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The 5 Best Screenwriting Books
If you're an aspiring screenwriter looking to hone your craft, you're in luck. I've compiled a list of the top five best screenwriting books to help you develop your storytelling skills. Whether you're a beginner taking your first steps into the world of screenwriting or an experienced writer looking to refine your skills, these books have something to offer everyone. 1. Story by Robert McKee Best for: Beginners to Advanced Screenwriters No list of the best screenwriting books would be complete without the inclusion of "Story" by Robert McKee. This book is widely recognised as a seminal work on the art of screenwriting. Its content is dense, filled with complex principles that may require multiple readings to fully grasp. McKee's insights will benefit both beginners and advanced screenwriters, making it a must-read for anyone serious about the craft. 2. Into The Woods by John Yorke  Best for: Breaking Free from Three-Act Structure "Into The Woods" by John Yorke is the perfect choice for writers who feel trapped in the rigid world of three-act structure. Yorke introduces a more sophisticated understanding of story structure, emphasising the importance of character development and the role of turning points. This fresh perspective will help you break free from the predictable model of three acts and breathe new life into your storytelling. 3. The Idea by Erik Bork  Best for: Crafting Compelling Story Ideas Erik Bork's "The Idea" is a valuable resource for writers in need of a strong story premise. It's particularly useful for beginners struggling to develop a script idea or experienced writers who find their stories losing steam after the midpoint. Bork presents seven key elements that every story should incorporate, helping you build a solid foundation for your screenplay. 4. The Science of Writing Characters by Kira-Anne Pelican  Best for: Creating Complex Characters Kira-Anne Pelican's "The Science of Writing Characters" takes a unique approach to character development. This book encourages writers to consider the specific traits and nuances of their characters. It challenges the notion that all extroverts are the same, highlighting differences in character warmth and assertiveness. By incorporating these details, you can add depth and complexity to your characters, creating a rich tapestry of personalities that can drive conflict within your script. 5. Screenwriting is Rewriting by Jack Epps Jr.  Best for: Mastering the Rewriting Process While many screenwriting books focus on the initial writing process, "Screenwriting is Rewriting" by Jack Epps, Jr. delves into the essential art of rewriting. Epps suggests a practical approach to revising your script: rather than attempting to fix everything at once, make multiple passes, addressing different elements of your story with each revision. Whether it's character development, theme, structure, or dialogue, Epps provides the guidance you need to fine-tune your screenplay. This book is a valuable resource that you can reference throughout your writing journey. MORE ON CRAFT BROWSE MY SERVICES ASK A QUESTION Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute. He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 
how to write authentic characters
How To Write Authentic Characters
It's imperative to write authentic characters if you want to craft a compelling screenplay. To achieve this, it's crucial to explore their inner worlds and understand their thoughts, motivations, and actions. To think like your characters, you need to be armed with the right questions. As a professional script consultant, I often recommend a specific approach to the writers I work with, taking personality tests and quizzes on behalf of their characters. In this article, I'll cover exactly this and explain the inside-out approach to help you write authentic characters. It's imperative to write authentic characters if you want to craft a compelling screenplay. To achieve this, it's crucial to explore their inner worlds and understand their thoughts, motivations, and actions. To think like your characters, you need to be armed with the right questions. As a professional script consultant, I often recommend a specific approach to the writers I work with, taking personality tests and quizzes on behalf of their characters. In this article, I'll cover exactly this and explain the inside-out approach to help you write authentic characters. What Is "Writing From The Inside-Out?" 'Writing from the inside-out' essentially involves thinking as your characters do, which means immersing yourself in their mindset and gaining a profound understanding of what drives them based on who they are as a person, as well as the specific circumstances they're in and who they're interacting with in a scene. To craft characters that feel real, it's essential to grasp their psychology, and so this method is very important from creating authentic characters. How To "Write From The Inside-Out" A great exercise for understanding your characters on a deeper level is to take personality quizzes on their behalf.  The Myers-Briggs test is an excellent starting point, as this widely-used personality test categorises individuals based on their psychological tendencies, which will help you explore your characters' unique traits and behaviour patterns. There are numerous other quizzes and opinion polls available on websites like Buzzfeed and Playbuzz. These resources offer a wide range of quizzes that can provide additional insights into your characters' inner worlds. The Benefits of Using Personality Quizzes for Writing Authentic Characters Engaging with personality tests and quizzes may seem like a somewhat unconventional exercise, but the benefits are substantial. Beyond helping you think like your characters, these tools assist in understanding their behaviours and daily lives. More importantly, they spark inspiration for adding nuances to your characters and generating ideas for plot points and scene development. Remembering To Use Contradictions To Write Authentic Characters Whilst using personality quizzes are useful for getting into your characters' mindset, it's important that they are layered with contradictions as well. By allowing your characters to exhibit multifaceted and occasionally contradictory behaviours, you will infuse authenticity into your storytelling. These unexpected actions should be responses to elements within your narrative, contributing depth and authenticity to your characters' development. In conclusion, the inside-out approach to character development is a potent technique for screenwriters seeking to create authentic and relatable personas in their work. By immersing yourself in your characters' psyches and using personality tests and quizzes to gain deeper insights, you unlock their complexity, enrich your plot, and create characters that resonate with your audience MORE ON CHARACTER BROWSE MY SERVICES ASK A QUESTION Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute. He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 
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How To Write A Plot Twist Like Get Out
"Get Out" is a cinematic masterpiece that showcases the art of crafting a plot twist that leaves audiences stunned. In this article, we'll explore the key elements of the twist in "Get Out" so you can learn how to write a plot twist for yourself. Why Does The Plot Twist In "Get Out" Work So Well? Before we dissect the elements of a compelling plot twist, let's briefly recap the central twist in "Get Out." Chris discovers that his seemingly sympathetic white girlfriend, Rose, has intentionally lured him to her family's home as part of a sinister plan to transplant a white man's brain into his body. This revelation subverts everything we've seen up to that point and turns the story on its head after we've been convinced that Rose and Chris are in a genuine, loving relationship. Reveal Character With Your Plot Twist Effective plot twists often hinge on revealing sudden information that sheds light on character motivations or hidden agendas. These revelations trigger strong emotional responses from your audience. Think of it as a moment where characters' true natures are exposed, leading to shock, moral outrage, or a deeper understanding of their complexities. As an audience, we've been totally fooled by Rose's loyalty, as she's balanced against the feelings of hostility that come from her parents and her younger brother.  Also, earlier in the film, Rose implies that Chris is being racially profiled to avoid having his ID recorded near her parents' house. Initially, we perceive this as an act of protection. However, as the story unfolds, the true ulterior motive becomes evident. The gradual unveiling of this hidden agenda adds a layer of complexity to the character dynamics, making the twist all the more shocking. Create A Shift In The Power Dynamics Introducing a shift in power dynamics can amplify the impact of your plot twist. By altering the balance of power between characters, you subvert established relationships and send your story in a new and unexpected direction. This not only keeps the audience engaged but also adds depth to your characters' arcs. Consider The Timing of Your Plot Twist Consider the timing of your plot twist's revelation in the context of your script's overall pacing. The moment when you choose to disclose the crucial information can significantly impact its effectiveness. Careful pacing ensures that the twist has the maximum emotional impact on your audience. In Get Out, this moment comes at the turn into the final act, which shifts the tone and atmosphere for the rest of the film's duration, evoking a seriously claustrophobic environment where Chris is suddenly in extreme danger. In conclusion, "Get Out" offers valuable insights into the art of crafting a plot twist that leaves a lasting impression. By revealing character aspects, shifting power dynamics, and considering the pacing, you can write a plot twist that captivates and surprises your readers or viewers. Just like in Get Out, a well-executed plot twist can elevate your story to new heights and keep your audience engaged from start to finish. MORE ON PLOT / STRUCTURE BROWSE MY SERVICES ASK A QUESTION Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute. He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 
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A Christmas Carol Ending Explained: Lessons of Compassion In Victorian England

A Christmas Carol Ending Counting House

The ending of A Christmas Carol depicts a pivotal moment in the story, where Ebenezer Scrooge’s character development comes into fruition.

As the tale draws to a close, Scrooge undergoes a transformation demonstrating the importance of compassion and empathy towards others.

This article will delve deeper into the ending of A Christmas Carol and examine how it is a satirical reflection on the socio-economic state of Victorian England.

The Story of A Christmas Carol

Before we delve into the ending of A Christmas Carol, it’s essential to provide a brief overview of the story’s plot.

The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and selfish businessman, who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley.

Marley warns Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come – who will help him change his ways. 

Over the course of the story, Scrooge is faced with the mistakes of his past, the sadness of his present and the loneliness of his future.

A Christmas Carol Analysis Ghost of Christmas Present

A Christmas Carol Ending Explained

Scrooge’s experience with the three spirits leads him to recognise the error of his ways. The ending of A Christmas Carol depicts Scrooge waking up on Christmas morning.

Suddenly, he is filled with a  newfound sense of joy and compassion, loaded with a realisation that his visions from the Christmas spirits have faded back to reality.

Five-Act Structure in A Christmas Carol

The story’s structure forces Scrooge to recognise his own lack of compassion.

The opening act shows him to be jaded and bitter before the second and third act progress with the Ghost of Christmas Past and Present. 

After this, the fourth act presents Scrooge with a devastating realisation that he will ultimately die alone whilst a group of thieves ransack his possessions.

Suddenly, the prospect of Scrooge’s mortality and the grim circumstances in which his life ends forces him to repent, which delivers his character development.

As Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning, the story moves into its final act, and his character change is expressed through a vast shift in his attitude.

Scrooge’s transformation as he sets out to make amends for his past misdeeds. In the original tale, Dickens does this by reframing all of the instances of Scrooge’s behaviour in the opening act. 

In other words, Scrooge’s altered self has become a direct mirror image of who the audience was initially introduced to as he relinquishes his lack of compassion in favour of a more charitable version of himself.

He joyfully spreads kindness and cheer to everyone around him, including his employee Bob Cratchit, whom he had previously mistreated.

Scrooge’s transformation is not just evident through generosity towards others, though, but also in his newfound appreciation for the world he lives in.

He experiences a renewed sense of wonder and awe at the simple pleasures in life, such as the joy of spending time with loved ones and the beauty of the natural world.

A Chirstmas Carol Ending Jacob and Scrooge

The Satire of A Christmas Carol

While A Christmas Carol is a timeless tale of redemption and the importance of treating others with kindness, it’s also a satirical reflection on the socio-economic state of Victorian England.

At the time of the book’s publication in 1843, Victorian England was characterised by a wide gap between the wealthy and the impoverished.

The wealthy elite, like Scrooge, often looked down on the less fortunate, and the story is an obvious critique of this mindset.

Scrooge’s wilful ignorance towards the state of those below him on the social ladder reflects the social prejudices being cemented during the Industrial Revolution.

As a result, Scrooge’s transformation is not just a personal but also a symbolic one.

He represented a need for the wealthy elite in Victorian society to reassess their values, as Dickens uses Scrooge’s character development to call for societal changes.

The story’s message is clear – those in positions of power and wealth must recognise the suffering of those around them and act accordingly.

A Christmas Carol Ending Scrooge Happy

A Christmas Carol: A Timeless Tale

In conclusion, the ending of A Christmas Carol is a powerful moment in the story that demonstrates the importance of compassion and empathy towards others.

Through Scrooge’s transformation, the story serves as a reflection of the socio-economic state of Victorian England and a critique of the wealthy elite’s lack of empathy towards the less fortunate.

As we continue to revisit this timeless story through numerous adaptations as, unfortunately, its message is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written.

For a deep dive into the ending of A Christmas Carol and how it is contextualised by the movie’s relationship between character and theme, click the button below to watch my video essay on the screenplay.

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