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Story Engineering

Story Engineering [Kindle Edition]

Larry Brooks
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

What makes a good story or a screenplay great?

The vast majority of writers begin the storytelling process with only a partial understanding where to begin. Some labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are as dependent upon good engineering as they are artistry. But the truth is, unless you are master of the form, function and criteria of successful storytelling, sitting down and pounding out a first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin.

Story Engineering starts with the criteria and the architecture of storytelling, the engineering and design of a story--and uses it as the basis for narrative. The greatest potential of any story is found in the way six specific aspects of storytelling combine and empower each other on the page. When rendered artfully, they become a sum in excess of their parts.

You'll learn to wrap your head around the big pictures of storytelling at a professional level through a new approach that shows how to combine these six core competencies which include:

  • Four elemental competencies of concept, character, theme, and story structure (plot)
  • Two executional competencies of scene construction and writing voice
The true magic of storytelling happens when these six core competencies work together in perfect harmony. And the best part? Anyone can do it!

About the Author

Larry Brooks is a critically acclaimed best-selling author of six psychological thrillers, in addition to his work as a freelance writer and writing instructor. He is the creator and editor of, one of the leading instructional writing sites online.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 782 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1582979987
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1 edition (27 Jan 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J35J8W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,615 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great theory, great book, but... 8 April 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great book and it gives you all the background in depth knowledge to understand how a story works. With this book you will understand how to make your novel better, and how to make it work. You will also learn how to analyse your novel. I really wish I had this when writing my book Call me Aphrodite, although of course, it turned out brilliant anyway :).
I would rank this alongside Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by McKee, Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Vogler and The Story Book: A Writer's Guide to Story Development, Principles, Problem-solving and Marketing by Baboulene as essentials to really understand the mechanics of stories and why some work and some don't.
You want to know about the "but" in my review title. The first few chapters are devoted to selling the theory. I've bought the book Larry I don't need to be sold the theory again and again. Get to the point. That's my only gripe in what is otherwise an excellent book.
I love the book and reading it has definitely improved my knowledge of how to write but I wish an editor had cut out the first few chapters. Persevere past them and you will get to the good stuff.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to publish a killer story? Read this book. 15 Mar 2012
Finally, a guide that makes it CLEAR how to lay out a novel and how to plan without having a brain aneurysm (I'm actually going to be a planner and it isn't scary anymore!). I don't know how he has made the process seem so straight-forward, but he has. Don't get me wrong, I've got many weeks ahead of me in re-structuring my manuscript (MS), but now I look forward to it! He's cut down my stress significantly and narrowed the time it would have taken me to fix up my MS.

Larry drills in his "6 Core Competencies", which are concept, character, theme, story structure, writing voice, and scene execution. Yep, he drilled it in so well that I remembered all six right then. He doesn't patronise you, but drills in the concepts in the same way a coach would for an athlete training for the Olympics. His writing is very symbolic, allowing readers to fully understand (visualise) everything.

If you want to publish your manuscript, buy this book or else you won't have a chance. A "must" resource for novelists and screenwriters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The First Chapter was Enough.. 4 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
My friends gave me this book as i am interesting in learning more about plot and developing scene sequences to enhance my short stories.
In all honesty, after reading the first chapter on 'Concept' i had to stop reading it because i don't know what he is talking about. According to Mr brooks, a 'Premise' is a concept that has brought a character into the mix. A Premise is a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn for example, "Great love defies death" (Romeo and Juliet), Jealously destroys itself and the object of its love (Othello) are Premises. According to Larry Brooks, a Premise is going to the Zoo and taking your estranged father with you...Oh just to add more salt into the wounds, Brooks seems to think that 'Theme' is the essence of what a story 'means'. Sounds fancy doesn't it? However, Theme is the subject matter, the topic to which you choose to discuss within your story. Mr Brooks seems to think, no other method barr his own will ever work. I don't think so. If you can get your hands on a copy of 'Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction' or Nancy Kress' 'Beginning Middles and Ends' and 'Dynamic Characters' then you are in good hands. If you are approaching the craft of writing for the first time, stay away from this book. It seems Mr Brooks is aiming his book at the ignorance of new comers. Anyone with a good knowledge of literary devices will be able to see straight through it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book for the aspiring novelist. 16 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is great read for the aspiring novelist. It offers advice on all the usual components, character, premise etc... however the best advice and the one I was most interested in, was the structure of story. It has really helped me to see the woods for the trees as regards the plotting of my novel. Even if you feel you have instinctively picked up ideas for story structure through reading, this book will underline, emphasize and inspire you to a better understanding of the subject and what's more it may save you a great deal of time rewriting.
My only niggle is that the author tends to reiterate a little too much and uses far to many analogies. I often found myself willing him to just get on with it.

The book arrived arrived in great condition although did take a while to arrive but all in all a good service.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative but... 23 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent read but I think the author could have made his point in half the number of pages. There is a lot of padding. If you want to read this, feel free to skip the first few chapters you won't miss anything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great content, but... 28 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the book, and I love the content. Its great, it has changed the way I think about writing.

But I don't like the way its written. I would cut more than half the book and leave only the usual content. It's annoying to read in every page that Larry's way is the only way to be published. You don't need to convince nobody, the content speak for itself!

I would definitely give this book a 5 stars, but it could be a lot better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but as someone who tends to just ...
Excellent book, but as someone who tends to just write, his constant criticism of writers who do not plan their entire novel in advance gets a bit wearing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tasha
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I wish I had come across this before I commenced work on my first novel. Read Learn and Inwardly digest this book - it will save much angst later on.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. Joiy Heyes
5.0 out of 5 stars How to write a best seller.
Still only two thirds of the way through, but I reckon this could be the book that really gets my writing career going. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Trekian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I bought this book as it was recommended by a few "creative writing" bloggers I follow. I don't regret the purchase. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chymeera
4.0 out of 5 stars Constructive
A good explanation of how to construct a novel. Very informative and helpful. A little verbose in places; hence the 4 and not a 5.
Published 8 months ago by MR
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford is a pair of loafers
I resisted buying this because when i downloaded a sample i didn't like it. The other reviews, and the fact that he writes thrillers finally pushed me into a purchase. Read more
Published 8 months ago by clive
5.0 out of 5 stars So that's how you do it!
Writing a novel is like driving a car. At first it seems impossible until you learn how clutch, gears, mirrors and accelerator pedal all work in unison. Read more
Published 8 months ago by A. C. F. Guile
5.0 out of 5 stars Good teachings brought in the raw
Aside from 50 starting pages of BLAH and repetition (read the first ten pages, skip the next forty or so till you get to the first competency) this is one of my go-to books because... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pil
5.0 out of 5 stars A book on the formula of creative writing
Don't think you need a formula? Buy this book - it will prove you wrong. Brooks' dissection of the writing craft is brilliant as he demonstrates how successful novels and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Daniel Griffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant so far
This is penetrating stuff that really makes your brain work hard. Just what the doctor ordered. Only in the first few chapters yet and already I can see how it will improve my WIP.
Published 12 months ago by Ms. K. Morgan
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