Review by Library Journal Review
Though they could not be more different in tone and approach, these two screenwriting manuals share a similar goal: to break up the formulaic screenwriting process and make it less mechanical. Though both finally end up replacing a set of rules and constructs with their own formulas, however distinctive, both are valuable tools for would-be screenwriters. A working screenwriter and author of the popular Save the Cat! screenwriting guide, Snyder teaches screenwriting by closely parsing screenplays that have been successful in the past. He argues that there are only ten stories out there and that every movie is a variation on one of them. If his light, fun style occasionally veers too far into jokey, palsy hipsterdom, Snyder can be forgiven because the tone does the heavy lifting of deconstructing complex story arcs. One of the leading story consultants and script doctors working in Hollywood, Truby presents a much denser and more theoretical and comprehensive take. While Snyder focuses on structure and pacing, Truby attempts to inform the entire story, addressing plot, character, tone, symbolism, and dialog. The key here is to grow a script organically rather than force the story into preexisting mechanics. Despite its heavy nature, Truby's book retains a practical edge through the exercises that close each chapter. Although neither book should be considered a replacement for Syd Field's classic Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, both are worthwhile additions to collections that feature writing advice and how-to guides. Both are recommended for large public libraries; The Anatomy of Story is highly recommended for academic libraries as well.-Christian Zabriskie, Queens P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.