WOW, WOW, WOW. This is an amazing book. I have read it and since it took me so long to read (so much to absorb), I am rereading some parts, maybe the...moreWOW, WOW, WOW. This is an amazing book. I have read it and since it took me so long to read (so much to absorb), I am rereading some parts, maybe the whole thing. I give this book TEN STARS! I can hardly wait to share what I have learned with all my writer-friends. EVERYONE WHO WRITES SHOULD OWN THIS BOOK!(less)
It really works! No plot, no problem. I read the book in preparation for the National Novel Writing Month in 2006, I've since then participated in the...moreIt really works! No plot, no problem. I read the book in preparation for the National Novel Writing Month in 2006, I've since then participated in the 2007 event as well. The book chronicles the inception of the author's NaNoWriMo creation as much as it offers insight and strategies for finishing a novel in 30 days. I think it's biggest success for me was the inspiration it provided me for writing my own first novel. I don't think I could have finished without the humorous anecdotes and encouragements given by the author Chris Baty!(less)
An amazing book by an amazing author. It is filled with creative lessons, insight and examples. It's a psychological jaunt into the mind of the reader...moreAn amazing book by an amazing author. It is filled with creative lessons, insight and examples. It's a psychological jaunt into the mind of the reader where Ms. Seager has found a way to tease everything creative, dramatic and imagined out of the mind of the writer and into the story.(less)
For the first time in my life I was introduced to the Re-Write. Probably the most scorned and hated part of writing (by most authors, and all together...moreFor the first time in my life I was introduced to the Re-Write. Probably the most scorned and hated part of writing (by most authors, and all together feared by myself), until I realized it was part of the process of writing. A valuable lesson for me. This book is like having a Screenwriting Coach and Editor wrapped up in one. It offers excellent advice, amazing step-by-step instructions that help you ferret out your problem areas while providing you ways to write a tighter screenplay. I think it would be an excellent book for a screenwriting course and better for the person who has already written a screenplay but valuable to the novice as well. Mr. Field never digresses too far from his paradigm and continues to offer the highest level of professional advice.(less)
The author is truly a genius. This book is a guidebook written to teach the reader. I took copious notes while reading the book that I later highlight...moreThe author is truly a genius. This book is a guidebook written to teach the reader. I took copious notes while reading the book that I later highlighted in a notebook. The only negative thing I can think of is that because of the many examples of movies cited in his book, I started watching more movies than writing and watched them all with a critical eye. Now, It's more challenging than ever to enjoy a movie as I am always thinking, was that the best way to show this, should this be omitted, was this scene important, how was the scene set up, what was the writer and/or director trying to convey to the audience, etc.? Also, I began looking for the Plot Points and hooks, and reading screenplays online where I noticed that many where not followed as written. Artistic license, I suppose. He is very much a structure purist. His book is incredibly valuable for the writer interested in crafting a screenplay that sells.(less)
The author does an excellent job of discussing 20 of the most well-known story plots. Besides the discussion, he gives examples sprinkled with humor,...moreThe author does an excellent job of discussing 20 of the most well-known story plots. Besides the discussion, he gives examples sprinkled with humor, knowledgeable insights and down to earth advice on crafting stories using these tried-and-true plots. Also, at the end of each "plot" chapter, he provides a checklist to help the reader focus on structuring the story, something akin to guidelines. Though he repeatedly tells the reader, that their story can and maybe should deviate from the norm, and that sometimes stories do this as a surprise even to the writer. I loved this book, it is has an abundance of valuable writing tips and insight that NO WRITER should be without. It's a keeper and I will read it again and again.(less)
This book was recommended by an author of books on writing screenplays. It's a great book, I especially love the emphasis on beginnings, middles, and...moreThis book was recommended by an author of books on writing screenplays. It's a great book, I especially love the emphasis on beginnings, middles, and endings. Within the sections of the book are numerous selections of movies (Gladiator, Rocky, American Beauty, Rosemary's Baby, Terminator, and more) that exemplify the discussions within the text. I have highlighted this book throughout, an example, "A good movie reveals poignant truths of the human experience in either a small or big way, depending on the kind of movie it is." (p. 5) Or, "The audience must experience a systematic buildup through "stages," culminating in the hero's reversal of fortune in a way that arouses their empathy." (p. 93) Like, "Great screenwriters know how to feed information to the audience through the eyes of characters, such as when Lester sees Angela at the pep rally and fantasizes about her [American Beauty]." (p. 127) And, "Dialog is part of the action and gets its power from the plot." (p. 130). I discovered how dialog can be used to reveal qualities about your character and move the story along at different paces unique to your story plot. This book taught me how to look at the overall dramatic effect of the craft of screenwriting, how to see the action and hear the dialogue. Lastly, "Instead of "write what you know," Aristotle is telling you to write what you truly feel, or truly experience in your heart." (p. 142) An exemplary example of story structuring. (less)
I give this a 4.5 because I would have liked to have seen more examples. A very good basic book for the novice writer. Mr. Edelstein addresses some im...moreI give this a 4.5 because I would have liked to have seen more examples. A very good basic book for the novice writer. Mr. Edelstein addresses some important issues (myths, fears, secrets, etc.,). He is intuitive and fresh in his approach. This would be a great book for someone instructing a Creative Writing Course. Some great definitions and descriptions. Some of the suggestions are a bit dated though (pertaining to the popularity of digital/ electronic readers and self-publishing, which is becoming increasingly popular).The book is written as a number of (98) two to four page essays, so it is a fast and easy read (I read it in one day while skipping the Writing Exercises* and nursing a cold). Many are like mini-pep talks.
*I reserve the right to test those at a later date!
Thank you Mr. Edelstein for pointing out that Literature was intended to be enjoyed! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It's not about hunting for hidden symbols, metaphors, similes, blah, blah, blah!
This is not ARCHEOLOGY!!!
Finally, someone who gets it! Discussing symbols, tone, similes, etc., should be incidental to the discussion of the beautiful picture painted by the words an author put together for the singular purpose of my reading pleasure!
(Chapter 36: "A Few Unkind but Well-Deserved Words About Literature" - kudos to you!)(less)
This book is so funny and creative, I couldn't concentrate on any of the lessons. The examples were ridiculously amusing and so I really didn't get mu...moreThis book is so funny and creative, I couldn't concentrate on any of the lessons. The examples were ridiculously amusing and so I really didn't get much out of it on my first reading (I will read it a second time to study it). I can tell that the writers are brilliant, knowledgeable and experienced, therefore I value this book immensely. Do all novices really write that badly? (less)
An excellent guide for the beginning writer. It has great explanations, descriptive content and great examples of short stories. I was mesmerized by N...moreAn excellent guide for the beginning writer. It has great explanations, descriptive content and great examples of short stories. I was mesmerized by Nathaniel Hawthorne's, The Birthmark. The author gives the story such a thorough treatment, you would think you were in a college writing course. Of course, excellent pre- and post-writing advice throughout. Recommend for readers interested in writing short stories! My only negative comment is that it could have had more meat (more examples) and received 5 stars. (less)
It's fairly depressing to read. (I'm between a 2 and a 3)
Not the most helpful book on editing. I prefer Lyon's MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER, Bell's REVISION &...moreIt's fairly depressing to read. (I'm between a 2 and a 3)
Not the most helpful book on editing. I prefer Lyon's MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER, Bell's REVISION & SELF-EDITING, and Browne & King's SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS. I expected it to clearly explain how to make the first five pages of my manuscript so wonderful THAT any editor or publisher would be a fool to pass the next 5 to 500 (depending on what I'm writing at the time) pages.
I suppose that was foolish thinking on my part, but I would like to avoid the slush pile at least once in my life time.
Anywho, it has good advice throughout, though very little of it is anything less than "daunting". You pretty much have to take every piece of instruction, every nugget of advice, and there are many, and run those through your entire short story, novelette, or novel. No mere concern for the FIRST FIVE PAGES will do! In that respect, I think the title is misleading. Mr. Lukeman has good intention; you can sense his overall desire to help writers overcome a myriad of obstacles to publication. His willingness to share his knowledge. (And for those who haven't read a half a dozen or so other books out there on the same subject, as I have, the book would be a great tool, just not for me.)
I think the book's organization bothers me the most, and the "end-of-chapter exercises" were not helpful at all. I recommend this book to writers who wish to work on revising their manuscript(s) as long as they understand that the title is really meant to inform them of the true nature of the beast - and what a BEAST it is! Perfection in Under Five pages? (How do YOU define insanity?)(less)