Screenwriting Updated: New (And Conventional) Ways of Writing for the Screen

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Today's screenwriter must be adept at today's popular yet often complex and unconventional script forms, such as the parallel storytelling of Pulp Fiction and Magnolia, the multiple protagonist narrative of American Beauty, and the complex flashback forms of The Usual Suspects and The Sweet Hereafter. Becoming comfortable with and skilled in such modern script forms is the focus of Screenwriting Updated, which identifies basic parallel structures, clearly explains how and why they work (or fail to work), and establishes the basic principles of their construction. These modern forms are presented in tandem with and in relation to tried-and-true, traditional screenwriting forms, rendering unconventional structures as easily grasped as conventional ones. Unlike any other screenwriting book, Screenwriting Updated combines solid, basic screenwriting craft with a thorough presentation of very contemporary script structures. The result is a unique, wide-ranging, in-depth screenwriting text and do-it-yourself script-doctoring manual suitable for both seasoned and novice writers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press; 1st edition (March 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505599
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

Customer Reviews

Great resource book for budding screen writers

 on April 29, 2016
By Alan Thompson
Purchased this book as a text book for a college screen writing course. Great resource book for budding screen writers. Cannot say how great it is for a professional since at this point in time I’m a beginner. The text is well laid out and easy to access. I also appreciate the breakdown in how creative minds work, and don’t work. I have struggled a lot as a writer, since usually I have relied on a free-flow of ideas, what Aronson calls “Lateral thinking” and have avoided “Vertical thinking” which is more logical. Blending the two has really allowed me to plot out my story ideas, which is an essential part of writing screenplays.

very involved and handy for scriptwriters

 on March 31, 2014
By Ruby Cairo
I’ve just looked flipped through it and love the headings. I bought it for an aspiring scriptwriter and he’s loving it.

Screenwriting Updated

One person found this helpful.
 on May 2, 2010
By Allan MacF.
Linda Aronson has provided me with the missing pieces in my jigsaw puzzle of writing for the screen. You are going to need to find methods and systems in writing to suit your needs and this book should be one of them. I have been informed by the author that there is a new improved book on the subject coming soon.

Intelligent, detailed, and useful (but it still can’t break out of the Hollywood ghetto)

5 people found this helpful.
 on December 20, 2011
By T. Nicholas
This book is really like four books in one. Firstly, it’s an overview of traditional three-act structure screenplay writing. Secondly, it’s a sort of ‘creativity manual’ on how to effectively use literal and lateral thinking in combination to come up with ideas that are “real but unusual.” Thirdly, it’s what it says in the title: a how-to on writing unconventional screenplay structures (with a focus on flashback, and to a somewhat lesser extent, parallel narratives and ensemble films). Lastly, it’s a guide on how to identify structural problems within a screenplay, including in depth analyses of several films with such problems.

An Advanced Screenwriters textbook

2 people found this helpful.
 on March 26, 2009
By Phil Lee
Ms Aronson, who is based in Australia, has written an advanced book for professional Screenwriters. This book, while a “How-to” in nature, is not for a novice. At least an intro-level “Dummies” or “Idiots” screenwriting book needs to be digested first.

I’m Grateful For This Book

11 people found this helpful.
 on July 26, 2003
By UBG
I have seen virtually everything out there and for me this is simply the best of the bunch. Linda Aronson has put so much that is practical into this book, that I am actually grateful to her. More than that, I am a bit in awe of her intelligence and generosity. I have never seen so much excellent advice in one book about the creative process of writing, the interplay of what she calls vertical and lateral thinking. I simply don’t have the time to really explain all that is incredible about this book-I’m using it right now to write a radio drama and I have to get back to work. (obviously,the book’s advice applies). Check it out-it may speak to you. For me, Linda Aronson is a supremely gifted teacher. Ah, the joys of clarity.

A complete "how to" course in a single volume

5 people found this helpful.
 on December 13, 2001
By Midwest Book Review
Award winning screenwriter, playwright, and novelist Linda Aronson draws upon her many years of professional experience and expertise to present Screenwriting Updated: New (And Conventional) Ways Of Writing For The Screen, a singularly useful and “user friendly” compendium of advice, examples, tips, tricks, and techniques on writing scripts for television and film. Sections cover such topics as Getting Ideas, Narrative Structure, and dialogue writing. Sample scenes abound, clearly illustrating various writing principles and rendering the concepts in concrete, unmistakable clarity. A complete “how to” course in a single volume, Screenwriting Updated is very highly recommended for both aspiring and active screenwriters.

Clear and logical

3 people found this helpful.
 on September 12, 2006
By Cork Bibliophile
The best book on screenwriting I’ve seen. It provides a clear and intuitive way of looking at narrative structure where others make structure appear merely arbitrary. In addition it is one of the only books (if not the only book) that deals practically with writing non-linear narrative structures seen in such films as Shine, Memento, and Pulp Fiction.

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