Books (and a DVD) on screenwriting

I recently decided to write a screenplay and need some help figuring out the formatting and other technical details. It had been a few months since I had visited my local library, so I decided to drop by and check out a few books and a DVD:

  1. Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters: Storytelling Secrets From the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization
  2. Screenwriting for Dummies
  3. Syd Field’s Screenwriting Workshop
  4. Teach Yourself Screenwriting, Third Edition
  5. Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting

I just got the books home; I have the books for 3 weeks and the DVD for one week. I’ll try to remember to post again if any of the resources listed above were especially helpful.

If you have any books or videos you’d recommend for an aspiring screenwriter (especially resources that cover technical details like formatting), please leave a comment with your recommendation.

A new low for craigslist job ads: From scams to sleaze

I recently sent an e-mail to ask for additional details on a local Human Resources Support position advertised through craigslist. Here’s my initial e-mail:


My name is REMOVED and I am writing to request more information about the HR Support position your company advertised on craigslist.

•    What is the name of your company?
•    Where is your company located?
•    What schedule is a HR Support expected to work?

I’ve made it a personal policy to be cautious when applying for jobs listed on craigslist, so any answers you can provide are greatly appreciated.


That’s the typical e-mail I send to any craigslist jobs listing poster that may be legit. It’s my safeguard against the multitude of scam posts that earned the posting site its derogatory alias “dregslist.” (Credit for the ingenious nickname goes to my wife.)

When I send that e-mail, I usually expect no response at all or a form letter completely ignoring my question and featuring a link to an online “application” instead. At that point, my suspicions are confirmed, I ignore the reply, and I move on.

This case is a bit different, though.

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Video: New Super Mario Bros. Wii achievements

HUZZAH! As posted on my Twitter feed, I recently collected all 231 Star Coins in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and completed all other objectives.

Click past the break for two videos: The first records my collecting the third Star Coin in World 9-4 and shows what happens when a player collects all Star Coins. The second video records my finding the Secret Goal in World 2-4 and shows what happens when a player completes all of the game’s objectives.

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Purchases from a local Game Crazy liquidation sale

Game Crazy is in the process of closing 200 stores across the United States. Yesterday, my wife and I visited a local Game Crazy where all items remaining in the store were 50% off.

I picked up the following:

AM CD/DVD Game Cleaner Manual Machine ($5, new). I bought this to replace a hand crank-style Maxell CD/DVD cleaner that I’ve used for about 10 years. One of the parts came off my Maxell CD/DVD cleaner years ago, but I still have it and just plug it back into place any time I needed to clean CDs or DVDs. The AM brand cleaner didn’t come with a lens cleaner disc, so I’m keeping my old Maxell disc handy.

Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand ($10, new?). When I spotted Boktai in the display case, I was somewhat surprised to see that it hadn’t sold already. For those not already familiar with the game, it’s a Gameboy Advance title that has a solar sensor built into the game cartridge. Playing where sunlight reaches the cartridge affects gameplay in interesting and creative ways.

On the drive home from Game Crazy and before I unwrapped the game, I felt a twinge of buyer’s remorse for buying a GBA game for $10 when I already have a backlog of games to get through. I was concerned that the solar sensor might just be a silly gimmick, but after playing through the game’s first mission, I found myself impressed with how the developers (Konami) incorporated the solar sensor feature without making the special hardware feel extraneous or tacked on. The game would be an impressive title even without special hardware, but the solar sensor adds to the experience.

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Reading about hypoglycemia

I’ve suspected for a while now that I have hypoglycemia, a condition where the body has trouble regulating the amount of sugar in the blood. I’ve experienced most of the symptoms for as long as I can remember, but I just thought my body was just being troublesome. I won’t bore you with a lengthy explanation of how frustrating a condition like hypoglycemia can be; a quick perusal of the symptoms should give you a rough idea.

My wife and I already eat fairly healthy. We limit our intake of fatty foods, sweets, caffeine, and alcohol. We choose whole wheat breads whenever we have the option. We avoid fried foods. We try to work vegetables and fruits into our diet. We eat red meat only on rare occasions.

Still, symptoms of hypoglycemia persist in my daily life. In an effort to educate myself about the condition and create a dietary plan of action, I checked out the following four books from my local library:

I’ve only started reading Hypoglycemia: The Other Sugar Disease, but it’s been an educational read so far. I can’t vouch for the other three books yet, but I’ll try to post short summaries of each book as I read more of them.

I always thought I would just have to learn with my body’s quirks; I thought everyone got irritable and had trouble focusing or remembering if they didn’t eat often enough. Reading about hypoglycemia has been a welcome relief. Now I know that making changes to my diet can at least help reduce the severity of the symptoms. I didn’t intend for this post to be a long essay on my experiences with symptoms of hypoglycemia, so I’ll move on to the next topic.

There’s a lot of information on hypoglycemia out there–some of it conflicting–so I hope to figure out what works for me, personally, and maybe help others experiencing the same symptoms.

Short story submitted to three prestigious literary journals


I just finished submitting one of my short stories to three prestigious literary journals.

I’ll probably spend an hour or so tomorrow planning out the second wave of submissions so I can be better prepared for the rejection letter if and (most likely) when they arrive. At the least, if I have a plan in place, there won’t be as much time to dwell on the sting of having a story rejected.

Have no fear; I’m not basing my personal assessment of my writing skills exclusively on whether or not three of the top literary journals in America reject my story. Of course, if the story is accepted in any of the three journals linked above, it will do wonders for my confidence in my writing skills (and serve as cause for joyous celebration).