|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Length: 419 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Writing
Start Date: Sometime in 2008-9
Finished Date: Sometime in 2008-9
Where Found: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: I loved Robert McKee’s cameo in Adaptation and his advice is cited from Story, a copy of which Nicolas Cage also reads in the movie.
Summary: A critical, structural reference guide to the art of writing with a focus on movies and necessary components, such as setting, genre, character, and conflict.
Everyone from your neighbour to your dentist is writing a screenplay. At least that’s how it seems with the taste of fame and fortune ever beckoning, despite the many Hollywood writers who still remain anonymous. Here’s a little quiz: Do any of these names sound familiar? Dustin Lance Black. Mark Boal. Tony Gilroy. Peter Morgan. Stephen Gaghan. These are just some of the most recent Oscar-nominated (or Oscar-winning) screenwriters. Your score out of 5 for recognition will tell you just how famous they are (and how knowledgeable you are).
If your ambition is to be a novelist or you want to know how a good writer makes his/her work come alive, this is the book. Even if you have no such ambitions, the most ardent readers will find McKee’s book, known as “the screenwriting bible” insightful, incredible, and inspiring. No topic of writing structure is left uncovered, from the conception of ideas to the building of plot, the development of characters, the strengthening of details—it’s all there and is thoroughly explored with plentiful examples (be aware that films are given precedence over books) as part of a single big idea: the story.
Robert McKee may be amongst the unfamiliar names given above, but his reputation as the foremost writing instructor and former USC professor of creative writing gives him clout in Tinseltown. He made a hilarious cameo appearance in Adaptation in which he offered Nicolas Cage (in a warped dual role as screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin, Donald) harsh, sober, and above all, honest advice about his story about flowers. Yup, that’s it. Flowers. McKee sure ripped into him about that. Who wouldn’t?
By the end of this book, I felt so confident in the multitude of strong, satisfying stories, both the existing titles and the ones yet to be written. It’s quite a feeling!
P.S. Expect some funny looks and long pauses in phone conversation when you give this title to a book seller ("I'm looking for a book called Story"). I experienced both :oD
Rank: (A+)- Excellent resource for writers!