Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure, by Dan O’Bannon and Matt R Lohr (Michael Wiese Productions, 2012)

A guide to three act structure, and why it works for narrative cinema: including the Alien screenwriter’s own variant. Completed posthumously, this is an accessible, lightly erudite and fun guide to onscreen storytelling. One third structural analysis, one third application of O’Bannon’s version of the three act template to selected movies, one third industry observations.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit (And Other Tough-Love Truths To Make You A Better Writer), by Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2016)

Another writing/creativity get-up-and-do-it how-to book from Pressfield, this time focused on lessons learned along the way as a novelist, screenwriter, as an advertising creative, and as a motivational writer. The most important lesson is in the book’s title: others focus on the twin imperatives of theme and story to any form of writing. Excellent as ever: the trick is to now go and do it, of course.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

If I Only Had The Time: How To Keep Writing When The World Stops Moving, by Dave Cohen (TTTTTT Publications, 2021)

Reflections on creative writing: access, opportunities, and restrictions in 2021. An excellent short overview, with comedy writer Cohen bringing his decades of experience to the table. A focus throughout on the impacts of coronavirus and the internet, and on the need to both re-evaluate goals and directions while seeing new realities as chances. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Tips from a Publisher, by Scott Pack (Eye Books, 2020)

A guide to writing, editing, submitting and publishing – as the book’s subtitle says – from an industry perspective. A friendly, useful, realistic, up-to-date and detailed guide to what to expect from and with agents and publishers (as well as with non-traditional ways into publication), and how to approach them professionally. A great addition to any shelf of writery books. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Warrior Ethos, by Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2011)

An overview of Spartan military and related philosophies. A clear and straightforward introduction, intended both as a primer for soldiers and to those addressing other conflict areas (creative struggles, etc). Useful and direct, not least if you appreciate the same author’s fiction and wider writings on creativity.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

 

With Child: Lee Child and the Readers of Jack Reacher, by Andy Martin (Polity Press, 2019)

A sequel/companion to Martin’s Reacher Said Nothing; a year with Lee Child in the aftermath of writing Make Me (documented in the first book). This time the emphasis is less on process than on the contexts of bestselling fiction: publicity, signings, readerships, filming, travel. As before (!), a unique insight into writing life, being funny, deft but erudite, and engaging throughout. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.