Writing Drama

Part of being an internationally famous writer means people send me free stuff to review.

No Aston Martin’s yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

An embarrassingly long time back, I received a copy of ‘WRITING DRAMA’ by Yves Lavandier.

I say embarrassingly, because it took me a long time to read – that’s not the book’s fault; but for the past few months I’ve had very little spare time for reading.

Anyway, I’ve read it. I liked it, and I thought I’d let you know what it’s like.

It’s a very comprehensive book. It’s not just a guide to writing screenplays, it’s an incredibly in-depth discussion of the underlying principles of writing all drama. I’m not University material, but I’m guessing it’s the sort of book which could easily form the foundation of a degree course.

Each section goes into a hell of a lot of detail about different aspects and theories of drama writing. So much detail in fact, I frequently felt I needed to put the book down and digest the information before moving on.

I could easily imagine a lecturer setting exercises based on the individual chapters and taking the best part of a year to get through the book.

It has a lot of examples from a wide range of popular movies, comics and theatre – so many, in fact, that the index contains 38 pages of title references in teeny tiny writing.

Personally, I found the book very useful, since I was in the middle of re-writes to a feature at the time. The chapter on Dramatic Irony convinced me to change the nature of the information I was keeping back, a change which dramatically altered the tone of the script for the better.

Yves has a different take on the three act structure to the definition I’m familiar with, and I can’t say I entirely agree with it. That’s not to say I disagree, since it makes perfect sense, but I find other definitions more useful to my writing style.

That, however, is a tiny niggle about what is otherwise an excellent book. Like I said, it’s not a ‘How to write a screenplay’ book, but it will get you (or at least me) thinking about different aspects of your story in new ways.

What can I say? I found it useful, and I don’t begrudge the time I spent reading it.

If anyone wants to check it out, it’s available from Le Clown & L’enfant, priced €38.

Now then, Aston Martin; I’d like a blue … actually, I’m not fussy. I’ll take whatever you’ve got.

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