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The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a…
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The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

by John Truby

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Such an enlightening book. Every other book I have read on writing seems superficial now compared to this expert analysis of storytelling techniques. ( )
  hanawilliams | Jul 30, 2014 |
This book is a solid guide to formulaic story structure. Of course, as much as it claims to break from the "stale and formulaic" three-act structure, it also creates a whole new form of potential "stale and formulaic" structure that will help the reader create excellent stories, that all feel exactly the same.

As I was reading, there were several times where I thought the ideas Truby discusses are excellent, but a little stilting if the reader follows each and every step as if it is gospel. The real trick is to read this book, learn what it has to teach you, then use only as much as you feel you need for each story you write.

There's a textbook feel to Truby's book, especially with the writing exercises at the end of each chapter, but this was the first book on writing that I've read where the exercises didn't feel mandatory, or even necessary.

Definitely worth reading to help yourself improve as a writer and storyteller. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jun 12, 2013 |
A little textbook-y and hard work, but a very rewarding method for considering every aspect of a story. ( )
  annemlanderson | Mar 31, 2013 |
One of the best books on writing and the story structure I have read. ( )
1 vote | wdjoyner | Feb 19, 2012 |
It's a bedrock truth of writing that the oldest scam in the game is writing about writing. Most writing books are junk, and the reason they're junk is that they push formula, transforming art to engineering. They reduce everything to archetype and suggest logical, linear approaches to what is in fact an intuitive, iterative process. You get recipes.

No doubt the steady appetite for books pushing writing to formula motivated the misleading subtitle of The Anatomy of Story. But there is no 22 step program to become a master storyteller here. There is a 22-step plot structure, but it concerns only 38 of the book's 445 pages -- and furthermore, some of the steps are treated as disposable. This is not a recipe.

A better subtitle would have advertised the connection of structure and theme, for this is the point that Truby hammers at throughout. Rather than pushing the notion that you should ignore your themes, as so many writing books suggest, Truby insists that all great stories rest on a moral dilemma that is properly expressed through their plot and structure. This is where you connect with an audience: not through characters culled from some list of archetypes, but with a web of characters who all express, in some way, the protagonist's central conflict, which in the best stories is a moral problem.

And this is not simply a screenwriting book. Nothing here is applicable only to the movies. Indeed, Truby draws about half his examples from novels rather than films, considering Ulysses alongside Casablanca. As a book concerned primarily with screenwriting, it ignores the stuff of most books aimed at fiction writers: narration, description, etc., and focuses on what those books tend to gloss over: plot. Consequently, it should be of equal interest to the aspiring novelist.

There is a downside. No doubt with sales in mind, this book keeps one foot firmly in the camp of formula. You get linear steps for iterative processes. This is a particular fault of an early chapter on developing your premise. A little more emphasis on examples that flout formula would have been nice.

A valuable book on writing, worth reading carefully.
1 vote ajsomerset | Dec 19, 2008 |
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To Jack and Amy
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Everyone can tell a story. We do it every day. "You won't believe what happened at work." Or "Guess what I just did!" Or "A guy goes into a bar..." We see, hear, read, and tell thousands of stories in our lives.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865479518, Hardcover)

John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and ShrekThe Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all of his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby's own unique approach for how to build an effective, multifaceted narrative. Truby's method for constructing a story is at once insightful and practical, focusing on the hero's moral and emotional growth. As a result, writers will dig deep within and explore their own values and worldviews in order to create an effective story. Writers will come away with an extremely precise set of tools to work with--specific, useful techniques to make the audience care about their characters, and that make their characters grow in meaningful ways. They will construct a surprising plot that is unique to their particular concept, and they will learn how to express a moral vision that can genuinely move an audience.

The foundations of story that Truby lays out are so fundamental they are applicable--and essential--to all writers, from novelists and short-story writers to journalists, memoirists, and writers of narrative non-fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:44 -0400)

The arts.John Truby is one of the most sought-after story consultants in the film industry; his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, and Shrek. This long-awaited first book shares all his secrets for writing a compelling script. The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby's own unique approach for how to build an effective, multifaceted narrative. Truby's method for constructing a story is at once insightful and practical, and as a result, writers will dig deep within and explore their own values and worldviews in order to create an effective story.Screen Writing.… (more)

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