Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters” as Want to Read:
Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The leap from concept to final draft is great, and the task is filled with hard work and horrors. It is here that most writers struggle to get the plot right at the expense of the story's real power. The result is a script that is logical in every way, yet
unmoving.  Emotional Structure, by Emmy- and Peabody-Award winning producer, writer, and teacher, Peter Dunne, is for t
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Linden Publishing (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Emotional Structure, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Emotional Structure

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  83 ratings  ·  14 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it
I'd recommend this book, with reservations, for novelists. It is aimed at screenwriters, and they'll likely see it differently, but the book is about two or three times longer than it needs to be, and much of that excess space is spent by the author talking about himself. The whole second half is a screenplay with some annotations, with some useful information about the three-act structure, but little about the emotional structure that was covered, often excellently and thoughtfully (although st ...more
Carolyn Jourdan
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read as many books about how to write as I can -- because I'm a writer, and writing is hard!
This is the best book I've come across so far for people who are deeply serious about putting good work out into the world. Although this book is written by a commercially successful writer, it is valuable for people who use their writing as a tool for self-development (learning wisdom and moral development). An amazing piece of work. [And I do not know this author, his family, or his friends in any way
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a read. Not only for his in-depth treatment of how to write the emotional story that underlies the work, but also for his insight regarding the reasons we write, and the importance of that writing, as well as how we write. Dunne inspires me to keep working on my craft, and also to keep hoping that that work will result, sooner rather than later but still, over time nonetheless, in a body of works that will inspire hope and greater will in others to make this world a better place.

This w
May 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
I learned the difference between plot and story from this book. It's aimed at screenwriters, but as a novelist, I found it inspiring. Thanks to the ideas I picked up from Peter Dunne, my characters are going to have more gripping personal stories.
Adam Heine
Jan 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I know it's stupid, but I almost couldn't get past the fact that Peter Dunne got Superman's city wrong, or that he berated the Terminator for not exploring the morality behind his murders (Arny was a robot, dude; lack of morality was part of the point).

While the guy's opinions on what is and is not good drove me nuts, he's got a solid formula here and reminded me of some very important things that I always forget when planning a novel. I would definitely recommend this book for writers, but if y
Lara Thompson
Nov 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The first half is interesting and informative, but the second half is a rehash of the first half mingled with a survey of just about every other scriptwriting book. For some reason, he includes huge swaths of a script he wrote that never got picked up. Felt like padding.
Graeme Roberts
Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This taught me a great deal about telling stories in any medium. His formula may constrict more experienced writers, but it helps me.
Susan Quinn
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Was recommended by a friend (author). I highly recommend this book for writers who would like to have a firmer grasp on the emotional arc of their characters.
Deborah Biancotti
Gave me a new way to think about storytelling, & made the most useful distinction between 'plot' and 'story' I've come across so far. Told in a conversational style (some have called it long-winded, but I enjoyed the sense of the author I got from reading this book), it's an easy but lengthy read - definitely not one for the eReader, as novelists may want to skim-read the annotated screenplay at the end. Will put this book on my high-rotation list. Dunne recommends writers to aim for the 'in ...more
Feb 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Sarai by: Amazon
Shelves: howto-research, dnf
This book is big, really big and although I have nothing wrong with big books that are meant for teaching and instructions this one was overkill. Small print, advice that has been given before. It helped but I had to dig around for it. And Lord do not sit down and read every single thing in this book or you will want to jump out a window.
This book is made for screen writers more then authors.
Adi Narayan Mandalemula
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me more confidence to proceed to write than any other book. It tells what most other books fear to tell because they themselves don't understand. The Emotional Structure of a story. If you don't understand this at least on your own, you are not a writer. Don't depend on your subconscious as it is. Analyze it and understand it and then use it.
Stina Lindenblatt
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I write novels not screen plays, but the info in the book is perfect for the novelist. And even though I hadn't planned on reading the script, I started to and couldn't put the book down after that. It was the best of both worlds: fiction and nonfiction.

It's not for all fiction writers, but it's great for romances and stories with two key characters (protagonist and co-protagonist).
David Leroy
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I keep returning to this book over and over again, as I start to structure my next work. I know it is for screenwriters, but I have found it amazingly useful writing novels, and stories. The principles are very simple, and powerful. That might be why I keep returning to this book.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it liked it
If Carolyn Jourdan recommends it, I'm reading it.
rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2012
rated it liked it
Nov 16, 2014
rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Oct 24, 2017
Tami Porter-jones
rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2013
Dean Donofrio
rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Apr 03, 2018
rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2017
Justin Black
rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2016
H.A. Fowler
rated it it was amazing
Dec 06, 2012
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2008
rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2012
Jason Dale
rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2011
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Power of Point of View: Make Your Story Come to Life
  • Psychology for Screenwriters
  • Breathing Life Into Your Characters: How to Give Your Characters Emotional & Psychological Depth
  • The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue & Vice for Box Office Success
  • Novelist's Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes
  • Scene & Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Dialogue (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • Making Shapely Fiction
  • How to Write Killer Fiction
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
  • Alone with All That Could Happen: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom about the Craft of Fiction
  • The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
  • The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer
  • Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing
See similar books…