Making a Good Script Great


Making a good script great is more than just a matter of putting a good idea on paper. It requires the working and reworking of that idea.

Making a Good Script Great takes you through the whole screenwriting process-from initial concept through final rewrite-providing specific methods that will help you craft tighter, stronger, and more salable scripts.

While retaining the invaluable insights that placed its first two editions among the ...

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Making a Good Script Great

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Making a good script great is more than just a matter of putting a good idea on paper. It requires the working and reworking of that idea.

Making a Good Script Great takes you through the whole screenwriting process-from initial concept through final rewrite-providing specific methods that will help you craft tighter, stronger, and more salable scripts.

While retaining the invaluable insights that placed its first two editions among the all-time most popular screenwriting books, this expanded, revised, and updated third edition adds rich and important new material on dialogue, cinematic images, and point of view, as well as an interview with screenwriter Paul Haggis.

If you're writing your first script, this book will help develop your skills for telling a compelling and dramatic story. If you're a veteran screenwriter, it will help you articulate the skills you know intuitively. And if you're currently stuck on a rewrite, this book will help you analyze and solve your script's problems and get it back on track.

The focus of this book is on how to solve the script's problems and still preserve the original creativity.

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Editorial Reviews

Ron Howard
"I found Making a Good Script Great so helpful, specifically your sections on the central question and creating scene sequences. I've used those concepts on all my films starting with Apollo 13."
Bobby Moresco
"Making a Good Script Great will not just help you to understand the conventions that make a great script; it will help you put them into practice, challenge those conventions, and force you to ask the hard questions that need asking-without which, no screenplay finds itself. This is a must-read for any aspiring screenwriter, as well as the seasoned pro."
Jim Taylor
"I read the first edition of Making a Good Script Great when I was just starting out and found it extremely enlightening. As mush as I believe in writing intuitively, when the time comes to cast critical eye on your work, Linda Seger has created an outstanding field guide to the difficult but essential process of rewriting."
Stuart Beattie
"Linda's book has been extremely helpful to me. Her examination of screenplay structure and character development should be studied by all aspiring and working writers."
Ellen Sandler
"I wouldn't have been able to get my pen to the page without Making a Good Script Great, and this new 3rd edition is better than ever. With fresh examples and updates. If you want to write, you need this book."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935247012
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 257,229
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Linda Seger began her script consulting business in 1981, based on a script analysis method she developed as part of her doctoral dissertation, "What Makes a Script Work?" Since then, she has consulted with writers, producers, directors, and production companies on more than 2,000 scripts and 100 produced films and taught scriptwriting in 31 countries. Among her many clients have been Ray Bradbury, Peter Jackson, William Kelley, Tony Bill, ITC Entertainment, Charles Fries Entertainment, TriStar Pictures, and the Sundance Institute. She has given seminars for executives at ABC, CBS, NBC, Disney, Embassy Television, RAI television (Italy), and ZDF television (Germany), as well as for members of the American Film Institute, the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Living Legacy Award from the Moondance International Film Festival. She is the author of eight books on screenwriting. Her website is
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Preface to the Third Edition xiii

Introduction xvii

1 Gathering Ideas 1

2 The Three-Act Structure: Why You Need It and What to Do with It 19

3 What Do Subplots Do? 50

4 Act Two-How to Keep It Moving 65

5 Establishing a Point of View 86

6 Creating the Scene 108

7 Creating a Cohesive Script 127

8 Making It Commercial 137

9 Balancing Images and Dialogue 158

10 From Motivation to Goal: Finding Your Character's Spine 177

11 Finding the Conflict 186

12 Creating Multidimensional and Transformational Characters 197

13 Character Functions 212

14 A Case Study: Writer Paul Haggis in His Own Words 229

Index 239

About the Author 252

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  • Posted March 9, 2010

    Dr. Seger Does It Again!

    With the release of "Making a Good Script Great, 3rd Edition," Dr. Seger has coupled her invaluable information from the first two editions with new insights and material rich with examples from newer films and how screenwriting, and filmmaking, has evolved over the last decade. This edition will enhance any screenwriter's skills from the beginner to the veteran. I particularly enjoyed the new material on dialogue, imagery and especially, Point of View which is so often neglected in other references I've read over the last several years. She drives home the importance of a script's structure and without that structure, if it is made into a film, the audience will be confused, lost and with many films I've seen, just plain bored. Her interview with Paul Haggis is fun - he was forthcoming with his insights and experiences in writing his incredible scripts. Thank you, Dr. Seger for this fresh and compelling edition of your finest work!

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