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am 7. Januar 2013
This book is by no means perfect - but its still one of the best (maybe THE best) about the topic of "story".
WHY IT ISN'T PERFECT:
1) The book starts with pages and pages of facts and theory that are quite obvious. You read page after page and say "Yes, he's right, that's true", and it is, but its meaningless. Even if this is the first time in your life you think about "story". But if you continue reading, the pages start bearing more significance. Would have been better with just 200 pages instead of 400.
2) Although the book has the word "structure" in its title, the books own structure is horrible, if not completely absent. If you really want to "work" with the book, its probably a good idea to write down the essence of the book in short notes and give them your own structure afterwards.
3) McKee is very dogmatic. Obviously he has an incredible (philosophical) knowledge about the topic. Enough to make him a story guru in my opinion. But dogmatic statements are never a good idea. And with some statements I think, he's wrong. But honestly that doesn't really matter, because ...
WHY IT'S STILL THE BEST BOOK ABOUT STORY:
1) ... Even if McKee might be wrong with some of his claims (in my opinion), the great achievement is, that without McKee pointing out some aspects, I had never given them a single thought. So no matter if you share all of his opinions or not - while reading his book, you start to think about "story" in a new and different way. That's brilliant. And even if you contradict - you almost certainly learned something new and valuable. But the point is: don't just shovel the pages into your brain like a bowl of Kellogg's Frosties. Think, criticize and question everything. Make your own mind! This book teaches you how to walk and stand on your own two feet. But like any good father who teaches you to follow into his footsteps, in order to become a real successor, first the father has to die.
2) McKee covers every aspect of "story" there is. If you re-structure the book a bit, it will you provide you with an in-depth "how-to" instruction. And its a great tool to analyze your or other stories.
3) The book is mainly about blockbusters. Big Hollywood movies. Its not about "how stories work" but about "how Hollywood movies work". At first this might look like a flaw. Especially if you're bored of the Hollywood story telling style. But actually its not a flaw but a very good thing: You learn how and why these blockbusters work and you learn why and when they bore you. I you want to write an intelligent, individual avantgarde story there is no "how to" instruction anyway (or it would be pointless). You have to do this by yourself. But you have to know and understand the conventions of your craft first. Its like painting. You have to learn to paint photo-realistic before you can successfully do abstract art (have a look at Picasso and van Gogh and their early work). Which means: If you do not want to write a Hollywood blockbuster - read this book and learn what you have to avoid (or to include).
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am 16. Juli 2000
Whether you're writing a screenplay, a children's story, or a literary work of art, the lessons in this book challenge you, as a writer, to push the limits. This book doesn't necessarily give you ideas, but assists you in determining how best to execute them. Story is a thick book and takes some time to get through, but well worth it!
Story has been an invaluable reference to me, because it identifies the more elusive components that distinguish quality stories from ho-hum. I've only had this book a year and already have a few frayed pages from continual use.
For me, this book makes me think bigger, and drives me to reach for extraordinary ideas that work! Well worth the hardcover price, since you'll be using it for a long time. My work continues to improve as a result of reading this book and regularly using it as a resource.
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am 6. Mai 2002
Ich kann nur sagen: McKee hat mit seinem Buch die Wissenschaft des Geschichtenerzählens erklärt. Wenn man "Story" Kapitel für Kapitel liest, stellt man fest, dass man eine Geschichte bzw. ein Drehbuch, an welchem man arbeitet, um sovieles verbesseren und erweiteren kann. McKee setzt dabei nicht auf abstrakte Anweisungen wie "Motivation ist das wichtigste für eine gute Figur" oder "Suchen Sie nach Konflikten", sondern gibt praktische Tipps und anwendbare Hinweise, die er anhand zahlreicher Filmbeispiele erläutert, so dass man sie auch wirklich direkt versteht und umsetzen kann.
McKee hat mir gezeigt, wie man eine Geschichte nicht nur konstruiert, sondern auch mit Leben und Dramatik füllt, so dass sie wirklich funktioniert, und seinen wichtigsten Test besteht(der wird hier aber nicht verraten).
Neben Christopher Voglers "Odyssee eines Drehbuchschreibers" (The Writer's Journey) ist "Story" meine zweite Bibel, was das Drehbuchschreiben angeht.
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am 1. Februar 2000
STORY, while ultimately a screenwriting guide, focuses enough on building a compelling character-driven tale that I recommend it to anyone out there who is writing fiction as well, especially novels. Much of the book will startle you with its clarity and insight. Take for example the importance of the Inciting Incident, that moment in the story where the protagonist is thrown into action. While not necessarily a new idea, McKee's presentation and discussion of this and other story components is impressive. Although the book does at times dip into detail on structure that becomes overwhelming, it's a nice tool to add to the library. Like any good "how-to" book it's best when savored for its resonating nuggets and used as a jumping-off point for finding your own way.
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am 10. Dezember 1997
Unlike many "screenwriting consultants" currently marketing their snake oil to the masses, McKee offers no simple solutions or ten quick steps to success. He knows there aren't any.
Instead, he discusses exactly what his title implies: Story. There are meaty, richly detailed insights into everything from why stories are important to civilizations, to insightful chapters on story structure -- beat by beat, scene by scene, and act by act. No formulas. No gimmicks. Just a solid foundation for a lot of hard work.
Taking a no-nonsense approach that reads like a breath of fresh air, McKee patiently lays out what it takes to make a good story. Just as important, he explains what a "good story" really means. Numerous examples from films past and present are used in an illuminating and thought-provoking manner.
Don't look for spicy but empty chapters entitled "How to Get an Agent" or "How to Sell Your Script" here -- this is the real meat and potatoes, the essence of good screenwriting conveyed in a way that you can return to again and again, picking up something new each time.
Finally, someone decided we all needed to worry a little less about how to sell a screenplay. Instead, we should learn what it takes to make a screenplay worth selling -- and watching. "Story" is a landmark work that instantly catapults itself to the front and center of a flashy but often unfulfilling genre. Thoughtful, well-written and solidly structured, it deserves to be the new standard screenplay "how to" text for years to come.
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am 29. Februar 2000
Robert McKee's Story is a must-have book for the aspiring screenwriter. He breaks down every theoretical element to a story (from exposition and inciting incident all the way to scene design and the principle of antagonism). The book itself is neatly organized into four parts: The Writer and the Art of Story, The Elements of Story, The Principles of Story Design, and The Writer at Work. The only fault I find with McKee's book, and this is just my own personal taste, is that it is oriented towards writing classical Hollywood films. He doesn't leave much room for the deviations created by such masters as Jean-Luc Godard. Since that is where my primary interests lie the book didn't influence me as much as others. But one must understand the concepts he is teaching in order to deviate from them. So I encourage all aspiring writers to have at least read this book (it'll help you more than Syd Field ever will).
am 23. August 1998
I recently read this book and quickly realized what all the hype was about. McKee definitley knows the craft of screenwriting and is very in-depth about each and every statement that he makes. This book is very helpful and sticks with a no nonsense approach. He uses more than 100 movies to provide examples with and this helps but at times hurts his credibility. For example: in his chapter on The Innciting Incident he uses LEAVING LAS VEGAS as an example and calls the Inciting Incident the point when Nicholas Cage decides to drink himself to death. Later in his book when discussing the Crisis he calls the Inciting Incident of the movie the point where Cage is fired and the Crisis as the point when he decides to drink himself to death. Allthough this seems like a minor detail it bothered me in the fact that if even McKee couldn't keep his concepts consistent how can the reader be expected to buy into them? I don't think this book could do anything but help a screenwriter- knowledge is power and this book shares an enormous amount of knowledge concerning screenwriting. However, beware that this book is written at times in a more analytical view point. By that I mean that he teaches the way writers do not write. His Scene analysis chapter provides brilliant help in studying scenes- but if you broke down each and every single scene in this manner you may be wasting a great deal of time and loose some excitement for the scene. However, this would be very helpful for scenes you're having trouble with in the re-write stage. Overall, I think that any screenwriter serious about the craft should buy this book immediately! But unlike other readers, I did find flaws. It is not the book to end all screenwriting books! The 3rd edition of the Screenwriters Bible by Dave Troutier, in my opinion, is still the single best book on screenwritng. Richard Walter's two books are also on the top of my list and he directly opposes some of McKee's approaches. And I still believe firmly that Vogler's The Writer's Journey is a must for all screenwriters. This book is not the answer to all screenwriting problems, but it's definitley a big help. A must have.
am 21. Mai 1999
I bought this book at the suggestion of a friend who recently signed a six figure book contract. He told me he's taken McKee's workshop three times. I've made my living as a full time writer for national publications, and now write part time. This book is a world treasure. McKee should get a combination Nobel and Pulitzer-- a Nobel, because he has elucidated a science of story creation. A Pulitzer, because it is a literary work with the potential to influence so many. It not only serves as a tremendous help to the story teller, but I detect in it deep insights into the human condition that could be used as the foundations for new models of psychology and philosophy. This man is deep, yet so plain speaking, the book reads very smoothly. My copy is marked up with tons of notes, underlines and asterisks in the columns. It's one book I know I will be referring back to again and again. I bought it with the hopes of moving past a plateau I had reached on a novel I started 10 years ago. As I read on, page after page, chapter after chapter I kept saying to myself "Omigod," as his observations and rules led me to new insights into how to improve my story, my characters, my scenes, settings, and so much more. By the time I'd finished the book I knew I could finish my story. I don't have the story climax yet, but I know, that by using his techniques, it will come to me. And I know that my story, which already passed his most important test, is 1000% better.
am 2. September 1999
Hear, hear! I must say I was pretty embarrassed to read what the so-called reader from USC wrote. Makes you wonder who's teaching reading over there, let alone writing. USC's comments were just the kind that make people think an intellectual Angeleno is an oxymoron. I can only hope they give their copy to someone more capable of understanding it - which, judging by the number of McKee's fans, shouldn't be too hard.
By the way USC, it's "Seger."
USC Grad should remember this if they can: "readable" does not necessarily mean "best." If that were the case, Dr. Seuss would suffice, instead of Dr. McKee.
The book is a gem. If you can only buy one book, this is the one to get. It's a slow read all right, but that has to with the reader's stopping in pleasure and amazement to admire the guy's insight and impact. His writing style itself is forthright and to the point, again and again.
I picked this book up almost a year ago, but didn't get around to reading it for a few months. When I did, it not only helped me pinpoint the weaknesses in my current script, but helped me see and apply the solutions to fix it. The script now is very different, and 1,000% better.
am 18. Oktober 1999
There are many good works on screenwriting available. I have read several, including those by Field, Seger, and others. They have all been helpful and offer something valuable. By reading several of these books, I have gained much more than reading just one. At the very least I understand the different approaches to story, structure, etc., and am better equipped to employ my own style and method.
That said, Story by Robert McKee is the cream of the crop. The book is beautifully written, tremendously insightful. I have gleaned more from this book than any of the others. Anyone with a pen and paper or typewriter can write a screenplay. For those who wish to create a masterwork with feeling characters in compelling situations, this book is a must read. It explains the why and the how, and reveals what we as screenwriters struggle toward: a good story, well told. My only gripe was that I didn't want it to end. So I have started reading it again. My work is decidedly better thanks to Robert McKee's book. Now I fear that any books I read from this point will pale in comparison. I hope that I find another gem, and am proven wrong, but to save others from this fate, I urge you to read this book last!