Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back to School Part 4--My Baby's Gone to the Movies!--A Writer's Dream

By Jennifer Debenham

As part of my Back-to-School-for-Me, I have been reading Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder, whom I was sad to hear had passed away unexpectedly in 2009. I had heard the book mentioned in writing circles and was imagining I'd get to listen to him in person some day at a writer's conference. Fortunately, I can follow up what I'm learning so far with his two sequels of similar title: Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told, and Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into . . . and Out Of. As I am not a screenwriter, and have no real interest in becoming one, I wondered if this book would have much of value to me. But again, I had heard it praised so readily among many writing friends, that I decided that the bottom line is--a good story is a good story, no matter its medium.

And since the best (or at least most popular) books are typically made into movies, it follows that studying how to create great screenplays can also help in the novel-writing department. Wouldn't we all love to see our "babies" on the big screen? I give the thought two thumbs WAY UP!

This got me to thinking about my favorite books.

At the top of my list is always Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen is brilliant. Enough said. I also must give a place of honor to Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Incidentally, these two books also hold a place in my heart, in part, because of the fantastic films they have inspired.

It's somewhat harder to name other all-time favorites because I feel like an actor accepting an award--if I "thank" some author for his or her brilliant work, I'm liable to leave someone equally important out. So I'll settle for naming some of my favorite recent reads. Does that get me off the hook?

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (Loved the movie too!)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne (Haven't seen the movie yet, but it's on my list.)
The Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah
These Is My Words, by Nancy Turner
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Room, by Emma Donoghue

What would be on your list?

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