Story Engineering

Story Engineering - Larry Brooks Wow, this was quite an interesting read in terms of writing guides, because while I can say that I knew just about everything Larry Brooks discussed when it came to the six elements of story engineering (much of it is common sense if you've been writing a while or have read many writing books on the craft), the theory and practicality he presents is quite helpful and worth visiting/revisiting in the shaping of one's story, whether you're a beginning or seasoned writer. I like that he recognizes the differing kinds of writers that exist and gives a focus on how its important for both sets of writers to be mindful of examining how their stories are structured.There are some caveats I'll make mention of with respect to this writing guide, however. First, this is probably the first writing guide I've read that I'll say has too many examples within the text. Brooks defends his point adamantly in many cases that should snap to the reader (as well as within the writer's mind). He uses relevant examples from the literary and movie realms for smart, snappy storytelling. More often than not, however, some of his points are lost in the sea of examples he gives. In my personal case, I did highlight the primary points and used the summary of those highlights (as well as the single worksheet that he provides in the ebook version) to answer questions about my draft and work through in a systematic way. If he'd slimmed down a bit on those examples and maintained more focus on the points, I think the book would work just as well, if not even better. As he mentions in the text: "less is more."Another caveat: tone and repetition. His tone is rather strong and might come across as a bit commandeering in places, and it should be noted that (my opinion, and by measure of what I was taught) there is no one set recipe for a writer to be successful in his/her craft, but rather it's how the writer forms the structure of their craft to round their story. I think Brooks made this point too, though it seemed in places to be counteracted. This is just one of many guides/methods one can follow if they choose. I think if you read this text without the mentality of "all-or-nothing"/"my way or the highway", you get more out of it. I appreciate that he's no-nonsense and blunt in an honest manner, though personally I've read other peers who've taken on more friendly tones and have been just as constructively critical and helpful. On the repetition - I suppose this is noted well because I think he's emphasizing clearly what points to focus on in the text/methodology, as if giving an open lecture in a class setting, but this could've just as easily been communicated in bullet points on what one could summarize in perhaps a few statements rather than mentioning the point only to return to the same point a little later. It's a give and take. If you can get past the circumlocution of the writing in places, I don't think it poses that much of a problem.Overall, this was worth the read to me, but I would say it's not my favorite guide on writing structure that I've read. Certainly intriguing, and well-argued, though.Overall score: 3.5/5