Most helpful positive review
130 of 136 people found the following review helpful
Inspiration guaranteed, if you think you're hard enough!
on 7 January 2003
Putting pen to paper is not as simple as putting pen to paper. And this only becomes evident when you've read a book like this.
This book's inspiring. It's to the point. And - although written primarily for screen writers - it's invaluale for anyone who thinks they have a story in them.
If you're a keen writer like me, you may have sat yourself down at a computer with an idea, started writing, scratching your head and wondering whether it's good or not. Step up Robert McKee:
"When talented writers write badly it's generally for one of two reasons: either they're blinded by an idea that they feel compelled to prove, or they're driven by an emotion they need to express. When talented people write well, it's generally for this reason: they're moved by a desire to touch an audience."
I'm not saying I'm a 'talented writer', but this statement hit home. McKee states that "story is not what you have to say, but how you say it." Writing should be 75% story design and 25% words. This is one of many revelations.....of which there are many.
By reading a book like this you can not only put a structure to the words that come out of your head, you can learn more about why people need stories, why they work and why they don't. How do you keep your audience's attention all the way through, how do you build them up to a climax, how do you make sure characters and story elements aren't cliched, and how do you appeal to a wide audience? Each is discussed in satisfying detail.
The other nice thing aout the book is that McKee talks 'forms' rather than 'formulas'. He's not saying that we should stick to rules - resulting in cliches - but just observe why things work. The 450 odd pages are also peppered with film examples too, which helps.
Put simply, this book is invaluable to you if you're writing a story, or just interested in them. Be warned though, it is dense and somethimes daunting - you need to set aside a good couple of weeks. Like others reviewing here though, I'm going back for a second read to take notes. And considering this is something I didn't even do for school exams, it gives you an idea of how much I value McKee's inspiration.
If you want to make your writing something others want to read too, BUY NOW.