Story Engineering

Story Engineering

By Larry Brooks

  • Release Date: 2011-01-27
  • Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Score: 4.5
From 21 Ratings
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What makes a good story or a screenplay great?

The vast majority of writers begin the storytelling process with only a partial understanding where to begin. Some labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are as dependent upon good engineering as they are artistry. But the truth is, unless you are master of the form, function and criteria of successful storytelling, sitting down and pounding out a first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin.

Story Engineering starts with the criteria and the architecture of storytelling, the engineering and design of a story--and uses it as the basis for narrative. The greatest potential of any story is found in the way six specific aspects of storytelling combine and empower each other on the page. When rendered artfully, they become a sum in excess of their parts.

You'll learn to wrap your head around the big pictures of storytelling at a professional level through a new approach that shows how to combine these six core competencies which include:
Four elemental competencies of concept, character, theme, and story structure (plot)Two executional competencies of scene construction and writing voice
The true magic of storytelling happens when these six core competencies work together in perfect harmony. And the best part? Anyone can do it!


  • Illuminating!

    By alinamusic
    The meat and potatoes of this book are great: you are promised to learn how to engineer a commercial story and you do just that. This may not be a model that will work well for highly intuitive people, but it can be a treasure trove for analytical minds, that like to be creative within a structure. The only thing that I felt took away from the content of the book was, ironically, the writer’s voice itself. Very impetuous, laden with heavy-handed metaphors, in my opinion, it espoused the message of the book with such force, it actually took away from it. I felt like the principles were being stuffed down my throat without leaving any room for me to breathe. Like I said, I loved what I learned, but, if you’re an independent-minded person like me, be prepared to skip through a lot of parts that ring like propaganda.
  • Long and Tedious

    By SherwoodBoston
    The ideas the author presents in this book are of value to ALL writers. Buy this book for those ideas only. Unfortunately, the execution is far too excessively verbose and replete with blathering "analogies." It takes the author so long to make a point amidst hokey criticisms of "pantsing" that it puts his thesis at risk. Also, Writer's Digest (the publisher of this book) needs to hire a seasoned editor who takes pride and time to proof a manuscript. This book is replete with typos, duplicate words, words of out of place, and such basic grammatical errors that it's embarrassing.
  • Excellent Study Material

    By M.G. Dawsin
    I have already read this book in its entirety and am about to purchase it again in iBooks format so that I will always have it accessible to me as a study-guide. After finishing it originally, I came to the conclusion that it is one of the most valuable resources I have ever come across for learning how to write an effectively-developed, well-structured and competent literary work. Admittedly Brooks assumes a more rigidly organized, non-organic approach to developing stories, structuring most of the process according to the very particular demands of the screenplay/film industry. However as a result, it provides excellent study material for the competent writer who is driven to succeed in his endeavors. "Story Engineering" reads more like a practical textbook for an advanced grad course on the subjects of story structure and cohesive storytelling than a self-help guide for the starving artist. If you have ever really wanted to know what a good manuscript requires to make it past the slush pile and to the editor’s desk, this book will teach you 98% of the writing process necessary to get you there.
  • What did I learn?

    By dragonIMA
    I think I'm giving this a "one" because I don't think I learned much except I "have to" do all the stuff on a long list by this point or else all is in vain. Not really encouraging. I would recommend this to people who are unwaveringly determined to learn if there is a solid approach to writing through a poorly organized book. I would have liked it if there had been an attempt to make a more visual approach or use acronyms for the criteria and processes. Thus, I can only say that it is a very meandering list, rather than a didactic and streamlined book on writing. Sorry, Mr. Brooks.