Great story tellers make story writing look so easy. They convey the timeless techniques of writing with such freshness. Look at the Harry Potter series – in its simplest form it’s a tale of a boy wizard whose parents have passed, heading off to boarding school escaping in periods from his horrid foster family. Readers familiar with the stories understand it is a very complex tale that leads the reader around every trick and turn. But there are no three-act structures to be found in great stories of this complexity.
I had this book recommended to me by a writer and, so far, is the most useful reference book I've read for writers. Each chapter contains an epiphany on the formula behind many great stories. Examples are used when covering each topic or ‘step’ to a great story. Books such as Lord of the Rings (symbolism), It’s a Wonderful Life (moral dilemma), Tootsie (character) and Star Wars (moral argument, character, symbolism, hero/ally) and more. John Truby is a master of writing screenplays. He has worked as a story consultant and script doctor for Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, FOX, and HBO, among others.
Writers of any format can learn from this book, as I have done. I’ve applied the techniques on picture books with flailing plots or used it to bring life to flat characters with great success. It is a bible for learning the craft of creating a strong plot and premise, character development, moral argument and desires, symbolism and so on. Highly recommended for those seeking help in refining the craft of writing.