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

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
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  • Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
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  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (Oct. 14 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865479937
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.2 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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. I'm looking forward to retooling something I'm working on right now to see how this changes my processes. Definitely worth the read. Very detailed, interactive, and with references to familiar stories.
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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Half way through and I can't believe how much it's already opened my eyes to all the techniques and possibilities on storytelling. No other book, workshop or classes etc has come close to what this author has to offer. John Truby is masterful at his craft. He explains it in detail with examples and much more. Mind blown, you gotta buy it if you want to expand your storytelling abilities. You have nothing to loose as I can promise you, you will learn something if not a lot of new things about becoming a master storyteller. He's not kidding! Buy buy buy...best money spent. Selling all other books purchased before this one. No need for another book on story telling unless John Truby comes out with a second book. If he does I'm throwing all my money at him haha (but seriously I will).
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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic resource, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in story structure. However, it's important for anyone considering the ebook to note that the ebook does not include the worksheets at the end of each chapter, which are a big part of the usefulness of the book. I highly recommend purchasing the physical book rather than the ebook.
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