Pilar Alessandra’s popular book, The Coffee Break Screenwriter, taught writers how to outline quickly, write efficiently, and rewrite creatively. It is the “go-to” book for getting one’s story on the page. But now that same writer may be doing a final pass on a project, working with a producer, or coming up with a new project only to be hit with . . . RULES! Should the writer respond to this random list of do’s and don’ts pertaining to structure, characters, dialogue, and formatting? Nope.
Who says you have to follow the screenwriting rules? In this book Pilar reviews the rules writers assume they should follow, discusses why they’re there in the first place, and then shows you ways to creatively break them!
Rules evaluated include those addressing:
storytelling devices like flashback and voiceover
character rules such as empathy and backstory
dialogue faux pas such as writing on the nose
structural issues such as nonlinear writing and act-break placement
formatting sticking points involving emotion and visuals
For every “rule” that’s discussed, Pilar covers:
1. Why the rule exists.
2. Why writers should break the rule.
3. How writers can break the rule.
4. How breaking the rule can break bad (so break with care).
The writer receives guidance and tips at every stage of the often intimidating writing process with a relaxed, “ten minutes at a time” method that focuses the writer and pushes him or her forward. At each step, writers are encouraged to “Take Ten” and tackle an element of their script using the templates and tools provided. “What You’ve Accomplished” sections help writers review their progress. And “Ten-Minute Lectures” distill and demystify old school theory, allowing the writer to unblock and get writing.