Blueprint for Screenwriting : A Complete Writer's Guide to Story Structure and Character Development book cover
1st Edition

Blueprint for Screenwriting
A Complete Writer's Guide to Story Structure and Character Development

ISBN 9780805849233
Published August 31, 2004 by Routledge
178 Pages

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USD $48.95

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Book Description

Blueprint for Screenwriting demystifies the writing process by developing a "blueprint" for writers to follow for each new screenplay--from original concept to completed script. Author and international script consultant Dr. Rachel Ballon explores the writing craft and emphasizes creativity in the writing process. She blends her expertise in script analysis and writing coaching with her personal experience as a screenwriter to help writers construct their stories and characters.

Starting with the story's framework, Dr. Ballon helps readers to understand the key "building blocks" of story structure and character development, including characters' emotional and psychological states, story conflicts, and scene and act structure. She also covers the essential components in the script writing process, such as outlines, script treatments, synopses, and formats. Dr. Ballon devotes a chapter to overcoming writer's block--the writer's greatest obstacle--and offers guidance for taking the next steps once a script is completed.

A practical tool for any writer, this distinctive resource:
*offers a blueprint for writers to follow, breaking the writing process down into specific, easy-to-follow steps;
*stresses the psychology of the characters as well as that of the writer; and
*offers first-hand knowledge of the screenwriting process and gives practical advice for completing and marketing scripts.

With its unique and insightful approach to the writing process, this book will be indispensable for scriptwriters, fiction writers, and professional writers, and it will serve as a useful text in screenwriting courses.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface: Blueprint for Screenwriting. Creativity: Your Blueprint for Ideas. Building Your Story. Constructing Your Blueprint: Laying Down the Framework. Story Structure: The Screenplay's Foundation. The Main Character. Characters and Conflict. Creating the Character's Emotional Arc: The Heart of the Story. The Psychology of Characters. Structuring Scenes and Acts. The Outline, The Treatment, The Synopsis. Script Format. Dialogue. Subtext. Writing From Your Inner Cast of Characters. Overcoming Writer's Block. The Completed Screenplay. Afterward: How to Survive the Writing Game.

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Rachel Ballon


"Blueprint for Screenwriting takes much of the mystery out of constructing a screenplay, yet retains the magic of making movies. The presentation of information is practical and will help you construct a screenplay full of potential from your idea full of promise. The style is personal and inspiring. The Chapters on the 'Inner Cast of Characters' and 'Overcoming Writers Block' are exceptionally helpful and I intend to periodically read them over to keep my own writer-self on track. Dr. Ballon's book is a great writer's tool to keep beside your computer for constant use and referral."
Pamela Jaye Smith
Mythologist, writer, international speaker, award-winning director-producer, INN

"I read a lot of books about screenwriting, not because I am a screenwriter, but because I advise screenwriters on their careers and their writing. I have never found a screenwriting book that was not helpful, but this is the first time I have been personally inspired by a screenwriting book. Rachel Ballon's Blueprint for Screenwriting made me wish I had the gift for screenwriting. After reading the first few chapters I almost set out to discover my own inner screenwriter. To find a book that hones your craft AND inspires you, that is a double whammy! Bravo, Rachel, your book is a singular gift to all screenwriters, but especially to those who wish to achieve their dreams."

Donie Nelson
Career Strategies for Writers

"As both a seminar leader and author, Dr. Ballon always comes from a nurturing place, understanding the struggles, challenges, and possibilities of the writer. The book covers all the basics, while also providing excellent writing exercises to expand the writer's creativity, great examples, with a clear supportive style. As a psychotherapist and writer and script consultant, Dr. Ballon understands. She's been there, and knows how to help the writer through the process. An excellent addition to her other books."
Dr. Linda Seger
script consultant and author of MAKING A GOOD SCRIPT GREAT

"This is a truly helpful book, no matter where you are in your screenwriting career. One of Dr. Ballon's particular strengths is to give you techniques to understand the psychology of your characters. She also gives you an excellent handle on the challenging and illusive--though essential--concept of subtext, which is an aspect of screenwriting that even highly experienced professionals struggle with. And I particularly appreciated her description of the ESSED syndrome. ESSED is shorthand for words that end in 'essed'--words like obsessed, depressed, and dispossessed. ESSED, she tells us, are qualities you can give your characters as they struggle towards a goal, qualities that intensify that struggle. This book covers all the basics of screenwriting, including format, structure, character development, and dialogue, and contains many helpful and stimulating lists of questions for you to ask yourself along the way as you build your script. It is a first-class addition to any screenwriter's library."

Carolyn Miller
Award-winning screenwriter and the author of DIGITAL STORYTELLING: A CREATOR'S G