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

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Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.
In Story, McKee expands on the concepts he teaches in his $450 seminars (considered a must by industry insiders), providing readers with the most comprehensive, integrated explanation of the craft of writing for the screen. No one better understands how all the elements of a screenplay fit together, and no one is better qualified to explain the "magic" of story construction and the relationship between structure and character than Robert McKee.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: ReganBooks; 1 edition (November 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060391685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060391683
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

Customer Reviews

A must have for any writer

 on September 27, 2017
By Frederyk Henry
I’ve read John Truby’s anatomy of story before reading this one and even with that dense tome to compare it to, McKee’s book has plenty of it’s own unique information, tips, and strategies for developing plot and story that I don’t regret buying it in the slightest. In fact, I found myself highlighting passages just as often as in Truby’s book. With that said, McKee’s book has a lot more general advice towards story in comparison to Truby’s incredibly analytical method of outlining. It is, however, this general advice that I found highly useful. The advice on how to make turning points and create the gap is invaluable for both grabbing the readers attention and maintaining it throughout the story. If you’re even somewhat interested in making your writing better, then definitely pick this up.

Writing Stories is a Craft, and This Book Helps Me to Appreciate It as Such.

 on October 26, 2016
By Anonymous
I have read several books on writing and I have to say that this was the most thorough. Like it or not, there are principles when followed that help stories sell. Having read this book, I’ve found myself reviewing my own work. Sometimes, the light come on above my head and I say, “So that’s why people say they like what I wrote.” Other times, I gain insight into my work and say, “Now I know why this story isn’t going anywhere.” “Writing stories is a craft, and this book helps me to appreciate it as such. Thank you, Robert McKee, for putting this together. It’s still providing insight after all these years.

A seminal work on the nature of good storytelling

One person found this helpful.
 on March 10, 2017
By literaryzealot
Engaging, in-depth exploration of what makes a good story, showing such an impressive wealth of knowledge and experience. It has great advice for writers of all kinds (not only for the screen) but equally makes for a fascinating read regardless of whether you are a writer or not.


One person found this helpful.
 on December 7, 2016
By sexy dancer
I should have read this book before I ever took courses in writing, speechwriting, advertising, and art concepts. This book is an eye opener. The author is brilliant in laying out the secrets of a good storyline which you cannot find in other books of the same category. Get this book and absorb it and it will open a new world for you.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on July 2, 2017
By Mr. Peter Sodhi
OMG outstanding on every level -damn near highlighted the whole book!!!! Just buy it forget the sample…

Write the truth…

13 people found this helpful.
 on June 25, 2007
By Inkhorn
In my experience books tested and proven before being written tend to be the best. A prime example – Angela’s Ashes, won the Pulitzer Prize, fine tuned by the author McCourt doing a one man show talking about his wicked cruel childhood, growing up in Limerick, Ireland.

Chewy but worth it

2 people found this helpful.
 on March 12, 2014
By Andrew J. Roazen
McKee forgoes the color by number methodology of many screenwriting guides and instead deals with what makes a good story tick – and a badly written screenplay suck. As he outlines the mistakes beginning screenwriters make (and why they make them), you will find yourself feeling embarrassed at times, but he shows you the way out of those traps. I’ve read Field’s “Screenplay” and Snyder’s “Save the Cat,” but this is the one that let me understand what I’d been doing wrong and what to do about it.

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