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Writing and selling thriller screenplays (paperback/Kindle 2013)


Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays

Book written by Lucy V Hay; review by Stephen Hall

After you have seen the figures paid to screenwriters in Hollywood, it is not surprising that many people consider this as a short route to getting rich, while not realising that most screenplay writers pen a considerable number of screenplays that never get seen by a professional reader, producer or director. Those people should purchase a copy of this book to set themselves on the right direction towards writing and selling their own thriller screenplay, as the selling is as important as the writing.

This writer is well versed to help new and unsuccessful screenplay writers prepare properly. She knows what is required and offers a few lessons in preparing your screenplay so that professionals will ask to read it beyond the first 10 pages. Lucy V Hay has worked as a screenplay reader; the people that have to read through all the dross to find the one piece of magic that can be passed on to a producer or director.

In this book, she clearly reminds and defines what a thriller is at she breaks down the methods required to make sure that your thriller really does thrill the audience. She provides detailed information about the different types of thrillers available so that you can market direct to the specific genre of your choice.

She insists that it’s the characters that make thrillers so inviting for cinema audiences and you can’t doubt the different types of characters that she lists and explains.

The second part of the book is a general guideline to suggest how a newbie should write a screenplay, but you will need further advice to put together a complete screenplay as she can only teach a modest amount in a few pages with the salient points being those that should never be missed.

The section on selling your thriller screenplay will prove extremely useful for many amateur writers because this is the sector that is often kept secret in the majority of screenplay advice books, which tend to deal only with writing the screenplay; not selling it.

The fourth part of the book is not just a list of resources; it’s a goldmine of important contacts and great information about screenplay writing to keep you busy reading for years, which means you may not have enough time left to write.

Ms Hay likes to make the point that there is a shortage of female roles within the film industry, both in cast and crew and most objective people would agree with her. Unfortunately, she went on and on about it. And on. And on and on. We get the point and certainly wouldn’t disagree with it, especially as acting roles for ladies after the age of 40 are severely lacking and the fact that I’m writing this paragraph means that the point has been made and understood.

The price of the paperback, at £16.99, is only reduced by a few pence on Amazon. This does reflect the price of non-fiction in the marketplace, but this book is more attractive at the Kindle edition price of less than 9 pounds. This book is full of exceptional information, particularly in the last section as resources. Once you have read this book, you may only need to refer to certain parts again as you write your own thriller screenplay.

This book should form part of the armoury for any screenplay writers bookshelf as while it guides you through the thriller writing necessities, it brings home the industry reasons why your first page, then your first 10 pages, your strategy and the pitch are important business attributes and perhaps explain why poor screenplays get made into films and great screenplays often never even get read.

Finally, referring to page 44, the writer really should find out where the stopcock is in their property and learn how to use it because one day, having that knowledge could save your home from permanent damage and you won’t have a disaster screenplay to write about.

You can find the book at Kamera Books together with the great list of resources.

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