What a great way to kick off the new year — talking to screenwriters who are ready to get in there and win in 2007!

I was invited to speak this past Saturday at the Alameda Writers Group (AWG) by Chris Dellicarpini, the new President of AWG, and Paula L. Johnson, who made me feel so welcome — and we had a packed house. The motto of this mixed assembly of screenwriters, novelists, and journalists is “Write. Sell. Repeat.”

Sounds like my motto.

Little wonder I met so many kindred spirits — and had such a ball.

Rosa Graham is a writer with a passion for comedies, which is why she founded http://www.findthefunny.com, a site dedicated to getting the comedy script more respect! She will be holding a comedy script contest with which I hope to be associated and I couldn’t be more pleased. All laughing. All the time.

Hey, that’s my other motto!

I also met the great Karl Iglesias, author of one of my favorite screenwriting books, Writing For Emotional Impact. Karl, whom I’d never met, and I discovered we are on the same page when it comes to storytelling; look for me to be a guest speaker at his UCLA class soon. I also heard from Michael Lent, author of another fav of mine, Breakfast with Sharks. Michael’s now a writer/producer with a great new film about to go out to distributors. Michael is the coolest guy out there, and was a big inspiration to me when designing the cover of Save the Cat! I thought, “If only it could be as good as Sharks!! ”

But here’s what I didn’t do well enough for Alameda: I feel like I did not connect enough. I usually give out both my email address when I speak. And l forgot this time. I will make a new New Year’s resolution not to forget next time. But if anyone would like further information from me: [email protected] is a start.

And one last item: Here’s a creative exercise for your week.

In the course of my speech I gave a little preview of my new book, Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, in which I talked about “genre” — or at least my take on it. This book challenges Robert McKee’s Story, and will blow the lid off genre once and for all by giving writers the specific types of stories that audiences love — and what makes them tick. I am very excited about this and talk about it alot nowdays.

After the speech, a nice young lady asked me, since I had talked about the mythic aspects of story, if I thought Harry Potter is going to die. Rumors are ripping through the Internet on this topic. The final installment of that great series is due soon and everyone is guessing the ending. So, screenwriters, what do we think? Will Harry live or die? Does Harry need to die based on how he was set up at the beginning? Let’s see what we have on the ball. And thanks again to AWG for this and all the great interactions!!