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The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller Paperback – Oct 14 2008


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The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller + The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers + The Hero with a Thousand Faces
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Reprint edition (Oct. 14 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865479937
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Review

"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 Weekly

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Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bartleby47 on March 28 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is work from a true master of story structure.
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin Tessier on June 27 2008
Format: Hardcover
Definitly, one... if not,THE best book I ever read on the subject. Take my word. I mostly read in french (not a lot of real writer) but this book is a must. I don't like to leave this kind of commentary but I do it to help you see over the load of books on the subject. I already read more than 20 books on the subject. This is one the best. Just...Try it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew D Poole on Jan. 10 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have all the other big books on this stuff (also highly recommend "The Art of Dramatic Writing" by Lajos Egri); Truby's book is another one that takes a different approach than the traditional 3-act structure.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Red the Wonderer on March 16 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you only plan on buying one book (ha!) to help with your writing, let this be the one. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. That being said, it is such a monumental undertaking to structure your story using his guidelines that it's pretty darn daunting. I have felt like an ant preparing to undertake a walk around the globe but, have a few less miles to go now.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger M. Brown on Sept. 29 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having bought and read that other book....whose name now escapes me (it's about the same size and better known), I got very little from it.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jean-philippe Tremblay on Aug. 2 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is my writing bible! Honestly, this is one of the most thourough, complete and professionnal writing book I've ever read! If you want to write an organic story based on a character, this book will tell you how to create a solid, multi-layered character! The book also covers all the aspects of the story based on the character's progression. Just amazing!
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