Top positive review
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The encyclopedia of screenwriting
on May 20, 2004
I've taken screenwriting courses and seminars, been to a university for film and creative writing, and I can safely say McKee's book is the purest form of breaking down screenwriting I've ever read. From stem to stern, the book is a road map to developing your screenplay in a systematic, thorough and fleshed out manner, leaving no major stone unturned, revealing all the working parts. If you are a beginner or well rounded writer, there is plenty to be gained by McKee's perspective. Some of the material in here has been glanced or appropriated by other screenwriting books, but none do the in depth look like 'story' does.
'Story' can at time be a very mechanical read, simply because of the vast amounts of information he is delivering. The book is also (thankfully) not going to tell you where to find material to write about, or suggest what kind of material to develop. This book illuminates the conventions of screenwriting, so having a working knowledge of structure is a bonus in pushing you through the book. Regardless, the book can be inspiring and empowering, giving you insight into potential holes in your craft or literating concepts that are elusive.