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The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller [Kindle Edition]

John Truby
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. The Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all of his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby's own unique approach for how to build an effective, multifaceted narrative. Truby's method for constructing a story is at once insightful and practical, focusing on the hero's moral and emotional growth. As a result, writers will dig deep within and explore their own values and worldviews in order to create an effective story. Writers will come away with an extremely precise set of tools to work with--specific, useful techniques to make the audience care about their characters, and that make their characters grow in meaningful ways. They will construct a surprising plot that is unique to their particular concept, and they will learn how to express a moral vision that can genuinely move an audience.

The foundations of story that Truby lays out are so fundamental they are applicable--and essential--to all writers, from novelists and short-story writers to journalists, memoirists, and writers of narrative non-fiction.

Product Description



"The Anatomy Of Story "is concrete and practical without resorting to simplistic 'Three Act Structure' screenwriting cliches. It will be an indispensable guide to writing your first great script. Then, the perfect survival manual to help you negotiate the often confusing, contradictory and cutthroat world of professional screenwriting." --Larry Wilson, co-writer /co-producer of BEETLEJUICE and co-writer of THE ADDAMS FAMILY "A veritable bible for screenwriters." -"Backstage" "If you're ready to graduate from the boy-meets-girl league of screenwriting, meet John Truby...[His lessons draw] epiphanies that make you see the contours of your psyche as sharply as your script." -"LA Weekly"

About the Author

John Truby is Hollywood’s premier story consultant and founder of Truby’s Writers Studio. He has worked as a story consultant and script doctor for Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, FOX, and HBO, among others, and has taught screenwriting to students worldwide.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 803 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0865479933
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (14 Oct. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052Z3M8A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,066 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A handbook for creating high quality stories 5 April 2008
What Truby has over other story gurus is his focus on creating GREAT stories - stories with emotional, moral and psychological depth.

He says: "A great story is not simply a sequence of events or surprises designed to entertain an audience. It is a sequence of actions, with moral implications and effects, designed to express a larger theme."

Many other story gurus merely concern themselves with story formulae or working methods. They help you put the standard story steps onto your pages. But Truby shows you how to pinpoint the MEANING of your story and how to design it into your story - premise, characters, plot.

If you want to improve as a screenwriter or novelist, and want to make your story mean something to an audience, read Truby.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 9 Nov. 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the hardback from Amazon when it came out last November - and I would highly recommend the paperback version now it's published. As the previous reviews here (and elsewhere) will testify, you either love Truby's 22-step paradigm or you hate it (and prefer to stick to the three-act structure propounded by Field, McKee et al). I happen to fall into the former category and agree with Truby's view that stories grow "organically", not dictated by a structure that's more appropriate to theatre than movies or novels. However, what makes Anatomy Of Story so good is the very clear and practical way in which he sets out and explains his principles in a logical pattern with many examples from a wide range of works, both movies and novels. He digs deep into the core of what makes not just a good story but one which "rises above the ordinary" - and this is the main character's change, his/her moral journey and self-realisation (which needs to be identified at the start of the story development process so you know what you are working towards). The book is a perfect companion to Truby's Blockbuster program.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here is what separates Truby from all others: 26 Aug. 2013
By toboto
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There is one crucial difference between Truby and the others:

Others have managed to put many of the main pieces of the storytelling puzzle together. This book puts them ALL together.

Here are some of those pieces: premise, theme, plot, character, arc, symbols, dialogue. Now, you may have just read those terms and thought to yourself 'yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm familiar with those words', but it's likely that you along with most theorists have fallen at the first hurdle of not defining each word so that they are able to function in sync with each other to form a perfectly connected whole. For me, 'theme' has the most enlightening definition...

That's why his model is definitive - it is the ONLY comprehensive model out there.

And here is the major piece that other models I've read are most vague about, and at which Truby truly exceeds: genres. Now, the genres aren't covered here (as they go beyond the scope and length of the book), but they each take the basic storytelling code covered here and then elaborate or twists certain 'beats' of the code to make that genre what it is, and are vital for your own originality (mainly through the gained awareness of what's derivative and why). It's like knowing the basic structural elements common to all buildings can allow you to create different types and variations of building. The 'beats' for each genre are sold separately - a good business decision by Truby - but if you are serious about seeing any film and understanding the full storytelling code, they are a must buy.

P.s. I have read virtually every criticism about the book, and am yet to find one that can't be easily rebutted. I would be more than willing to respond to any criticisms put forward or even about this review itself :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent alternative to other structure options 23 Mar. 2013
By Stu
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First a quick note about me: I'm a ghost writer by profession with more than thirty-five novels under my belt at this point, some of which have done quite well. I need to understand the craft of writing to do my job, and this is as good a starting place as any.

I first read this at university, when I was working on one of my first novels. I liked Truby's emphasis on using the strength of the premise to keep other story elements such as plot, character, setting and so on coherent. I still find his seven basic structure steps quite useful when I'm in a hurry and if you're looking to learn how to approach structure in a formal way, this is a clear, straightforward, reasonably practical guide that offers a valid alternative to options like the Hero's Journey approach.

In terms of voice and presentation, I generally like the book. Most of what is here is quite clear, and most of it makes a certain amount of sense. Seemingly inevitably in this kind of structure book, Truby suggests that his approach is the only one that 'really' works, which is one of my pet hates, since people can and do produce beautiful works with all kinds of different approaches. More than that, I don't think anyone can ever really claim they're giving you a magic paint by numbers set with which to produce Old Masters.

So there are the usual general warnings with this sort of thing. Remember that when writers like this analyse stories and find their own system at their heart, you could just as easily turn around and find several others. Remember that an analysis of great storytelling does not necessarily equate to a guarrantee that by following those steps you will produce great work. Remember that like all books in this genre, this one is necessarily general. And remember that you can overdo it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Will definitely make me a better writer. My next novel must be a...
This is a very well structured manual on how to create a story. Will definitely make me a better writer. My next novel must be a blockbuster! Can recommend.
Published 6 days ago by Ray Cantan
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful
Easy to understand
Published 1 month ago by Enlil
5.0 out of 5 stars There are some excellent, very succinct ebooks that begin you on the...
If you're going to buy a 'how to write books' book, this is the one you should buy. There are some excellent, very succinct ebooks that begin you on the 'how to' journey by... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hiatus
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent, really good at explaining how to structure stories with useful exercises.
Published 2 months ago by ScottyK
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic resource and easy to relate to.
found this a great resource, detailing the methods and giving examples that I was familiar with at every stage, it has helped me out on my curent project with with dialogue issues... Read more
Published 5 months ago by LawrenceMallinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it if you are serious!
This guy is a genius! It is a great book to read and practice
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Z. K
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
The opening section to this book was insightful, but I thought that it tended towards the vague as it developed its perspective. Read more
Published 11 months ago by S Smyth
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the lot
I return to this book every time I begin planning something new, then go back again to add new layers to the second, third fourth draft . Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sophia Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential roadmap for writers of every genre
Forget the three act structure, the inciting incident, the mid point and all the other mechanics or story structure we have come to regard as sacrosanct. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Soricco
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