Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Great Scriptwriters: Sometimes Overlooked, Always Vital

3rd July 2012





   

Musings and rants

Nine Political Books That Change The Conversation
Following news that Simon and Schuster plan to publish an inflammatory commentator, here are nine political books that deserve more attention.

Penguin Random House Withdraws Union Recognition
Penguin Random House have decided not to recognise Unite and the NUJ as a result of staff negotiations, leaving the publisher with a stain on its reputation as an employer.

Authors Support Stop Funding Hate
Some authors have had enough of divisive and xenophobic elements in the British press, and are willing to make an ethical stand.

Women In SFF: Indie Edition
A list of indie and self-published women writing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction genres.

Amazon Finally Makes KU Appealing For Novelists
The new per-page payout for the Kindle Unlimited subscription service makes it a much better deal for authors of longer novels.

Thoughts On The Sieghart Report On Libraries
The Sieghart report on libraries missed its mark by miles. Yet the real cause of the decline of the UK library network is depressingly obvious.

A Shout-Out For The Good Guys
When nastiness dominates online conversations about books it is time to appreciate the well-behaved authors.

Critique Circle: Shaping Fabulous Stories
The appeal of a certain writing critique website. Or, why I have neglected this blog.

Where Shall I Point This Pitchfork?
Some thoughts on Jonathan Ross, Loncon, and the twitchfork mob.

Reading Is Not A Race
Why I will be abandoning annual reading challenges in 2014.

What Book Discovery Is Missing
The current state of book discovery is narrowing our reading choices and squeezing out midlist writers. How can it be fixed?

An Explosion Of Discovery Tools
New book discovery engines are popping up all over the web. But which ones will come out on top?

Blog Tours From Both Sides
Blog tours are the lastest marketing fad. But what are the pros and cons of this kind of publicity?

It's Not Your Story Any More
When a book is published, authors lose control over how the story should be read. They should let go the reins and enjoy the ride.

Same Old, Same Old
Are current methods of book discovery pushing us further away from original literature?

Female Protagonists In Genre Fiction
A list of recommended SFF books for adults which feature a female as the main character.

Is This The End Of Sweeping Vistas?
Do recent trends in fantasy art styles and the constraints of online book discovery mark the decline of landscape cover art?

A Rising Tide Floats All Boats
Authors: stop thinking of other writers as your rivals. They're not the enemy.

Reviews Are Useless Without Context
With so many review blogs, quick ways of understanding their authors are more important than ever.

The Going Rate For Fake Reviews
Now you can buy your way to critical success, at least until you get caught.

Scriptwriters make about as much contribution to a film's overall success as the leading actors or the director, but fewer people know who Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are than Orlando Bloom or Liv Tyler.

I'm a fan of good scripts, for me they're an essential part of any good movie. But it occurred to me that I didn't have a very clear idea of whose writing I rated the highest because a lot of scriptwriters are hidden in the credits, in tiny font sizes that scroll past too quickly to read. So I did an audit of my favourite movies, and came up with this list.

Christopher Nolan

Although he's best known as a director, Christopher Nolan pens many of his own screenplays. They include those for Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and Inception. 'Nuff said.

Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson

This is the team behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, and The Lovely Bones. In my view their adaptation of the Lord of the Rings improved on the original considerably, particularly when it comes to pacing.
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Andy and Lana Wachowski

Lana was formerly Larry Wachowski. This is another family team (Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson are husband and wife, whereas the Wachowskis are siblings). They have written scripts for The Matrix series, and V for Vendetta. Yes, Alan Moore disowned that film and had his name taken off the credits, but that doesn't stop it being a more than decent story.

Steve Kloves

This is the scriptwriter behind all of the Harry Potter movies excepting The Order of the Phoenix, which was the most disappointing adaptation anyway.

James Cameron

Again Cameron is best known as a director, but his writing credentials are impressive. Aliens, Terminator 2, Dark Angel, and Avatar are some of his best creations.

Joe Stillman

Joe Stillman has been involved in scripts for Shrek, Shrek 2 and Planet 51, and although they're for kids these are also movies with plenty of warm, witty dialogue.

Andrew Adamson

This writer was involved in Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005 and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The Narnia films aren't my favourites, but I think the scripts do improve on the source material.

Joss Whedon

I think Joss Whedon's scripts can be varied, and I didn't rate Avengers Assemble very highly. However Whedon has produced a lot of great SFF over the years, and the good far outweighs the bad.

Jonathan Nolan

Christopher Nolan's brother. He's credited on The Prestige and The Dark Knight, although he has some way to go to catch up with his sibling's output.

Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio

This is another team who have worked together for a long time on various projects. Their best work includes the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Shrek. Roland Emmerich 's 1998 version of Godzilla is a blot on an otherwise solid record, however.

Neil Gaiman

It's almost as though scriptwriting is done as an afterthought in Hollywood. Neil Gaiman is yet another of my favourites who is actually best known for doing something else. In Neil Gaiman's case that means writing comics, novels, Tweets, and just about everything really. But as well as seeing his novels adapted by other people he's written scripts for Babylon 5, Doctor Who, the 2007 film version of Beowulf, Mirrormask, and Neverwhere.