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on 24 June 2013
This book is a confidence builder. It's about as complete a text as possible on what it means to be a writer, and what demands that makes of the individual.

There's no doubting the author's credentials, he is one of the heavyweights of Hollywood. He pulls no punches in pointing out the many (in his eyes) flaws in modern screenwriting. Some of the concepts are a bit hard to follow, but hey it's a book you can always re-read when it comes to preparing your masterworks.

My only niggle with the book is he does cite the French New Wave - Brunuel, Godard as well as Ingmar Bergman an awful lot. The only American writer who gets a look in is Robert Towne. Perhaps McKee doesn't rate any of the Scorseses or Spielbergs but it would have been good to at least get his take on their (immensley successful) approaches to story.

Despite all the self-analysis, smashing of preconceptions, and an awful lot of honest (are you sure you can do this?) talk, McKee has crafted a text that spurs the budding writer on. It builds confidence by presenting the tools, saying 'Look, this works' and then setting you free. His parting message is to be courageous. Something that I have learned and will be putting into practice today, and everyday from now on.
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on 10 June 2017
Simply, numero uno... for screenplay writers, stage dramatists, and novelists, too - even though this is not aimed at novelists. This book offers no easy solutions; but it tells it how it is, and in full. It's honest, profound, pragmatic, and the real deal. Forget every other 'how to' book. This is the one you need if you want to learn the craft.
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on 20 August 2015
I attended Mr McKee's seminar at University of Westminster back in 2008. He was in his 80s then but spoke for 12 hours a day to a large audience who hung on every word. This book isn't really about screenplay writing and storytelling, its about the human spirit and human nature and the human condition (the same thing the author might argue). Its simply a great book to read with phrases you will want to read again and again and memorise because of their depth and resonance. Mr McKee is a bit of a purist when it comes to the craft of screenplay writing, however this book remains the benchmark as far as I am concerned.
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VINE VOICEon 16 May 2017
Masterful writing and essential reading for anyone at all interested in film, screenwriting, narrative or storytelling
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on 27 November 2017
A wonderful, insightful book on storytelling. Would suggest it to anyone interested in narrative, not just scriptwriting, as it does give precious tips. Bought second hand but it was barely noticeable, basically new except for some smudged corners
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 November 2016
This book was recommended to me by a Hollywood actor friend who starred in the popular tv series 'Prison Break'. Definitely, one of the best books for all aspiring writers to help hone their craft.
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on 3 January 2014
Though I found McKee is somewhat laboured, he builds up his concepts and structures piece by piece in a clear fashion. It complements Vogler's Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by presenting very similar concepts and structure using different and significantly more precise terminology. Throughout, his use of examples and illustrative analyses helps enormously to ground his ideas in delivered films. Further, his chapters on development method and formatting will undoubtedly be useful for those who have not seen such guides elsewhere.

Overall, a comprehensive guide that really should be sitting on any emerging screenwriter's 'to-hand' bookshelf.
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on 30 October 2010
There are lots of things to like and some real insights that could improve your writing.
It can be a bit repetitive. Some of the advice might discourage you as he can be too much of a perfectionist. As he hasn't had much of his own word produced I think that is easy to demand perfection from others. I found it more useful to see it as a work of analysis and criticism rather than as a how-to guide.
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on 12 February 2015
I bought this on recommendation from my house mate as guidance to help with my various computer game ideas, informative, easy read to help get a good storyline together. This has really helped me put together, hopefully, enduring game storylines that will fully engage the players.
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on 14 November 2013
I am a novice writer who had rewritten her novel many times and got completely stuck. I approached this How To book thinking, another load of overblown American rubbish. I was so wrong. It is pure gold, a handbook which allows you to go through your text chapter by chapter and work out where you have gone wrong. Every would-be creative writer should read it.
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