Far more than Writers: “Story” by Robert McKee

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Many years ago, I almost signed on for Robert McKee’s Story Structure workshop in London – tempted by the testimonial from John Cleese, who attributed his good results in producing the Fawlty Towers scripts to what he discovered from this workshop. But I saw it was primarily for screenwriters, and chose to pass on it.



I have considering that recognised that story structure is universal, and applies not only to screenwriters, but also novelists. When I identified this book in Waterstones Piccadilly, the inner voice stated “Buy it!” And I obeyed. Obtaining absorbed all that McKee has to say about story, and festooned the book with post-it notes, I think that returning to the book from time to time will reward the writer, in particular when your 1st draft is comprehensive, and you happen to be about to begin operating on the second draft of your WIP.

Story saturates our lives, by means of books, plays, the theatre, Television and radio drama, and films and we all respond to story instinctively. And but if we had been asked to clarify why we respond as we do, and why one thing operates or not, a lot of of us would fall silent.


But Robert McKee does clarify. One particular issue that has lengthy mystified me is: “How is it that we are happy by a story exactly where the protagonist does not attain his wish?” McKee replies that “the flood of insight that pours from the gap delivers the hoped-for emotion, but in a way we could in no way have foreseen.” He illustrates his points with a lot of references to popular films.


 “Story” is a demanding study dense and in some cases even overwhelming. But its author acknowledges this at the finish: “You have pursued “Story” to its final chapter and, with this step, taken your profession in a path a lot of writers fear… I know that when confronted with a rush of insights even the most seasoned writer can be knocked off stride.”


I hope for these of us operating on our books that, getting studied thoughtfully, as we “follow the quest for stories told with which means and beauty,” we also may possibly “write boldly” and create stories that “will dazzle the globe.”

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