I bought this book because I wanted to understand more about the process of screenwriting and I was not disappointed. I would agree with the other reviewers of this book that Goldman does not set out to explain how to write a screenplay but rather to talk about screenplays within the context of his own Hollywood life. The insights it gives into the film world are well worth a read - and, as a consequence, the book sails along at a great pace. But there are two things that come across very strongly: the first is that you get an overwhelming sense of pace within movies. This is not something I had given much thought to before but Goldman's book makes it hard to watch another film without being affected by its rhythm and that can make a wonderful difference if you're a writer. The second is that the final part of the book, his own original screenplay, is awful. The guy has spent a lot of time pointing out what's great and terrible about all manner of stories, scripts, films and scenarios and then manages to come up with something that would embarrass most novices. Which is great. Because it underlines everything he says throughout the rest of the book - that writing is not easy and that story is everything. I thought it invaluable to have read this book - and extremely enjoyable too.
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