panster to a plotter, I find screenwriting books super helpful in teaching me how to organize my thoughts.
I’m already a fan of Robert McKee’s STORY, which is a big, epic, amazing book that is more about ART in general than strictly screenwriting (though, obviously, it does skew toward movies). It’s a great book for any creative person, any person who wants to build worlds, no matter what form. And while it is amazing, I felt like I needed more in terms of structure. By which I mean I needed someone to tell me how to outline/plan/etc.
Enter Syd Field, world-renowned screenwriting teacher. Field is super into knowing your back story before you begin. He suggests sitting with an idea for weeks, taking notes, knowing your character, setting, plot intimately before you ever even start writing. He then introduces the notecard method, which has been a sort of life-changing process for me. Field uses the 3-act structure and breaks each act down even further into scenes and beats. I’m not great at structuring a story so having someone sort of explain down to the very smallest details is the greatest thing I have ever found. And this is why I love Syd Field.
This might be the most relevant post I’ve ever written! Next time I get a craft day I’ll go deeper into the notecards and show you how incredible and helpful and life-changing they are! My writing is so much more productive when I can pick up a notecard and know where I’m going next. Outlining! Planning! Who knew!