Thursday, March 11, 2010
Thanks, everyone, for visiting this blog. I’m still getting used to the idea that people care what I have to say. Some people hate what I say while others find it useful, but it’s just a strange feeling to have people care one way or the other. Sometimes the only way that I can muster up the courage to write this blog is to pretend to myself that no one reads it.
I didn’t even want to start this blog. Truth is a friend of mine thought I should have one and created this blog and told me to fill it in. I figured I might as well. That’s pretty much the way I started teaching too. I needed the money and someone thought I’d be good at it. Turns out I am pretty good at it. Who knew?
A few years ago some of my students and a few friends told me that I should write a book. I had never written a book and didn’t think I could do it. Anyway, in 2003 I wrote one. People liked it, but no one wanted to publish it until now. You can read about that here: http://thesunbreak.com/2010/03/01/brian-mcdonalds-invisible-ink-guide-to-story-hits-print
The book is titled Invisible Ink, just like this blog. In fact, the name of the blog comes from the book. If you have liked this blog, the book takes the same ideas and expresses them in more detail. Thanks to all of you for reading the blog all these years, and I hope you will find the book helpful.
Here are some of the people who did me a huge favor and read the book in manuscript form before there was any publisher in sight. I am eternally grateful to them. They all did this because they believed in me and my book. They did this out of the goodness of their hearts to help me get this thing published:
“Writing stories is hard. They are stubborn by nature. No matter how many times you master one, the next story is obligated to conceal its faults with an entirely new disguise. Your only recourse is to keep writing, while concurrently increasing your understanding of this deceivingly simple, yet highly complex, organism we call story. Brian McDonald’s insightful book does just that. Somehow, Brian has found yet another fresh and objective way to analyze how great stories function, and emboldens you to face the challenge of scaling whatever story mountain looms before you. If I manage to reach the summit of my next story it will be in no small part due to having read Invisible Ink.”
—Andrew Stanton (cowriter Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., and cowriter/director Finding Nemo and WALL-E)
“Invisible Ink is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to become a better screenwriter. With elegance and precision, Brian McDonald uses his deep understanding of story and character to pass on essential truths about dramatic writing. Ignore him at your peril.”
—Jim Taylor (Academy Award™- winning screenwriter of Sideways and Election)
“Brian McDonald’s Invisible Ink is a wise, fresh, and highly entertaining book on the art of storytelling. I read it hungrily in one sitting, delighted by his careful and illuminating analysis of my favorite films, novels, television shows, and even comics. A multitalented creator, McDonald never errs in his critical judgments or the very practical principles he provides for creating well-made stories. I recommend this fine handbook on craft to any writer, apprentice or professional, working in any genre or form.”
—Dr. Charles Johnson (National Book Award-winning author of Middle Passage)
“If you want to write scripts, listen to Brian. The guy knows what he’s talking about. A very well-thought-out, easy-to-follow guide to the thing all we writers love to pretend we don’t slavishly follow—story structure.”
—Paul Feig (creator of NBC’s Freaks and Geeks)
Invisible Ink is an uncommonly good guidebook that reveals the unseen workings within great movies, TV, and literature. Brian McDonald, the author of the guidebook, is like a modern day magician who understands the enchantment that lives within a good story, and fortunately for us, he is ready to share his many secrets.
—Joel Hodgson (creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Cinematic Titanic)
“Don’t tell anyone, but the secret to exceptional story crafting is written in Invisible Ink. I advise you read it, memorize it, and then eat the pages one at a time and digest it thoroughly, so that it stays with you. Besides, you can’t afford for this book to fall into the hands of your competitors. Brian’s powerful concept of armature as understructure will change the way you look at movies and writing forever.”
—Pat Hazell (producer/playwright/ former writer for NBC’s Seinfeld)
“Invisible Ink fell into my hands at just the right time—as I was banging my head against the wall trying to structure a screenplay that had too much going on in it. The book’s thoughtful exploration of what makes movies work helped me see my core story clearly, and throw away a third of my material—which I now understand will not be missed. I have a stronger, more focused script thanks to a process inspired by this book.”
—George Wing (screenwriter of 50 First Dates)
I would like to thank these guys for their early support.
As for the followers of the blog I hope that the book does not disappoint.