Story by Robert McKee

Life changing.

It’s changed the way I watch movies. As I watch I’m now looking for the beats within each scene, paying attention to the rise and fall of emotional charge throughout the film.

It’s altered the way I’m approaching the novel I’m currently writing, helping me to think more clearly about each scene and its purpose in the book.

It’s even got me thinking about going back to outlining everything before starting.

If you’re a writer, I think this book is essential. It’s forever altered the way I approach my writing, and somehow made me more confident in what I’m doing, even as it’s shown me what I’m doing wrong.

Three of the many things I learned:

  • Archetypal stories uncover a universal human experience and wrap it in a singular cultural expression. Stereotypical stories do the opposite: dress a singular experience in generalities.
  • An honest story is at home in one, and only one, place and time.
  • California scenes: two characters that hardly know each other share deep secrets about their past. It happens, but only in California. Nowhere else.