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There are hundreds of books and methods that teach you how to write a book. What is special in Jeff Lyons' book is that it's about storytelling. How to narrate a compelling story. It teaches you how to test your structure, sort out what works and what doesn't, what is confusing or boring, what needs to go in and what to leave out, what is missing. You can use the method before you start writing or when you are in the middle of a draft or when you have accumulated ten of thousands of words or a great number of scenes. This is a book about storytelling and testing whether your story works. By dissecting the components of your story and following the steps to write a premise line, a logline and a synopsis, you get a clear idea about your story. It is a super tool. The only downside to the book is that it is very expensive in the UK ( much more expensive that other books of its kind).
Como la columna vertebral lo hace al cuerpo, una premisa sólida y bien hecha sostendrá toda tu historia, por lo que es el elemento clave antes de escribir cualquier guión. Para esto, Jeff Lyons da unos consejos para no perder tiempo escribiendo guiones sin dirección y dedicarle el tiempo suficiente para escribir una buena premisa. Una excelente fuente de información para los aspirantes a guionistas.
The anatomy of a Premise Line has a life and force of its own. It can be applied to every form of art beginning with writing. Something to be integrated for life. Very powerful! As an online Stanford student I have the privilege to study under his brilliance and generosity. Mercedes Serralles
This book is a revelation. I have read other books, and tried different methods, and never produced a coherent story. They were all bad. Now, reading this book and following the steps, my story is clear, it's organic, it's solid.
I won't lie, it's hard work.Some of the concepts are tough to grasp, not that they are complicated but it's not easy to change your approach. But once you do, you understand the building blocks of a story, and knowing these can build a foundation to lay the rest of your story on.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Layer by layer, it shows how to build a story
Where I failed before, one thing Jeff goes into is the difference between a story and a situation (both are equally good). A situation is a tale where the protagonist has no personal growth, and simply solves a problem and the tale is over. Poirot doesn't change, he solves the crime, and is the same as always. Gravity - Sandra Bullock gets back on Earth, and the movie ends. Both are situations.
A story is where the character has a moral dilemma to overcome. In Jaws, Roy Sheider is afraid of the water, but goes out on a boat to kill a monster shark. He overcomes his fear and saves the island.
The books I read taught me how to write a situation; problem is I had a story. Using Jeff's methods I was able to iron out the kinks. With my characters, and my setup, I had the wrong story. I changed the setting, I changed the outcome, and everything snapped in place. It's hard work, but jeeze it works.
I thought I was a pantser, the other systems never worked. I was wrong, this really works. .
So...I knew I had a good story and believed it was well-written, but was having great difficulty knowing how to condense a 100K novel into a compelling pitch in order to submit it successfully to literary agents and publishers. Ah, the dreaded submission process!
Enter Jeff Lyons. I "found" him via Reedsy where he was offering a free podcast to writers of all stripes who needed help conveying what their books were REALLY about. Based on how impressed I was by the clear process he used, that is outlined in this book, I engaged Jeff to help me -- with stunning results.
Here's where Anatomy of a Premise Line becomes golden. If you already have a handle on your story, this process is a cinch to follow. If you don't, it will really highlight problems (like, maybe you really don't have much of a plot?) you might otherwise not see until you've written tens of thousands of words that need to be scrapped (or self-published, with only your Mum and Auntie willing to read them).
If you were trying to paint a masterpiece and had barely picked up a paintbrush before, you might want to start with a "paint-by-numbers" set (or maybe I'm revealing my age here and they don't make those anymore!). Similarly, we long-form writers often have trouble taking on the role of advertising executive or marketing expert and boiling down the core of our work into a paragraph or less. Jeff's step-by-step process, illustrated with lots of examples, is a similarly essential guide to producing a premise line, tag line and all the other "lines" that studio execs, literary agents, and publishers want to have grab them before they commit to taking your work.
And, once you have this nailed, novelists (like me) you'll have the back cover blurb done and dusted!!
I've read and used this book on three scripts now. Each time, I get new insight into how my character's moral blind spot HAS to integrate with the overall narrative of my plot in order for it to work in the end. As I read, I try to craft and shape my premise line to match the examples Jeff gives in the book, and by the end, I usually have a solid road map of where my script is going, and the beats it should hit. Going one step further and using your premise line to write a short synopsis -- which Jeff walks you through as well -- helps that much more. Jeff talks a lot about having the right tools in your writer's toolbox. This is definitely a tool I will continue to use over and over again in my writing. Beyond that, Jeff is VERY approachable on both Stage 32 and Facebook -- I've dropped him notes from time to time, and he always replies with kind and wise words.
And that challenge is a GOOD thing. If you're stuck somewhere in the weeds of writing your story, this book will become your compass and guide back to the path. I'm not saying you won't want to throw it across the room a few (thousand) times before it does, but it really does help you peel back the layers of your story. If you complete all the steps and really DIG for the answers to the questions Jeff poses - you can find the "ah ha" moment all over again with a more concise (and probably better) idea of what you want to write. Give it a try!
This book is fantastic. If you want insight into great writing that goes past the "this is what you need" to tell you, "this is how you create what you need," then this is your next purchase. I have few tools that excite me, but Robert McKee's STORY, David Trotier's SCREENWRITER'S BIBLE, Sid Field and this book are my best tools. I have put Jeff Lyons' other works on my Christmas list. The depth of his understanding of the critical aspects of great script writing is phenomenal. I've never taken a Master Class, but I assume this is the level of insight you get from one of those, for less than forty buckeronies. I believe I'm a very good writer, but I am humbled by Jeff's deep and expansive understanding of this medium.
Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned writer this book is a must have for early story development. Jeff has put together a book as indespendible as anything Robert McKee or John Truby have published. Keep this puppy at arm's reach.