The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller Paperback – Oct 14 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Teacher and screenplay doctor Truby (responsible for popular screenwriting software Blockbuster) brings his complicated but time-tested story development system to print for the first time, a 22-point process that's more thorough-"an extremely precise map of your entire plot" that "shows you the most dramatic way to tell your story"-but also more unwieldy than the traditional "three-act" technique. For example, the first seven steps Truby introduces apply to structure: develop "weakness and need" and "desire" in your hero, give him an "opponent" and a "plan" for overcoming that opponent, then throw in a "battle" that leads to "self-revelation" and, finally, a "new equilibrium." Chapters build on each other, fleshing out these steps with a number of terms and concepts (character types include hero, main opponent, ally, fake-ally opponent and fake-opponent ally) that alternate between cagey (the "character web") and confusing (the nearly indistinguishable "designing principle," "theme line" and "moral argument"). Further frustration arises in Truby's examples, old movies retrofitted with his techniques (most notably The Godfather and Tootsie) rather than a script that has actually been put through Truby's paces (or, even better, a new script invented just to demonstrate the steps). Following Truby's complex system may yield a memorable screenplay, but writers without great patience may find it more trouble than it's worth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Truby attempts to inform the entire story, addressing plot, character, tone, symbolism, and dialog. The key here is to grow a script organically rather than force the story into preexisting mechanics . . . Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal
“A comprehensive guide to writing stories of all kinds, Truby's tome is invaluable to any writer looking to put an idea to paper.” ―Booklist
“The Anatomy Of Story is concrete and practical without resorting to simplistic 'Three Act Structure' screenwriting clichés. It will be an indispensable guide to writing your first great script. Then, the perfect survival manual to help you negotiate the often confusing, contradictory and cutthroat world of professional screenwriting.” ―Larry Wilson, co-writer /co-producer of BEETLEJUICE and co-writer of THE ADDAMS FAMILY
“A veritable bible for screenwriters.” ―Backstage
“If you're ready to graduate from the boy-meets-girl league of screenwriting, meet John Truby . . . [His lessons draw] epiphanies that make you see the contours of your psyche as sharply as your script.” ―LA WeeklySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Truby's been teaching writers for more than two
decades. It's always been an in person class with
some people xeroxing notes for others. He's never
published before now.
Truby's work is invaluable if you want to write a
well structured story with realistic characters
possessing clear and logical motivations.
The book shows some of the vast array of writer's
tools available to create rich and compelling stories.
All of the book is invaluable. For me, the highlight is
the 22 steps, outlined in detail.
If you can't describe your hero's problem, need, desire and understand
how her desire changes over the life of the story, then stop reading
me and start reading John Truby.
If you go through each section and work on your story/script until you've made it bulletproof, this is really helpful. Had to shoot down my first 4 script attempts partway through the process, but now I've got something that is concise and solid, and each of the previous attempts helped make this much stronger. Taking some time, but I think much better to spend it early on rather than try to rewrite an entire script or book.
Overall a really solid approach--focuses on the relationships within the story rather than hitting certain structure points.
Novice writers may find their eyes rolling around in their heads but don't feel bad - experienced writers feel the same way! If you want to write a multi-structured, textured, vastly engaging book, buy this one first. Think of it as a doctoral thesis for your novel or screenplay.
Took a gamble on this one and it paid off handsomely. Excellent reference and well-presented information about how to structure and write a script. Yes, I've also had the paper-backs in writing, and this one trumps those.
Most recent customer reviews
Unique tutorial on story craft. This formula completely upends the three-act formula that we were taught in high school and at every level thereafter. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
a very helpful book for aspiring writers. makes you think about writing in a different way and answers a lot of questions you didn't know you needed to ask.Published 7 months ago by C. MacDonald
Fantastic book on story writing. I use it for everything from film/tv to video games as well as an online web series!Published 9 months ago by Budd Lam
Of the half dozen or so books I've read on writing fiction, this is the first I've recommended to a friend. I can offer no greater praise.Published 12 months ago by Lee Wood
Completely mindblowing and that's not an understatement. John Truby simply is the absolute screenwriting doctor and professor. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Arnaud