Chuck Sambuchino and a slew of other editors of Writer’s Digest Books have outdone previous editions of FSYM as well as similar books on the market because, not only do they provide detailed instructions on how to format screenplays, scripts, and manuscripts, they also demonstrate how to put together query letters and nonfiction book proposals. They show dozens of good and bad examples to boot, so you can see where you fall on the spectrum.
In addition to formatting Do’s and Don’ts, FSYM is loaded with tips from industry professionals such as literary agents, award-winning authors, screenwriters, playwrights, editors, and producers. Aside from all the great info, one of my favorite aspects of this edition is that Sambuchino and the gang uses The Office, How I Met Your Mother, as well as other popular, modern shows to demonstrate proper style. Not only is it cool to see snippets of your favorite TV shows’ scripts, but this touch makes the whole thing more authentic—to see this formatting in action in a “real” script as opposed to a generic one crafted by the editors just to give the example.
I highly recommend it, no matter what kind of writing you do—no matter where you are in your career. Sambuchino and his colleagues do a great job of explaining the query and submission processes in ways that are palatable enough for beginners to understand; but they also pack each page with information even the most seasoned scribes need.
I didn’t even bother making room for FSYM on my bookshelf because it’s one of those titles I reach for so often, it didn’t make sense to keep it out of arms’ reach.
Um … did you order it yet?
*FSYM is one of my main resources/references in my session at RWA Nationals in Orlando, Sweat the Small Stuff: Getting Your Work Read & Represented.