Customer Reviews for

Story Engineering

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A real treasure trove.

This is the best book on how to write fiction. You will not be disappointed if you purchase this book even if you are a panster. Larry explains all of the elements of story structure that is required to write a great story.

posted by Readletter on November 1, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

It Works

Like a million other "wanna-be" writers I have a shelf full of how to write books. Or maybe two shelves full. I've written three, so far unpublished, mystery novels and I've learned a lot about the craft of storytelling with each one. However the time it took to write m...
Like a million other "wanna-be" writers I have a shelf full of how to write books. Or maybe two shelves full. I've written three, so far unpublished, mystery novels and I've learned a lot about the craft of storytelling with each one. However the time it took to write my first, by my old seat-of-the-pants, uneducated process caused me to write and re-write it several times over the course of three or four years. Not a prodigeous output.

My second book, a sequel to the first, lies "complete" but untouched in my laptop. Then I discovered Larry Brooks. I was able to purchase an early version of Story Enginering. Once I began to understand the need for story process as taught by Larry things seemed to fall into place. I recently completed a first draft of a 64,000 word mystery in about six months that actually reads pretty well thanks to following Larry's methods of story planning.

I'm always mistrustful of zealots, so I'm trying to temper my views a little. Quite frankly, the process Larry lays out in this book works. If you are going to add one more book on writing to your shelf, this is the one to have.

posted by PMMessina on March 1, 2011

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Because I Needed Another Book About Writing On My Bookshelf

    Story Engineering - Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing
    As someone who hopes to have a published book someday, I chose to read Story Engineering with the hope that it would kick-start the courage to actually begin putting the story ideas that have been swimming in my head down on paper. While I haven't delved into the writing yet, I have stepped out of the boat and at least chosen the idea I want to work with. I believe that taking the time to study "Story Engineering" was well worth the invested time I spent reading it. It is not a book to be simply read, but one that must be studied. I had to read and take the time to really think about the chapters. I had to spend time thinking of how they would and should apply to my writing.
    Story Enginerring is organized into 8 sections. The introduction gives an overview of the 6 core competencies and the reasoning the author states that they are important to good storytelling. The first core competency is concept. This section really helped me evaluate the story ideas I have collected and to prioritize them into which ideas might actually be worth exploring. The next section leads us to the second core competency which is character. As a instuctor at the local junior college, I can tell you that we spend a lot of time talking about character in the composition and analysis classes I teach. I found this section to be very well written and thought out. The author examines all of the various avenues that play a part in the development of character in a story. The next concept the author addresses is theme. While this section of the book is shorter than other sections, don't be fooled into thinking that theme isn't important. The information provided in this section of the book really captures the difference between plot and theme. The next section covers story structure. To me, this is the author's best work. This was the treasure I was hoping to find. This section isn't really a "how to" or "formula", but more of an inquiry into what makes a good story. It's taking those things, tearing them apart, examining them, and applying them to the story you are hoping to craft. The final parts are scene execution and writing voice. After the "meat" of story structure, I found these sections to be informative, but they didn't necessarily lead to that "aha" moment. The author finishes up the book with a closing section on the process of story development.
    In all, I would recommend this book. This book is an investment - not something to be read quickly. Not a book you will devour. It's one you have to take in small bites and contemplate. Thanks to Book Sneeze for offering me the opportunity to read this book.
    I received this book through Book Sneeze, a part of Thomas Nelson Publishing. The opinions expressed here are my own and were in no way influenced by the publisher. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Fedral Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    well organized and presented

    "Story Engineering" by Larry Brooks consists of eight parts-including the introduction, the six parts dedicated to six "core competencies" (concept, character, theme, story structure, scene execution, and writing voice), and part eight, the last chapter, which is dedicated to the story development process.

    Right off the bat, the author admits that there are many books dedicated to writing a book-many of which are written by famous novelists themselves, but nevertheless fail to accurately analyze the process. Brooks goes about this a different way-saying that the best structure for writing a fiction book is one that the screenwriters use, and one which Brooks himself has adapted for this book. On the other hand, he avoids advocating formulaic writing=--straight off saying that his book is about concentrating on different aspects of the story, instead of relying on some kind of a formula. If you're looking for just that-a formula to writing a successful novel-than you're better off picking a different book. On the other hand, Brooks himself admits that formulas often don't work.

    Overall, I found this to be a helpful reference tool to writing a story. Many of the things Brooks covers have already been covered before, but nevertheless, I found the book well organized and presented.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Conquering the Story Labyrinth

    Learning to write fiction - that is, good, quality fiction that an editor will embrace - is a little like Theseus seeking the Minotaur in the labyrinth. The prize is there, but where? In his book, Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing, Larry Brooks gives the writer tools that will assist in crafting a story. Teaching the reader about Concept, Character, Theme, Story Structure, Scene Execution and Writing Voice, Mr. Brooks maintains that by learning and implementing all six of the core competencies the writer will be able to craft a complete story - one that covers all the bases. The problem with most stories, Brooks states, is that "they still fall short of expressing the essence of a great story." Without the blending of the core competencies together the writer is left with a story that is flat. It can have great characters, or a stellar theme, but it fails to carry them through in a way that will bring the reader a "literary feast." As I read the book, I found myself being persuaded that perhaps Brooks has a map to the labyrinth of crafting stories. I tried a few of his techniques in the first draft of my work in progress, with the result of feeling more confident that my story captures that essence of storytelling that all writers seek. I plan to implement all six of the core competencies as I begin the rewrite of my story, balancing them as Brooks suggests. Of course, Theseus found his prize with help from Daedalus and Ariadne, but he still had to slay the monster himself - and that's the task that Brooks leaves to his readers. This book won't write your story for you, but it will provide you with the tools you need to do the job. A free copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for my review.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    4 out of 5 stars!

    When I first saw that Story Engineering was up for review, I excitedly clicked to order it and was not let down. This book does just as it says, it gives you the tools to master 6 core skills for writing. It was very informative as well as honest. One of the best qualities about this book was how blunt it was. The author was completely honest and forthcoming, he didn't beat around the bush, which I appreciated a lot. Although it felt repetitive at times, I felt like overall this book was extremely helpful to me. I felt like it was a great tool. I found myself marking it up immediately, highlighting and dog-earing the pages. I feel like this is a book I will refer to many times over the course of my life and would recommend it to anyone thinking of learning more skills for writing.

    The best part about this book is how it's laid out. I like how it's very organized and flows well together. The author was super thorough and made some great points and gave great and valuable tools for all writers.

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