Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Story: a contemplative progress signifying something

I feel as if I have tracked and caught a rare species in the wild. I brought home "Story" by Robert McKee today, after researching the author and reading nearly three chapters of the book. And I feel captured in return.

The book is expensive — I usually pay ten or fewer dollars for a book. For this one I gave up $35 (and some tax).

The book is compelling. I started reading skeptically thinking that here again was another overhyped screenwriting book with little substance. Instead, I was drawn from page to page by the beautifully organized structure, depth of knowledge and elucidating examples. I am happy and relieved to have finally found a book that makes sense of all the theories and brass tacks of story development. I'm 50 pages into the book and eagerly looking forward to reading and learning from the next 320 some pages. It's like a textbook.

I am heartened by the 16 suggested readings at the back of the book as I have previously encountered and respect five of the authors listed. In "Story" I have found a teacher who has been where I'd like to go and returned with a detailed and useable map.

Some of you may think I've been living under a rock to have missed as big a name as Robert McKee. Maybe I have. Even if the film industry has moved on to other story fads, McKee's book is a firm foundation for whatever comes next.

If only I could afford his upcoming seminar in New York! Oh well. Lots of good stuff in the book. I'm planning on taking the stories I have written so far and reorganizing them using his elements and principles. I'm sure I will learn a lot and that my stories (and I) will grow and improve.

Perhaps I am not so much captured as corralled into a large and rich workshop where I will be given the tools to make whatever my heart desires. That's definitely significant.

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