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4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  7,193 Ratings  ·  649 Reviews
The author's international screenwriting workshops have long won acclaim from celebrities, film industry professionals and enthusiastic students alike. In this guide, he presents his knowledge of the essentials of screenwriting and storytelling.
Published (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 15, 2008 A.J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
I think this is the first time where I read a book solely based off a scene in a movie. The scene can be found here:

Lines like, "You cannot have a protagonist without desire! It doesn't make sense! ANY. F****NG. SENSE!" and "WHY THE F*** WOULD YOU WASTE MY TWO PRECIOUS HOURS WITH YOUR MOVIE? I DON'T HAVE ANY USE FOR IT! ANY. BLOODY. USE FOR IT!" more or less had me drooling. For those of you who don't know anything about Robert McKee, he's the writing tea
Jun 19, 2008 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Josh by: Charlie Kaufman's twin brother
YES! It took me six months, but I finally, finished this bitch.

The reason it took me six months was that Story is incredibly dense, and in the best possible way. If you want to understand what makes for a good story, and how and why they work, this is the book to read. But you'll need to read it slow because this is the kind of dense where you'll want to stop and think about what you just read after every few pages to make sure it really sinks in.

Though oriented primarily towards screenwriting,
Aug 17, 2010 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a past life I did a professional writing degree for my undergraduate BA – half of which was in script writing. I wish we had been taught the stuff that is contained in this book. This is such a good book it is hard to praise it too highly. The advice is clear and all of it good. From avoiding adverbs and adjectives in your treatment to the psychology of interesting characters this book has many very important things to say to anyone thinking about writing a screenplay (or anything else, if yo ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Robert McKee is the famous Hollywood screenwriting teacher gently poked fun at in the movie "Adaptation." Though that film could leave one with the impression that McKee teaches formula storytelling, this book is about how good stories transcend formula to become great art.

McKee has a masterful understanding of the fundamentals of story itself, and he writes with clarity about the basic story tools every writer must develop in order to move beyond cliche and into something original. Using examp
Jerilyn Marler
As a freelance editor of any type of writing, I am always searching for insight, wisdom, guidance, illumination about the many forms of writing that cross my desk. I'd heard about McKee's "Story" but shied away because screenwriting is so far removed from my usual work. Or so I thought. I bought the digital version on a whim thinking that it might prove useful someday as a reference book. I was immediately hooked and read it straight through. Then I went back and highlighted many passages for fu ...more
Jun 22, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're a writer of drama or fiction, you need to master these rules before you consider breaking them.

I knew from an early age that I wanted to write stories, but it wasn't till I was about 17 that I learned that there are actual methods, principles, and techniques involved in storytelling, when I received as a gift a copy of The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri. Wow! What a revelation! I read it greedily.

Flash-forward to 1990. I was 31 and now had my own TV series, The Odyssey, in devel
May 30, 2008 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This is the text that went along with his three-day seminar that I attended. Although it is primarily focused on the screenplay, it is equally suitable for a novel, and there were quite a few novelists in attendance at the seminar. Although the focus is on traditional story structure—something McKee believes has become a lost art—his emphasis is so heavily on character, and writing from the inside out, that if well executed, a reader/viewer would not be consciously aware of the story's structure ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Pavel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cinema
The truth is that this whole concept of three acts and obligatory antagonist will make you unemployed screenwriter in 99,9% of cases. I know, I've witnessed it myself. In some ways the book is usefull, I think it gives pretty accurate analysis of turning points and different types of screenplays and genres, some other things maybe... But in general film bussiness has moved on from straight-forward "hero against something" concept, festival cinema and mass production for theatres and television a ...more
Oct 10, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-shelf, movies, writing
Why are there so many bad movies out there? I mean seriously - you and I both know that of all the films that are released every year, we probably get only one or two that are actually good. There's some that are good enough to spend an afternoon watching, maybe enjoyable enough that we'll want to watch it again on DVD later. But so many are just... bad.

It is my own fault, I think, for seeing Transformers 2. I have no one to blame but myself.

The really scary thing is that, in the summer of Trans
Ksenia Anske
Sep 23, 2016 Ksenia Anske rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is not a book. This is like a school in a book. A master's degree. The amount of notes I took got out of hand, so I decided to just outright buy it, to have it handy. The best parts are the scene analysis chapters, which are pretty much the same for novel writing and screenwriting. Seeing a scene broken down into manageable bits has made it clear for me how to rewrite my scenes to make them better. Because if I can't write excellent scenes, I can't write an excellent book, period. So glad I ...more
Ben Starling
Jan 30, 2015 Ben Starling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this book certainly covered all the topics one would hope for in a book on writing craft. It was a bit on the theoretical/academic side for me. I was looking for something that was more practical. But if you are looking for something theoretical/academic, then you would have your bases covered here. I will keep the book on my shelf, but for use more as a reference text. Still, solidly written throughout and I am happy with the purchase.
Adam Page
Jun 18, 2008 Adam Page rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: potential screenwriters
I can understand how this book would be good for potential screenwriters; in fact, that's who this book is for exactly. However, the book does get tedious and has a lot of personal bias involved (a tendency that spills over into McKee's seminar, unfortunately). There is no story in "Story," so unless you are gung-ho about becoming a Hollywood writer, stay away from this one.
Sep 03, 2016 Gaetano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buon libro, rivolto a chi cerca di avvicinarsi al mondo della sceneggiatura e della scrittura di storie in generale.

Praticamente un classico, nel suo genere, scritto da quel Robert McKee che ha fatto della formazione sull’argomento un vero e proprio business. Tra i suoi “alunni” ci sono decine di sceneggiatori che hanno fatto fortuna nell’industria cinematografica raccogliendo awards a tutto spiano.

Forse, mi chiedo un po’ malignamente, li avrebbero raccolti anche senza frequentare quei corsi in
May 08, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a long time I thought that this book was about how to write the kind of story that makes a best-seller, or a big Hollywood movie. But when McKee started talking (I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author) about the structure of Tender Mercies as his idea of a tightly plotted story, I had to revise that opinion. By the time I got a quarter through the book, I had to take the hardcover (which I also had bought at some time) and put it in the bag I'm taking on my writing retreat later ...more
Jan 14, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Write-O-Rama/Richard Hugo House
I discovered "Story" during a writing workshop last fall. Although the book focuses on the creation of screenplays, its principles are directly applicable writing the short story and novel.

McKee is an old school storyteller, which suits me to a "T". He insists that the writer respect the audience desire to be entertained, but intelligently and with integrity. He provides a classic structure of plot, progression, character development within one simple but profound concept: the protagonist has a
S. Baker
Jun 18, 2012 S. Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this twice and I've recently put the audio book (narrated by the man himself) on my iPod so I can exercise my thoughts while I drag my over-fed carcass around the landscape. When I first read it, I wanted to reject almost everything in it, but then I hadn't written a feature-length screenplay at that time. By the time I'd read it again I'd written one and half screenplays and was wondering why my brilliant outline wasn't currently turning itself into a masterpiece. That's when it start ...more
Jun 05, 2007 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those gearing up for script frenzy
as a newbie (and a scared newbie at that_ screenwriter, i thought i would give this a go before diving into script frenzy. i am very excited to approach this new challenge. the rules he presents you with are very reasuring to those of us who have little experience, but long-term writers may find them restrictive. either way, there is sure to be something thought-provoking in this book for the writer of any sort. at the very least i have to love someone who comes out and takes a stand in favor of ...more
Alex Ristea
Nov 16, 2013 Alex Ristea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
If you only ever read one book on writing, this should be it.

Even if you're not an author, STORY will deepen your understanding of novels and movies. What makes a good plot? What drives character motivations? How do you deal with audience expectations?

Telling stories is one of the most defining characteristics of being a human. Learns to do it well, and learn how to appreciate it, too.

I read a lot about writing, but nothing has ever blown me away like this. It has everything, and I plan to keep
K.M. Weiland
May 11, 2014 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe it's taken me so long to read this book. I expected more of the same: structure, story elements, character tips. And those are certainly there. But Story actually deserves its tremendously broad title, because that's exactly what this book is: a discussion of *story.* It's theory and practicality all wrapped up into one module. McKee presents ideas I've never seen elsewhere, backed up by solid example after solid example and all in an extremely engaging and absorbing way. This is ...more
M a y a
Jul 09, 2012 M a y a rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, non-fiction, own
My mind is officially blown!

Make no mistake: this bible to story-telling is dense and intensely analytical. The first time I tried reading it, I gave up. I think if I thought too much about these principles on a first draft, my creativity would shrivel up and die (though there's no unlearning it now).

Yet, to revise a novel, McKee offers incredible insight into pacing, story arc, characters, climactic scenes, and more. If something isn't working, you can probably find some tool here to help you t
Aug 31, 2013 Taisin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a great book, very interesting, very lucid. He talks about what works, what doesn't and why, about structure and ideas (I loved the term "Controlling Idea"), without ever imposing anything as a unbreakable rule. Greatly useful, and not only for the scriptwriters.

But the book has a very strange and weird flaw, somewhat undermining the reader's faith in author's analysis of examples. How difficult is it to get one of the most famous film scenes right? And yet, he constantly gets it wrong. I'm
Jan 30, 2015 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose, non-fiction
I like to write. Well, there’s an old adage that some authors use that says, “I hate to write… almost as much as I hate not writing.” That might fit me a bit better.

But the reason that I *hate* to write is because as I’m doing it, except for brief moments of insanity, I know that what I’m putting out there is going to need a lot of work before anyone seriously considers it good. Then it would probably be lots more work before I could convince anyone of literary merit, or of exacting standards,
En la introducción nos explica como este libro no hará a dejar de ver “el crear un guion” como algo complicado y comenzar a verlo como un reto creativo, pues da técnicas y recomendaciones de las cuales uno puede sacar provecho y utilizarlas con el fin de expresar correctamente nuestras ideas y plasmar nuestra creatividad.

Con cada una de las herramientas que proporciona el autor podemos desarrollar un guion a nuestro gusto, siguiendo la forma que es lo que convierte a un maestro para el guion y d
Mar 11, 2009 Monkey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of stories and movies
everything from robert mc kee "story" workshop but without the profanity! "story" offers a view of "good story, well told" and how it can be archived. aspiring screenwriters, playwrights, novelists, watercooler raconteurs or cinephile should have a copy or in their writing toolbox. if you can't afford spending 3 days at the feet of mc kee learning the art of story, this is the next best thing. (you'll miss the amazing 6 hour scene by scene analysis of casablanca, but, you won't have to sit in an ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Mike rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
McKee may be a great screenwriter, but I certainly hope his classes are less pompous and verbose than this book is. It's poorly edited, with too much preaching, and long lists of movie titles cited as examples of a particular point. Since the style is to use ALL QUOTES for titles, when he goes on for a third of a page it just gets annoying.
In his acknowledgements, he thanks someone for their omnivorous will to omit needless words - his wife. Obviously she was too close to it all to tell him to j
Jul 28, 2013 Gendou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I learned a lot from reading book. I got many of good ideas regarding my own experiments in writing fiction. I paused the audiobook, from time to time, to apply an idea to the various stories I'm juggling.

The author is very opinionated, and his whole "lazy writing threatens the art of writing screenplays" thing is a little hyperbolic. I like what he says about deus ex machina, though.

Sometimes he would use words in a way I'm not used to, like "value" and "charge". This is a textbook in the sense
Graeme Rodaughan
Sep 03, 2016 Graeme Rodaughan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-how-to
This is the most useful book in my writing library. I literally read and reread this book until I had absorbed it's messages into the marrow of my bones.

An endlessly valuable resource that informs the basic structures both large and small of the stories that I write.

Worth reading even if you have no ambition to write for the insights that it will give you into the nature of story and narrative.

Written to support the development of screenplays, but also completely adaptable to the Novel.
Walid jeve
- تنطلق القصة من تجربة إنسانية تغلف نفسها داخل تعبير فريد
- الوقت الذي تحتاجه لكتابة سيناريو بدء من الإلهام حتى المسودة الأخيرة قد يماثل الوقت الذى تحتاجه فى كتابة رواية
- حين يكتب الموهبون بشكل سيء فأن ذلك يرجع إلى سببين إما وجود فكرة مجبرون على إشباعها او يكونوا منساقين وراء عاطفة يريدون التعبير عنها
- ليست القصة هي ما يجب عليك أن تقول ولكن كيف تقول ايضا
- إذا لم تكن تعزف على كل الآلات فى اوركسترا القصة فلن يكون مهما ما تكونه الموسيقي في خيالك، فأنت محكوم بأن تدندن اللحن القديم نفسه
- نحن نحتا
While I've not read (or better said listened to) that many books on screenwriting, of the few that I have Story is by the best one yet. The others offered some interesting insights on the screenwriting process, but what differentiates Story from them is the fact that it goes into how to construct a story which is actually good, regardless of the medium. A must read for anyone interested in any form of creative writing.
Greg Z
Apr 30, 2016 Greg Z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
If you were a born story-teller, this book isn't for you. If you want to learn the basic rules of screenwriting, this is overly-long. But you need to know the basic format of screen-writing, and I will summarize for you. Three acts. Act 1: get your character up a tree. Act 2: throw rocks at him/her. Act 3: get your character out of the tree. I don't know if this comes from McKee or from many other classes/books I've read about screenwriting. Now, go out and buy yourself screenwriting software (y ...more
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What screenwriters can teach novelists 31 55 Aug 20, 2013 12:55PM  
  • The Art Of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives
  • The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script
  • The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
  • Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insiders Secrets from Hollywood's Top Writers
  • Making a Good Script Great
  • How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer
  • The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style
  • 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
Robert McKee began his show business career at age nine playing the title role in a community theatre production of MARTIN THE SHOEMAKER. He continued acting as a teenager in theatre productions in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Upon receiving the Evans Scholarship, he attended the University of Michigan and earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. While an undergraduate, he acted in ...more
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“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure - the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature.” 77 likes
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