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Walter Halsey Davis

Screenwriting for Novelists

Essential Story Structure

Monday - Friday
1:00-3:30 PM
RM 179

Manuscript Consultant

by appointment

Walter Halsey Davis says, “I love Thomas Wolfe. Virginia Woolf and even Peter and the Wolf – in fact, I love all Wolfes (Woolfs?  Wolfs – Wolves?) -  anyway, love them all, even though it seems they can’t spell.  However, one must concede that when reading Look Homeward Angel, or The Waves, it doesn’t matter much in which order we read the pages.  Of course, it does save on bookmarks, but how bad would it be if we were dying to know what’s on the very next page?  While we know we are in the presence of greatness when we read them, how many people have actually finished either book?”  

Walter Halsey believes that the discipline, economy and focus required in screenwriting would benefit most novels, nascent and published.  It is a common misperception that screenwriters write dialogue. That would be to say that a homebuilder only applies the paint. That’s what is done after all the critical work has been completed. In this workshop, the focus will be on the essential structural work: how plot develops out of character, how character is revealed and tested by conflicts set up by the theme chosen, how the main character is facing the greatest challenge in his/her life, and, if it is not, then that should be the story. Finally, how to decide where to stop and start a story.

Walter Halsey Davis has written eighteen produced films, including Seven Hours to Judgment, Strange Invaders the mini-series, Great Escape II, the Hallmark Hall of Fame Resting Places, the AT&T Special Last Flight Out, and Father Son. He has won an Emmy, Writers Guild Award, a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Humanitas Prize, the Christopher Award, and a Golden Globe nomination.