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Fitzgerald Did It: The Writer's Guide to…

Fitzgerald Did It: The Writer's Guide to Mastering the Screenplay (Penguin…

by Meg Wolitzer

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140275762, Paperback)

Unlike the many screenwriting guidebooks geared toward Hollywood wannabes with little writing experience whatsoever, this one is intended for writers--particularly fiction writers and journalists--eager to make the leap to screenwriting. Blessedly absent are the tedious lessons about how to write; in their stead is an explanation, almost, in unlearning how to write. "Writers' initial screenplays tend to be talky, static, interior and structurally shaky," says author Meg Wolitzer (Surrender, Dorothy). The screenplay form, Wolitzer maintains, "is more often about architecture and imagery and movement than it is about language."

Wolitzer's fine primer on the craft of screenwriting emphasizes visual drama, action, structure, and, most of all, overstatement. "In movies," Wolitzer says, "art exaggerates life. Life becomes bigger, bolder, more brilliantly hued, as well as funnier, more tragic, more action-packed, more filled with coincidence." In Fitzgerald Did It, Wolitzer addresses such issues such as treatments, collaboration, adapting fiction to film, the differences between literary and film agents, and scriptwriting no-noes. Though it's nearly impossible not to think about what Hollywood directors and producers are looking for while you write your script, don't try writing something you don't care about, warns Wolitzer. "It's not that you'll hate yourself in the morning, as you wake up in your new L.A. mansion--but that you probably won't be waking up in a mansion, because your script will lack authenticity and vigor." And, in case you're wondering about the title, a desperately broke Fitzgerald went to Hollywood in 1937 and is said to have written small bits for several films, including the scene in Gone with the Wind "in which Rhett receives the bonnet he then gives to Scarlett." --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:36 -0400)

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