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Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative
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Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  448 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
Hook Your Audience with Unforgettable Storytelling!

What do Luke Skywalker, John McClane, and a lonely dog on Ho'okipa Beach have in common?

Simply put, we care about them.

Great storytelling is making readers care about your characters, the choices they make, and what happens to them. It's making your audience feel the tension and emotion of a situation right alongside yo
Paperback, 232 pages
Published October 18th 2017 by Writer's Digest Books (first published October 17th 2017)
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Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
If you follow Chuck Wendig's TERRIBLEMINDS blog ( you'll know that his power lies in presenting information in easy to understand, fun to read ways with contemporary examples, a sense of humour, and not a little bad language. You learn with a smile. When it comes to writing, he makes you believe it's possible as long as you put in the effort: hard work, real thinking, and a determined attitude. Not that he promises success... but he helps you to believe that you ...more
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I Googled "Writing advice for fantasy novels" back in 2015 and I clicked on "" which is Chuck Wendig's blog. His humor and his advice were spot on. So I made regular trips to the blog and even entered a few Flash Fiction challenges. Eventually, I was curious as to how the guy actually writes! So I bought a stack of his books (the first three Miriam Black books and Zeroes)
I LOVE the Miriam Black Series SO HARD. One of my favorite book series ever!
This book, Damn Fine Story is my
Emma Sea
welp, it's a shame I accidentally ordered two copies of this in paperback, because I don't like it. It's an introductory primer on storycraft and will be an excellent first book for anyone starting their, well, first book, but it is not for me. It didn't help that Wendig's humor in here grated on me. I own and enjoyed all his other writing books, and I like his blog, but I think I just reached my breaking point with the schtick.

And now I have to find a home for my two copies.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
And with that, Chuck Wendig's Damn Fine Story becomes one of my favorite books on the craft and art of storytelling.

Wendig delivers the lessons of this book from the key perspective that writing rules are... malleable at the best of times. He does not try to tell us how we must write. Rather, he begins with simple questions that largely stem from the idea--what are we trying to achieve? From there, he provides an overview and discussion of some key strategies and tools available to storytellers
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review and others posted over at my blog.

This was actually the first book by Wendig I’ve read (I have read his blog before and need to do so more regularly because he’s fucking hilarious) and now I’m forever in love.

First up, if you haven’t done so yet, please read something – anything – by Chuck, even if it’s just his blog. His tone is what I aspire to convey and fall horribly short of. He’s sassy, sarcastic, vulgar, funny, feminist and inspiring. I’m a total schmuck for not reading his
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rock solid YMMV, for me. I haven't read any of Chuck Wendig's fiction, but he's one of my favourite writers on writing, okay, I find him very colourful and energetic, and practical, and reverent about the craft of it without getting too precious about it, very encouraging, very inclusive, I just really like his stuff on the subject, so much and quite a bit.

What really shucked my corn with this one was the near-total reliance on Star Wars and Die Hard to make his points. For one thing, it always
Terrance Shaw
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The poet Miya Angelou once remarked that people won’t necessarily remember what you said or how you said it, “but they will always remember how you made them feel.” The most memorable stories, Chuck Wendig insists, are the stories that make us feel. A good story can also make us think, and, quite possibly, entertain us along the way. But the way it makes us feel is paramount. This may well be why so many badly-written books routinely make it to the best-seller list: whatever we may think about a ...more
Scriptor Ignotus
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-craft
A fun and pragmatic guide for storytelling, delivered with a surfeit of anecdotes and offbeat humor.
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 18th October 2017

If you want writing advice, this isn’t a bad place to stop. If you want advice on how to put a story together, this is a great place to stop. It has all sorts of anecdotes and examples about how good stories are put together, and sometimes about how well-known stories fail (think The Phantom Menace et al). It works just the same whether you’re talking writing a book, a screenplay, or sometimes even a good joke. Oral storytellers
K.F. Silver
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: craft, non-fic
There is good information here about the art of storytelling, and will appeal to fans of Wendig's style and voice.

However, I feel there are books that present this same information better, as well as stick to the point and are more concise.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
This book climbed to one of my favorite books I have ever read... EVER read. That is huge. Chuck Wendig is now rubbing shoulders with Rowling and Tolkein on my shelf. I give it eleven HUGE thumbs up.

This is a writing book, a sculpted arch in teaching narrative, understanding it and molding it around any story you are telling. The way Wendig approached concepts was factual and candid, and completely relatable to any storytelling genre. He used several popular movie references as a guide to expla
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
When I read one of Wendig's books, it's not so much for the info (which is pretty standard book-about-writing fare) but because he has an irreverent voice and an obvious love of the craft.

Case in point: If you're looking for more than just writing basics, you're probably not going to find it here. What you DO find will be funny and interesting, though, so it's worth a read.

I definitely agree with other reviewers that it gets old seeing just about every point corroborated with either Star Wars or
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ugh, now I have to make room on the bookshelf that holds all my favorite writing books, because this certainly deserves space among them. It's a funny, fast-paced craft book about hooking an audience and ensuring they care about your characters.
Author Chuck Wendig uses pop culture favorites like "Die Hard" and "Star Wars" as cultural touchstones to illustrate his points, and well ... if you know me, you know I love me some "Die Hard."
That said, this book about crafting a compelling narrative is
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I loved this book. Honestly, it's worth it for the last story alone. I'm still laughing.

So. On the writer's continuum, I've written a novel and am querying. I've written short stories which have been published and paid me. I'd like to write more novels and more paying things, and this book reinforced lessons I knew and opened my brain to new ones. All while making me laugh, smile, or nod sagely. I learned. I was inspired. I want to write even better than before!

It was never dry. The pacing was g
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing_books
I’ve read dozens of writing books, taken ten years of workshops, classes, and MA programs, but the secret formula for story still eludes me. There’s not much in DAMN FINE STORY that is new to me, but Wendig does a remarkable job of pulling all the relevant threads together and gives plenty of ideas on how to orchestrate the roles played by plot, character, pacing, dialogue, and arcs, not to mention theme, metaphor, and symbolism. As a bonus, it’s laced with his inimitable humor and attitude and ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 50-books-2018
A lot of good information though uses the same movies as examples throughout, such as Star Wars and Die Hard (I saw the former when it came out, the latter - no thanks) mostly. Would have preferred more literary examples, but you’ll still get what he is trying to illustrate. Could have skipped the the family yarn he throws in at the end where he mentions that he shot a pet rooster. (Sorry, no patience from me for people who just knock off animals with guns because they can, even if he was a teen ...more
Ashley Capes
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heaps of fun, told in Chuck's distinctive voice.

I think I enjoyed the personal stories within most, which isn't to say the advice wasn't ace too. And again, I don't want to sound like I couldn't use the advice simply because I'd come across most of it before - on the contrary, this was really good reinforcement, definitely got me thinking!
Alison Diem
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction, writing
This is one of my favorite books on writing or storytelling ever. This, plus Stephen King's On Writing are the two books every writer should have on their shelves, preferably read many times over.

Wendig's voice is wonderful and funny, plus lots of lovely swearing, but he knows his stuff.
Katie Tillwick
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-writing
Excellent instructional on the weirdness of writing fiction of any sort. Not for the beginner - will make much more sense if you have some writing experience first, and are wondering why readers are telling you *yawn*. Highly comparable to Donald Maas’s ‘Writing the Breakout Novel.’
Madison Keller
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Amazing book on story telling. Stuck on your plot? Book boring? Characters listless? This is the book for you. Not a writing book per se, but a book on how to structure your story.

A must read for any author, comic book author, game master, or anyone else who wants to know how to tell an amazing story.
Searska GreyRaven
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Second only to Stephen King's "On Writing" for storytelling advice. Definitely worth reading.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Never wept during a non-fiction book before, so that's something off my bucket list. Now to pre-order THE NARRATIVE ANUS.
Newton Nitro
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-guides
Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative - Chuck Wendig | Um prático e divertido guia para escritores do autor da trilogia Aftermath de Star Wars! | NITROLEITURAS

Um guia muito divertido e bem direto ao ponto, escrito por um dos meus gurus, o Chuck Wendig!

Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative - Chuck Wendig | 232 páginas | Writer's Digest Books, 2017 | Lido de 20-07-18 a 23-07-18 | NITROLEITURAS


O que Luke Skywalker, John McClane do filme Duro de M
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Wendig's humor and his style. He shares lots of concrete advice for building suspense, especially through characterization. The book is about writing fiction, but it can be applied to any sort of writing. This was helpful to me in revising a memoir manuscript that needed a narrative arc.
Michael Pogach
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the most accessible writing narratives out there. It's right up there with King's On Writing and Bradbury's Zen and the Art of Writing, and I'm adding it to the reading list for my creative writing classes.
Rosemary Rey
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
One of the most helpful ways of learning about story is dissecting stories already out there. Even more helpful are stories that the majority of readers would have a basic knowledge of the storyline. Chuck Wendig's book, Damn Fine Story, is a great book on writing. He uses examples of films, such as Die Hard and Star Wars to illustrate his points. He also gives some family anecdotes that are really interesting. Be sure to read the footnotes when finishing each chapter because it's hilarious.
Jasmine Arch
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every penny is turned over twice and quite often bitten in two before it gets spent on renovations to our home. This means I have a very limited book budget and I spend a lot of time thinking long and hard before deciding to buy one.

However, I’ve been killing myself trying to work on my novel on top of my full time job and aforementioned renovation project for about 8 months now.

This often means foregoing sleep in favour of writing. Foregoing proper meals in favour of writing. Foregoing lunch br
Connie Jasperson
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Today I am discussing Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative, a book on writing craft, written by Chuck Wendig. Or should I say a book on storytelling craft? Wendig is famous for having written the New York Times bestseller, Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, and numerous other bestselling novels. He has also written numerous books on writing craft.

But First, THE BLURB:


What do Luke Skywalker, John M
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have a weakness for books about writing. Sometimes, I wonder if I like learning about the process more than actually, you know, writing. From Rachel Aaron’s 2,000 to 10,000 to Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art to John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, I’ve built a collection of – I don’t know if they’re exactly instructions but that’s what I’m going to call them – books of writing instruction. These examples are the ones that I most return to as I grin ...more
Theresa Braun
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whether you are a seasoned raconteur or want to ratchet up your game, get your paws on this book ASAP. Why? Well, for one, you’ll find out what’s up with the image on the cover, since it relates to one of Wendig’s many entertaining stories (while giving us tips on how to tell our own). Filled with side-splitting footnotes and asides, you won’t feel like you’re being schooled. Enriched with some Star Wars, Die Hard, and Princess Bride examples (among other universal favorites), Wendig puts concre ...more
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Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter's Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at th
“Put differently, a joke about Einstein only works if the person knows who Einstein was. (Note: Racist, sexist, and otherwise bigoted jokes use this in the worst way, playing off of not just shared understanding, but shared prejudices.) Context and familiarity matter, and they matter in the stories we tell, too—if people cannot relate, or cannot be made to relate to the characters or the setting or the situation, they’ll be left scratching their heads and saying the same damn thing: “I don’t get it.” Every joke has its audience, and you tell it to them. Every story has its audience, too.” 0 likes
“a joke needs to do its job. A joke needs to be funny. It’s great if it’s also thought provoking or somehow profound, but those are not the uttermost functions of a joke. A joke that’s not funny is not a joke. Now, a story is different in that a story doesn’t need to be funny. That said, a funny story needs to be funny. A sad story needs to be sad. An adventure or a thriller needs to be exciting, and a scary story needs to be (drumroll, please) scary. Going in and telling a story means knowing what the story needs to do, and then tweaking it to do that. Comedians don’t just blurt out hilarious shit all day. They aren’t joke robots. They craft their humor. They practice their bits on stage and in front of people; they tweak the timing, they change the silences and applause breaks, they fidget with word choice. And a story is like that, too. Sure, it sounds natural and spontaneous, like you’re just some erupting story volcano, but the truth is, stories are practiced entities. The best tales are those that have gone through countless drafts and countless retellings to get that precious bowl of bear porridge just right.” 0 likes
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