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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Sub-titling this book "A Writer's Guide" is spot on and, being a writer, a creative writing degree graduate and an avid reader, I think it is this and so much more. For many Mckee's "Story" has been the bible for screenwriters and those interested in crafting a compelling story, though like many 'bibles' it can be heavy going at times. Having read through Baboulene's book twice in as many weeks I found that 'The Story Book' is far more accessible with lessons, tips and ideas that are instantly applicable to the journeyman writer.

Baboulene quickly covers the essential ground but then digs into the nuances that I feel allow you to really tell (and sell) a story: driving narrative with subtext and the power of privilege. His innovative use of a well known film throughout the book gives an interesting structure and a great frame of reference to the ideas, techniques and narrative theories put forward. Personally I think it is this coupling of narrative idea with an established and very successful film that gives the book it's edge. Theory observed in action is so much easier to understand, especially when dealing with the subtleties and slipperiness of language.

This is a book about crafting the tale, about fleshing out character based narrative to the point where the story is compelling, absorbing and ultimately very satisfying. From the lessons learned in these pages my redrafts have liberated my characters to the point where their stories now leap from the page to page and scene to scene. I strongly recommend this to anyone working on their story craft in general or a current screenplay or novel.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2011
I purchased this on kindle and have to say it is one of the best books ever written on the subject. Ever. And I have read quite a few. I mean forget the reasonable price, this would still be worth buying if it cost £15.99. The author is not just a knowledgable writer but an effective teacher. The way subjects are broken down and explained really opens your eyes to all kinds of hidden depths involved in crafting a work of fiction.

Inside you will find a deep understanding of many different aspects of story building, with the kind of insight and analysis that a psychologist would bring to the subject. However, the book is not difficult reading. There are basic premises that are analyzed in great detail and complex thoroughness, and then very difficult aspects of storytelling that the author translates into easy, manageable concepts that will improve the way you both write fiction and understand it.

For anyone looking to learn the art of storytelling this book cannot afford to be missed. And for the ridiculously fair price - it's a brainy no-brainer.....Buy it.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2011
I have been on many creative writing courses and read several good texts on the subject. This book is outstanding. It is written in engaging style with real depth of story analysis. I particularly liked the practical examples throughout the book drawing the key points from literature and film. If you feel uncertain as to how to develop your story to its best potential the answers are here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2011
Having started several projects but literally lost the plot in every case I realised that I lacked the skills (craft if you prefer) to keep a story on track. Some bits worked and others didn't and I couldn't see what the difference was. I lacked the skill of story telling and went in search of a guru.

This was the fourth book I'd read on the subject and I was beginning to feel like, maybe, I just wasn't cut out for this story telling lark. This book changed all that. David uses one consistent and well known example (Back to the Future) throughout the book. In my opinion this gives it an edge over Robert McKee's "Story" which uses many different examples, many of which were unfamiliar to me.

The book is really easy to grasp with very clear examples, including a few diagrams and pictures to illustrate the more complex concepts. It starts at the basics of how and why stories appeal to humans and makes a compelling argument for the fact that story is a vital mechanism in the emergence of human society. This may seem abstruse, even irrelevant but it's not. It is widely agreed that phonetic written languages developed independently in Mesopotamia (3200 BCE) and Mesoamerica (600 BCE) which makes a strong argument that story telling to pass information (and emotion) and make plans for future activity was an evolutionary imperative. But I digress.

Step-by-step David walks you through the structure of story. Critically though he is very clear that structure should be used more as a diagnostic tool than a means of "producing" the story. He covers the usual subjects of scenes, sequences, acts, inciting incidents and turning points. It's all here, but somehow in a more cohesive, more layered form which builds on it's foundations adding complexity until the whole thing is spread out before you.

The book concludes with a series of fascinating interviews with people as diverse as Mark Williams and Lee Child. I was absolutely blown away by how far this book brought on my understanding and I now feel equipped to return to all my partially finished works with renewed optimism and massively increased confidence that I can now finish what I started.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2012
I've read a few - from Stephen King to free kindle downloads; I've read blog posts by successful writers and checked out documentaries on other successful writers. When you have a passion for writing but find yourself procrastinating, reading about writing comes as a lame substitute...! ;D Anyway, yes... Baboulene goes into detail about what a story is, why people connect with them, what makes them good, and ultimately gets you thinking very closely about laying down strong foundations for character, plot, pacing - among other things.

The examples he gives to illustrate each point are easily followed and certainly I was very amused by the very personable style of narration. Though the first part of the book (going into fundamentals of story etc) may be academic, it's actually what made this book so successful in getting the information into my head. I think for some people informality does the trick, but if you're like me and like method, like theory and like structure, then this book will deliver in buckets.

If you're fortunate enough to own a kindle, download the kindle version and read at your own liesure. For the price, it really is invaluable.

Highly recommended, and extremely grateful to Mr Baboulene for putting it out there.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2011
This honestly has had a big impact on my own writing. I have all kinds of higher education qualifications as a writer, but no course I've ever taken has ever gone into the philosophy of WHY we write, what we aim to achieve, and what people expect when they read. I read an article by David Baboulene in Writing Magazine which was very enlightening and referred to this book. So I just had to get the book... both the Kindle version AND the printed version. My whole approach has been re-set. Thank you David, if you ever read this review.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm through the fog. All those years, and other books, trying to find the 'formula', and 'Eureka!', here it is.
An excellent book cutting through the dross and stating in simple terms (why use ten words to pad the book out when one will do) exactly what all new writers, and struggling writers have been searching for, and wanted to know for years.
Inciting moment, key question, sub-text (you really do not understand 'sub-text' until you've read this book) and every other explanation and secret you were looking for. If you've got a story in mind, believe me,you need this book. If you're wondering why you haven't been published yet, and you've got a good story, all you probably need are the methods, and pointers, shown in this book.
One criticism. The diagrams do not come through very clearly on Kindle, but the text explaining the diagrams comes through loud and clear, so why the need for diagrams anyway? AN EXCELLENT BOOK, and that's from a confirmed cynic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2012
As writing books go, there's nothing here that is earth-shattering or new but it is fairly extensive. The tone is quite fresh being written by a Brit with some experience in getting published. So it is quite nice to see a reference to a "Sussex housewife" rather than a soccer mom!
He doesn't claim to offer anything that you've not seen before but does have quite a practical and no-nonsense approach. This book is definitely more for those that want aid in actually writing rather than just theory that they can impress their (also non-acheiving) writer friends. There are a few good tools that can be used to improve your writing and a fair share of nuggets to get you thinking about your story.
There are many film examples used in the book, the main one being Back to the Future. I like the film and agree it is a good story but if you don't then you may find the references not as worthwhile.
My main bug-bear is that I bought this book for great value on Kindle but it has no Table of Contents or ability to jump to page which makes reference a bit awkward.
Otherwise, a useful tool for the armoury, especially if you get it at the discount price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2012
Thankfully, this book doesn't try to tell you how to write a bestseller or give you shortcuts that will enable you to write a script or manuscript in ten days. What it does so well is give you the tools to harness your creativity and develop a greater understanding of the mechanics of story. I found it an incredibly helpful and interesting read filled with advice from successful writers and industry professionals. Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2011
This is an excellent guide that shows how to make stories work. I have read a lot of books trying to understand how to improve my own writing and I love this book because the theories are intuitive and they seem right. In my humble opinion this book ranks alongside Rober McKee's Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting and Christopher Vogler's Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers as books everyone interested in story theory should own.
I wish I had this book when I wrote my first novel Call me Aphrodite then I might have understood more of what I was trying to do. Still, who knows?
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