Story : Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, Paperback

Story : Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Structure is Character. Characters are what they do. Story events impact the characters and the characters impact events.

Actions and reactions create revelation and insight, opening the door to a meaningful emotional experience for the audience.

Story is what elevates a film, a novel, a play, or teleplay, transforming a good work into a great one.

Movie-making in particular is a collaborative endeavour - requiring great skill and talent by the entire cast, crew and creative team - but the screenwriter is the only original artist on a film.

Everyone else - the actors, directors, cameramen, production designers, editors, special effects wizards and so on - are interpretive artists, trying to bring alive the world, the events and the characters that the writer has invented and created.

Robert McKee's STORY is a comprehensive and superbly organized exploration of all elements, from the basics to advanced concepts.

It is a practical course, presenting new perspectives on the craft of storytelling, not just for the screenwriter but for the novelist, playwright, journalist and non-fiction writers of all types.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Film theory & criticism
  • ISBN: 9780413715609



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

May not be novel writing but gets to the discipline of making words/images count

Review by

Without doubt the screenwriter's bible, but rather over-long and full of its own sense of importance. Some insights for novelists, but not 100% overlap.

Review by

UnfinishedMckee has some strong views about films and he’s not going to let you learn about the nuts and bolts of story without beating you over the head with those views every chance he gets. European cinema? Load of rubbish, last 20 years of cinema? Load of rubbish, Hollywood & Asian cinema? The only people who can make “proper” films i.e. films that tell stories properly. The nuts and bolts are there and I didn’t pearl rule it but lost interest a little less than half way through. The examples he uses are mostly films I’ve not seen (Obviously I’ve been watching the rubbish films instead) and the style is both dry and overwrought. In the end this book goes onto the discard pile.Overall – The style is not for me but there are useful things to glean

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