Screenwriting Down to the Atoms: Digging Deeper into the Craft of Cinematic Storytelling

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There are many books on screenwriting that claim to have all the answers. Unfortunately, quite often the more aspiring writers read, the more confused they become as they encounter contradictory statements, incomplete perspectives, and methods that fail to do more than scratch the surface. Screenwriting Down to the Atoms was written to end all the confusion. It picks up where the best leave off and makes up for where the rest fall short by looking closer and digging deeper to reveal the true principles beneath great cinematic stories. No confusion. No contradictions. Atoms provides a light in the dark to give a full, simple, and truly effective understanding of the craft.

Screenwriting Down to the Atoms takes the basics far beyond the basics. It begins by putting the entire field under the microscope to challenge, and often refute, ideas writers have been taught to assume for decades. It then builds a simple, systematic approach clear enough for any writer to understand and put directly into use. Readers will discover storytelling's "golden key" – an elegantly-simple structure that forms the basis of all other structures. They will learn how to satisfy viewers by meeting the responsibilities of the “storyteller-audience relationship.” They will understand how to creatively control story information to give a narrative the greatest dramatic impact. Most writers toil for years to learn these principles. With Atoms, you can have this knowledge from the very start.

Whether you are working on your fifteenth screenplay or your first, Screenwriting Down to the Atoms gives indispensable knowledge found in no other source. Atoms is screencraft for the 21st century. The next generation of guides for the next generation of writers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Scriptmonk Industries; 1 edition (January 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988848708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988848702
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Customer Reviews


 on February 16, 2016
By Lenny
I have purchased and devoured this book and the first volume of Michael Welles Schock’s Screenwriting and the Unified Theory of Narrative, vol. I, and in the course of writing my review for the latter I was privileged to extol the worth of both. I do not feel that there is enough to say about their value as texts for study on the subject. This book is the best how-to book on screenwriting I have personally encountered. I am sure that I will read and reread it and its companion for the remainder of the time left for me to stay involved in the subject. It affords what its title promises. It is the most detailed and intensive assay of what is required of a writer to compose a great script that I have studied both as a student and independently.

Hands Down, the most useful book on the "craft" .

12 people found this helpful.
 on March 25, 2013
By Chris Roberts
This is the “meat and potatoes” of telling a cinematic story. Too many books try to convince you that there is some magic formula or roadmap you can follow to writing a screenplay. This formula approach baits the screenwriter with the premise of a “get-rich-quick” method that rarely ends with a well told story. This is not one of those books. In order to write a screenplay, the writer must know what constitutes a “Story” (in cinematic terms)and more importantly to whom the the story is written. The author delves into what makes a story “work” by explaining what goes on “behind the curtain” in a well told film. By explaining what happens under the surface, you’ll understand the fundamentals of storytelling (in film), from the ground up. Of the 50 or more books I have read on screenwriting, most of them try to give you the sequence or structure and expect you to fill in the blanks. If you understand how an audience “watches” a film and what is absolutely required to keep them “watching”, the structure and sequence will take care of itself in your telling of the story. No other book will open your eyes to the one fact that the audience is king. I suspect, over time, this book will be a “Must Read” for every screenwriting course offered and personally I couldn’t give it a higher recommendation.

Screenwriting Down to the Atoms

One person found this helpful.
 on October 13, 2014
By Sydney L. Cuthbert
Want to know just why you’re instructed to do certain things when it comes to writing a screenplay? This book will go a long way to filling in the blanks. Unlike a lot of other screenwriting books, this one doesn’t concentrate on magic formulae that will get Hollywood to fall in love with your “same thing only different” screenplay. Instead it goes into depth on WHY screenplays are written the way they are, what makes characters and stories work best and why the screenplay structure is the way it is. An excellent place to stop off before you go off saving the cat…

Good Resource

 on April 27, 2017
By Amazon Customer
Good book but too wordy to be honest. I stopped reading about 3/4th of the way through the book, but use it as a resource when needed.

Attention Screenwriters: Buy this book to FINALLY understand how it’s done!

 on November 16, 2016
By Drez
Down to the atoms is a most appropriate title. The author makes the screenwriting process incredibly clear and concise. Recommend this book for anyone interesting in writing for the performing arts: Features, TV and even plays.

I found this to be very informative with good examples. If someone is new to screenwriting then …

 on June 27, 2016
By Rob
I found this to be very informative with good examples. If someone is new to screenwriting then this book can be insightful. Especially given how many different voices on the subject. Start with this book first.

Highly Recommend

 on October 21, 2016
By R. Nelson
This is the best book I’ve read about how to write a screenplay, complete with the nuts and bolts and structure.

Great, painting by numbers

4 people found this helpful.
 on January 3, 2014
By Amazon Customer
Hands down the best book on screenwriting I’ve read. It offers a fresh new approach to the many facets of screenwriting. I especially liked the rethinking of the three act structure and the outlining of the story spine and sequence bit.

Great, insightful read, also for improvisers

2 people found this helpful.
 on October 2, 2013
By Amazon Customer
I am looking into screenwriting out of curiosity. This book does a great job of opening up the core concepts and the basics of the trade. I have been doing improv for two years, and I found this book to be tremendously useful for that as well. The author tells you how to formulate an engaging story, how to create memorable characters and how to add drama and tension to your stories. Movies that are familiar to everyone are used as examples. That makes this book a very easy and enjoyable thing to read.

Elements and Concepts

10 people found this helpful.
 on April 30, 2013
By James Batson
Will it help you to write a first draft – very doubtful

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