Okay, I lied. You don’t really need these two books to write ANYthing. Grocery lists, for instance, or chores lists. Or, you know, poetry. Either the really fancy kind (Shakespeare’s sonnets come to mind) or the wild n’ woolly kind (Charles Bukowski).
But if you’re writing anything else (just about), you’re gonna wanna read these two books by Michael Hague. The first one is Writing Screenplays That Sell, and the second one is Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds.
Why? Because. Okay, that’s really not an answer. Because they’re damned good. Because they tell you what is in every story imaginable that you didn’t realize was there. Because they help you SELL your story. I took a day long workshop with Michael at the end of March (the weekend we had a couple of earthquakes in Brea, California), and what he said made sense. What’s more, it was accessible to me. ME. Me. The gal who, after she took a 4 hour workshop with <name redacted>’s several years ago couldn’t write coherently for a YEAR mainly because of <name redacted>’s ego pumping up the workshop making most of us feel like shit. But it took time for me to see clearly beyond that fiasco.
The title of Michael’s workshop was Story Mastery, and he made good on his promise. He gave us the steps to every story. EVERY. STORY. And there wasn’t any need to “find the elixir” either (though, hey, elixir. Pretty yummy stuff.). (Let me know if you get the first reference. The second will only be understood by my hubby. Sorry.)
Formula? Um, heh. Okay, you can call it a “formula”. But most good stories have these points in them automatically. For those of us less naturally gifted, these books and Michael’s workshops are gold. GOLD.
The Screenplay book talks about Story Concept, Character Development, Theme and Character Arc, Structure, Scene Writing, Exceptions to the Rule, Marketing Yourself as a Screenwriter, and on and on. If you’re writing a screenplay, you must – simply must – read this book. A 20th Anniversary Edition has just been released (and mine is signed so no, you cannot borrow it).
Michael’s Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds book basically tells you how to pitch clearly and cleanly and with passion (because without passion, what is life?). If you’re a writer who wants to sell, at some point you’re gonna need to pitch your product. You have to get out of your writing cave, put on your DIVA panties, and pretend to the world that you’re comfortable shilling your wonderful novel/screenplay/play/book of poetry (shrug). And his book gives you the tools to do just that.
Nothing, however, beats passion. I just went to a conference in Arizona where, for the first time, I had enough passion behind my product to convince several really cool people to take a look at the full manuscript. And it felt fantastic. FANTASTIC.
So, if you’re a screenwriter, a novelist, a playwright, heck – even a poet – you just might want to pick up these books. And if Michael Hauge is speaking anywhere near you? Go ahead, dig into your savings, and go hear him. Because what he has to offer is so worth your time, energy, gas, and money (says the gal who is limited on all fronts at this point in time).
And no, I don’t get a commission, and he doesn’t know I wrote this. Just being clear.
What craft books have you been reading lately? I’d love to know!
I read “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder, and, unlike other strategies for churning out a perfect story, where I felt, “Hey, if I could do everything this dude is recommending, I wouldn’t just be published by now, I’d be running the free world,” I found Save the Cat to be accessible and understandable and stuff I could implement without finding an additional 24 hours in the day to outline/diagram/map/storyboard/etc. I consider it the “For Dummies” bible on figuring out the two-word concept of your story and building everything else you need from there. I don’t actually put the advice into use, for God’s sake…no…but I feel like I could. Someday.
I took a couple workshops with Save the Cat, and it just didn’t resonate with me…not sure why. I tried it, too, but – eh. Michael Hauge goes into the internal motivation, and the character journey internally is from Identity to Essence. Since I took an Essence weekend last summer, this really resonated with me. I’ll see how long I continue to use it for my characters – but for now, it seems to be working, lol!
And accessible and understandable – isn’t that so important? It’s funny how one book will work for one person, and another for someone else!
I loved the stuff that I’ve learned about Save the Cat and cannot use it at all, at all. I love this meet in the middle stuff that I got from Claudia Suzanne who is a ghost writer and has a program for that but it’s totally applicable for “plotting” a fiction story. It doesn’t help with GMC or the journey or the Identity to Essence which Michael’s class did. Cannot wait to read the book and need to get the second one now. Excellent post Christine.
I agree, Maria. I loved the Save the Cat stuff – but it didn’t work for me! I don’t know Claudia Suzanne…would love to pick your brain on her method. Hugs hon!