The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most ...more
That said, the book definitely assumes the reader is writing a story of their own. There's a lot of "consider if anything on this list applies to your story." The parts on world-building and symbols might be less interesting to non-writers.
There's a YouTube channel I adore called Lessons from the Screenplay, which is basically the video version of the book. I suggest watching a couple of these, and if you want to learn more, go ahead and read the book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0kn...(less)
For the rest of us, there is this book, which walks us through things like the steps that every story needs to have in ...more
No doubt the steady appetite for books pushing writing to formula motivated the misleading subtitle of The Anatomy of Story. But there is no 22 step ...more
The book breaks stories down to seven basic steps:
1. Problem/Need - The problem is what the character is dealing with as the story opens. The need comes from the character's weaknesses. The weakness is something that is ruining the character's life. The need comes out of the weakness. The weakness/need is the wellspring of the story.
2. De ...more
It's a how-to guide basically, for people who want to be writers (particularly screenwriters). There was lots of good advice and insight. The pages are littered with story breakdowns, concepts, and techniques. It dug right into the meat of the matter of storytelling, but to be honest 'Anatomy of a Story' really did come off like little more than an autopsy at some points.
And that's ...more
Well, maybe I exaggerate. I didn't agree with Truby's contention that three (or four, or five) act plot structure, containing three plot points on which to hang the story, was artificial and useless. I'll stand by it; it was good enough for Shakespeare and it's good enough for me, and it helps with pacing. However, apart from the occasional minor niggle, I thought this book was absol ...more
I never do the homework or learning exercises in any book, but I did the ones in this book, slowly digesting the information, working though it and applying it to my WIP.
The key concept in this book is to dig into your characters and their flaws and desires to realize a plot that organically grows out of them rather than ...more
Some key things are, though. Truby's instruction to come up with a designing principle is very important, but he can't for the life of him nail down what a designing principle is. He starts wit ...more
Okay, I'm a little further along. Wh ...more
a) don't need
b) are already doing
I particularly love the work of Truby on the premise and the importance of having a clear roadmap of who's who and what's going on prior to writing, but when it comes to the meatier part of storytelling, he doesn't say much and gives countless examples instead. Which is fine, I mean, there's no secret recipe of becoming a great author outside of studying the master ...more
This book walks writers through the essential steps and items absolutely necessary in a story. From psychological need to moral weakness to a character's ghost and a hero's goal, it helpfully breaks down all the components you need. What truly sets it apart is the ...more
This is arguably one of the only books necessary for learning the art of Storytelling. John Truby begins this book by simultaneously praising and denouncing Aristotle's Poetics. He mentions that Aristotle perpetuates vague terms like "rising action" or "climax." In actuality, this makes it difficult for writers to apply. This kind of theorizing leaves little impact or support for those who are actually attempting to write. Along those lines, this theorizing tends to be streamlined while teaching...more
This is very readable, but it doesn’t offer anything new. The 22 steps (which at one point he admits could be less or more) are supposed to replace the old three-act approach, which they do, to a point. However, the steps themselves are written up in several other books I have on writing that I already have on my shelves, and quite honestly, I can’t see Mr Truby actually using them in working through the sheer slog of writing a nov ...more
While I don’t think it’s necessary to earn a degree in the arts in order to be a creator, I do think it’s important to study the craft a little. I haven’t read a writing book since college (probably twelve years ago), and I found this book to be incredibly helpful. Truby’s method has you dig deep into your story, making you think a lot about characters and motivation in order to have a solid foundation for what you’re going to write.
Some of the steps were very repetitious, so ...more
He didn't say nothing. I ap ...more
Like most writers of writing books, John Truby hasn't really achieved any of the ...more
It took me far longer to read "The Anatomy of Story" than I thought it would and, now I'm through it, I'm struggling to lay out my thoughts.
Ultimately, is this a useful book for storytellers? Undoubtedly. But is it a clear and engaging experience? I'd argue that it's not. A great chunk of this book is made up of examples from novels and scripts. At times this is obviously necessary to illustrate techniques. Yet Truby often fails to full ...more
Thus starts 400 pages of practical tips on how to structure and design a great story. The book can't possibly have every last bit of advice on how to write a screenplay, but this is by far the best foundational text I've seen out there. I have not read "Save the Cat!" but I've read McKee's "Story," and I ...more
Still, a worthwhile read that has given me food for thought about theme and scene weaving. Not a book I would recommend to new writers though, as it is dense and tends to compare/critique other popular and well-establi ...more