Book Review: Writing the Fantasy Film | Print |
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Written by Amanda Lynn Porter   

“Fantasy stories have been around for a long, long time.” This is how Sable Jak’s book, Writing the Fantasy Film, begins. You may not be the next Lord of the Rings writer, but maybe you’ve always had the knack for writing Fantasy and just couldn’t find the right story line or maybe Fantasy is completely new for you. Either way, Writing the Fantasy Film: Heroes and Journeys in Alternate Realities is a good way to light the spark.

This book is more like a novel in the sense that it has larger chapters in paragraph form. Unlike other books that are more chart, graph, and list friendly, Writing the Fantasy Film may require a bit more actual reading.

Many people found after reading this book it became easier to form the blocks of a fantasy plot without putting pen to paper. Fantasy is thought to be a complicated web in which many elements must be thought out perfectly. Although that is often true, Jak points out that fantasy has a lot in common with other genres in the fact that there is included comedy, drama, action, and romance.

Many filmmaking books focus on grammar and structuring your screenplay to make them more interesting. However, Writing the Fantasy Film includes more about the elements that will truly make your story interesting and work well with the audience.

Particularly, I thought the chapters on magic, Beasts, and characters were the most fascinating. When I think of fantasy films, I’m often stuck to ogres and witches, leaving me creatively stumped when it comes to a fresh story line, but there are so many other possibilities that this book really allowed me to branch out into. It really opened up my creativity and helped with originality.

This book isn’t for beginning screenwriters, as even stated in the book, but there are plenty of things screenwriters of all expertise can take away from it.

-Included exercises at the end of each chapter
-Included resources to helpful films and websites
-Plot and story lines to help give your imagination a boost

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: What is Fantasy?
Chapter 2: Research, or, It’s Not All in Your Head
Chapter 3: The Story – Part One
Chapter 4: Characters
Chapter 5: Beasties, Magic Beings and Fantastic Races
Chapter 6: Magic
Chapter 7: Location
Chapter 8: Battles – Within and Without
Chapter 9: Religion – if You have a Monk, There Should Be a Church
Chapter 10: Politics, You Can’t Have Political Upheaval without Political Dissent
Chapter 11: Romance, and Maybe a Little Sex?
Chapter 12: Family, the People from Whom Many Conflicts Arise
Chapter 13: Languages, Or, Is Bippity Boppity Boo Necessary?
Chapter 14: Music and Poetry
Chapter 15: Details
Chapter 16: Descriptions
Chapter 17: The Story – Part Two
Chapter 18: Putting it All Together
About the Author

About the Author:

Sable Jak is a writer of both non-fiction and fiction. She’s written for "Script" Magazine,, and a few other places.

She runs an audio company called Sebastian T Sweet Productions, who does full-cast audio-drama and are in post-production on their first venture: "A Jewel of the Gods Adventure, The Amber Room Hunters,” "A Rebecca Bowen Mystery: An Elemental Horror,” and the newly recorded "The Enchantress.”

Seven Episodes of her mystery audio series: "A Phil Byrnes Mystery" have been recorded by Colonial Radio On The Air in Boston.

She was hired to work on a variety of film and TV scripts out of the country and is known worldwide for her knowledge of fantasy films.

Associate Editor, Amanda Lynn Porter has been involved in many aspects of video/film production. Starting a video production class at her middle school in eighth grade, Amanda has always enjoyed every aspect of videography. After producing many in-school productions, including a daily newscast, Amanda branched out and began directing and producing commercials and short films for law firms, intermediate school districts, and various associations throughout Michigan.


Most recently, Amanda worked for Michael Moore on his latest documentary: Capitalism: A Love Story. You can read her new column, Amanda's Book Nook each month in School Video News.