GWW covers the fiction writing craft–character, plot, point of view, etc.–suitable for all formats: short stories, essays, novels, etc. If I had to guess, this is one of the sources from which the myriads of writing books on the market draw their lessons. GWW purports to give the same materials you might get at an expensive writers workshop (except without the feedback, or the expense).
There’s a remarkably detailed overview of EoS on its Amazon page. I was interested in screenwriting which is covered in the first third of the book. I didn’t read the rest of the book which describes the sales and management involved in a screenwriting career.
My major take away from GWW is: rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite a third time. The idea of writing a draft, rewriting it from memory, and rewriting that one, again from memory, strikes me as an excellent way to deeply involve the subconscious in the story’s development.
I admit it goes against my personality to do this repetitive process. But I acknowledge its value and will endeavor to reduce it to practice in some form or other. My stories need more than just multiple revisions before sending them off for professional editing. These editors have never urged total rewrites because of policy (i.e., they like the return business).
EoS emphasizes developing an integrated story. Any element that advances the story and/or develops the characters is in; whatever doesn’t do these two things is out. If it moves the story or characters forward almost anything is in. However, if the story starts out as a sweet romantic comedy set in the South Bronx, don’t have the Martians invade and conquer the Earth in chapter 7.
Here’s an entire ‘Essentials of Screenwriting – Complete Film Courage Interview’ with UCLA Professor Richard Walter on YouTube. Please be aware that there are a few instances of coarse language during the interview. The following is an excerpt from this interview with a self-described crazy old hippie.
‘Most Important Thing I Teach My Screenwriting Students,’ UCLA Prof. Richard Walter, June 11, 2013
In 1814, during the first revolutionary period, John Adams said: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” He also said: “It is vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than autocracy or monarchy…” The authors of The Fourth Revolution contend that the secret of good governance lies in checking human desires, not letting them run free.
America’s founding fathers also worried that democracy would crush individual liberty. The majority would use pressure and regulation to press the minority into conformity. The authors say few examine these issues now. In the vacuum, voters regard the practice of democracy as corrupt and inefficient. And yet they won’t question the theory. Their contempt delegitimizes government and turns setbacks into crises.
Democracy is overloaded with obligations, overburdened with unfulfillable expectations, and distorted by special interests. The population’s dependency forces government to continuously expand. During the second revolution, nineteenth century liberals in Great Britain reformed both the state’s machinery and its form of representation. The authors suggest today’s politicians should trim the state and renew democracy.
The rise of the Beijing consensus’s top down modernization and meritocratic governmental institutions makes the west’s democratic alternative seem regressive. America demonstrates too many of democracy’s vices and Europe too few of its virtues.
America’s checks and balances, though successful in the past in preventing the tyranny of the majority, has been subverted to become a political tool that decreases efficiency, compromise, and justice. America’s gerrymandering voting districts entrench special interests, extremism, and mediocre representation for a lifetime. America’s lobbying by special interests awash in money begs the question of graft and favoritism.
Europe, in an effort to stifle popular passions that caused two world wars, has sacrificed national sovereignty to technocratic governmental, financial, and trade bodies and, in the process, are vivifying national populist movements.
Economic inequality is putting western democracy to the test. Quoting Louis Brandeis, “we can have a democratic society or we can have great concentrated wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.” In the era of financial crisis with less to go around and a bloated but inefficient welfare state, the West must stop democracy’s decay or risk their people’s ire.
The authors call for limited government that constrains itself through self-denying ordinances. In the process, three government dangers must be overcome: liberty encroaching expansion, surrender to special interests, and making unfulfillable promises.
As remedies, the authors propose balanced budgets over the economic cycle, fully funded and means tested entitlements tied to life expectancy, and sunset clauses for laws and regulations. Handing some economic power to technocrats and independent commissions and pushing decisions to the states and cities are ways to limit centralized power.
Micklethwait and Wooldridge say that the cost of inaction is high—unreformed, the welfare state will collapse under oppressive debt. The opportunity is great—the rewards to states that revive democracy and reduce the burden of the state will sprint ahead of its peers economically and in life satisfaction. History will be on the side of the nations that promote individual liberty.
We in the West are polarized politically. Our leaders pander to special interests instead of providing for the common good. How much longer can we mortgage our children’s future to pay for our pensions and health care? We are getting less benefit from and paying more for our educational system. We’re transferring tax revenues to the middle classes and crony capitalists in agriculture, defense, finance, etc. at the expense of caring for the truly poor.
The world is looking to the East as the model for economic advances and a better life at the expense of individual liberties. We in the West must become serious about reforming our systems or be left behind in the rubbish heap of history. Some western states, provinces, and cities are becoming more efficient through experimentation. There are lots of ideas to try, if only we were willing to start.
In the coming weeks we’ll cover how Beatrice and Sidney Webb laid the foundations for the welfare state in the third revolution, how Lee Kuan Yew created the Asian Consensus, and how the Nordic states point the way to the future.