Friday, January 25, 2008

Writing Drama

In every person’s library there are those books that you haven’t "read", but have there on the shelf. Encyclopedias of all sorts, histories, biographies and of course, the writing reference. Yves Lavandier has written just such a book - a reference that you should pick up when the occasion demands, but not something that is your evening nightstand read.

WRITING DRAMA is (as the cover says) a comprehensive guide for playwrights and scriptwriters. Comprehensive is a word and a half word here as this book is jam-packed full of anecdotes and specific examples of various techniques and craft used in our trade. I don’t recommend that you “read” it, but skim through some of the examples that he uses, and use those to spark solutions to those problems in your own work.

Having a problem with the structure of your script - it doesn’t feel right, thematically it doesn’t hit a right beat, a character doesn’t fit with the motif - then this is the reference book for you. Need an example that will polish off some story problems? This is your book.
Need something light to read? Get something else.

One aspect to this book I like is Lavandier’s use of plays (European and American) as examples. It forced me to look up some of the works he references, and expanded my resources I pull from when I sit down to write my pulpy prose.

One note I would give to the publishers is to reformat the book in a mode conducive to the usage I describe above. This is a reference work and should be made with accessibility in mind.

Have a good weekend.

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