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'The best book on the subject I've read. Quite brilliant' Tony Jordan, creator/writer, Life on Mars, Hustle
We all love stories. But why do we tell them? And why do all stories function in an eerily similar way? John Yorke, creator of the BBC Writers' Academy, has brought a vast array of drama to British screens. Here he takes us on a journey to the heart of storytelling, revealing that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative forms - one that echoes the fairytale journey into the woods and, like any great art, comes from deep within. From ancient myths to big-budget blockbusters, he gets to the root of the stories that are all around us, every day.
'Marvellous' Julian Fellowes
'Terrifyingly clever ... Packed with intelligent argument' Evening Standard
'The most important book about scriptwriting since William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade' Peter Bowker, writer, Blackpool, Occupation, Eric and Ernie
Yorke, the former head of BBC Drama, has a formidable understanding of how story (really, plot) works, and a myriad of examples to back up his ideas. " With only eight notes in an octave, we don't simply run out of music, but we start to see that a very simple pattern contains within it the possibility of endless permutations." Yorke is an excellent guide to those variations in story and how they shape take dramatic form in the narratives of film, theater, and novels. He's dismissive both of screenwriting gurus who put forward simple plans for writing television shows and movies, as well as those who dismiss the idea that any kind of structure is needed. It's fitting, then, that this book is less an instructional manual than a guide, carefully exploring the possibilities and recurring ideas of story through an extended metaphor of entering then leaving a forest. All of this could be of great benefit to writers who connect to Yorke's voice and theory. Still, Yorke readily admits there is nothing new here; he points out that his ideas date back to the Greeks, and the more compelling problem remains unanswered: how to go about writing story, instead of the easier task of analyzing it in order to prove it fits one's theory.