July 01, 2009

Breaking Down a Writer's Task

I mentioned in the last post that I'm reading a book by Lajos Egri. I know what most of you (if not all of you) are thinking...who is Lajos Egri? I didn't know, either. In fact, honestly, the only reason I own the book is because a college professor made me buy it for a class (thank you, Dr. Esselstrom - the book is awesome!).

The book? The Art of Dramatic Writing. Mr. Egri focuses in on playwriting, for the most part, but the principles of this book are rooted in storytelling, which is what makes it so compelling. It's a look into human nature. An examination of life. Sounds like reading a psychology book, right? It's not far off.

As a writer, it is critical that we understand human nature. That we identify those things that make up life. Behaviors, emotions, connections. Those may be identified in some intense melodrama (e.g. Shakespeare) or they may be hinted at in action-adventure (e.g. Die Hard). Either way, you must identify those things.

I highly recommend Egri's book. It breaks down how a writer must behave in order to tell a compelling story. And, if we don't intend to tell a compelling story...why are we writing?

I'll be exploring my learnings more in the next few weeks as Nathan and I struggle through some of these questions in relation to all the Timeslingers items that we're working on. Stay tuned!

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