All great stories seem effortless when read or viewed, but they were, one-for-one, painstakingly crafted by someone who knew exactly what he or she was doing with every character and every element of the plot, from a mere beat to the scene it builds to an entire act.
Stories that suck you in, move you, and leave you breathless and discussing them for days to come are NEVER products of accidental genius. There’s the creative inspiration that gives rise to a unique, enthralling idea or premise, and then there’s the craft of turning that spark of imagination into a proper story. This book deals with both of these elements of storytelling.
As you move through this book, you’ll recognize the validity of McKee’s teachings by simply looking back over stories that you’ve loved. Nearly invariably, they will include many of the elements described in this book, and follow the formulas given. Don’t be afraid of the word “formula,” either–there is room for endless creativity with what McKee teaches. He simply shows you the blueprint of storytelling and shows you what is needed for what and why. Just as all houses must have a foundation, walls, a roof, and so forth to stand correctly, all stories must have certain elements to capture a person’s interest and cause him or her to care. The style of houses and stories that can be built are endless, however.
I loved that the information in this book was incredibly PRACTICAL. Some writing teachers plunge into the abstract and abstruse, leaving you to figure out how to use their advice to write a better story. Not so in STORY. McKee shares nothing but clean, clear concepts that mean exactly what he says, and that are immediately applicable and observable in other stories you’ve seen or read. He also shares quite a few examples of his own throughout the book.