100 books like The Anatomy of Story

By John Truby,

Here are 100 books that The Anatomy of Story fans have personally recommended if you like The Anatomy of Story. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Diana Drake Long Author Of Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

From my list on creativity, happiness and success in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the idea of “dreams come true” for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I discovered the field of psychology. I made weekly trips to the library and read books on personal development, spirituality, and memoirs. This commitment to learning and growth has never wavered. Those early seeds that I planted and nurtured have bloomed into my long-standing career of professional coaching, facilitation, and leading transformational retreats. My passion is empowering others to believe in their dreams and goals and bring them to life. 

Diana's book list on creativity, happiness and success in life

Diana Drake Long Why did Diana love this book?

This is another book that I consider a classic and, for years, has held a place of honor on my bookshelf. I go back to it from time to time. It's like visiting a wise friend who inspires you to be the most self-expressed you can be. Julia is a great guide, and I enjoy the author's writing style, which is easy to read and relate to. As a prolific author of dozens of books, she is intelligent and generous, and she encourages readers to go deeper and wider in their creative lives. She leads the reader through a twelve-week program in the book to unleash one's creative genius.

Her signature "field work" for readers is an exercise called "morning pages," a practice of writing down your unedited thoughts each morning to clear out the old thoughts and make space for new perspectives and ideas to come forth. I have…

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…


Book cover of The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Larry A. Brown Author Of How Films Tell Stories: The Narratology of Cinema

From my list on the art of filmmaking.

Why am I passionate about this?

One reason I became a professor of humanities, teaching subjects like film, theater, and literature, was to share my enthusiasm for the great works of imagination which have inspired people for centuries. Stories shape our lives and pass on our most important values and beliefs to future generations. In my academic career, I have directed plays and have written two novels, but teaching film has been my major passion for the last several years. 

Larry's book list on the art of filmmaking

Larry A. Brown Why did Larry love this book?

This popular text on screenwriting relates films to narrative ideas found in ancient myths around the world.

Vogler does an excellent job in demonstrating how films often use elements of plot and character that have proven to be universal characteristics of stories for centuries. He applies these concepts not only to fantasy films but standard Hollywood dramas such as Titanic

By Christopher Vogler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Writer's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally an influential memo Vogler wrote for Walt Disney Animation executives regarding The Lion King, The Writer’s Journey details a twelve-stage, myth-inspired method that has galvanized Hollywood’s treatment of cinematic storytelling. A format that once seldom deviated beyond a traditional three-act blueprint, Vogler’s comprehensive theory of story structure and character development has met with universal acclaim, and is detailed herein using examples from myths, fairy tales, and classic movies. This book has changed the face of screenwriting worldwide over the last 25 years, and continues to do so.


Book cover of Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting

David Baboulene Author Of The Primary Colours of Story

From my list on how stories work and how to write your story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough not only to get published in my thirties, I also got a film deal for those first two books. I was flown to Hollywood and it was all very grand. However, what they did to my stories in translating them into film scripts horrified me. And ruined them. And the films never got made. I started to look deeper into what ‘experts’ did, and it was awful. I became obsessed with how stories work, developed my own ‘knowledge gap’ theory, proved it through my Ph.D. research, and became a story consultant in the industry. Story theory has completely taken over my life and I love it!

David's book list on how stories work and how to write your story

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

This was the first story theory book I read and it was hugely influential on me, because it is probably the definitive work in terms of a formulaic, structural approach to story.

This book gave me a depth of knowledge of the traditional approach to story theory, but also a clear understanding of how people in the film industry are going about their work today. It is all wrong, in my opinion, but it is also the truth of what is going on.

It is wrong because a story does not begin with structure. A story begins in the mind, and a structure arrives later once the story is present. This book set me on my journey to find an alternative to structure.

By Robert McKee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Structure is Character. Characters are what they do. Story events impact the characters and the characters impact events. Actions and reactions create revelation and insight, opening the door to a meaningful emotional experience for the audience. Story is what elevates a film, a novel, a play, or teleplay, transforming a good work into a great one. Movie-making in particular is a collaborative endeavour - requiring great skill and talent by the entire cast, crew and creative team - but the screenwriter is the only original artist on a film. Everyone else - the actors, directors, cameramen, production designers, editors, special…


Book cover of Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Catherine Maiorisi Author Of A Matter of Blood

From my list on mysteries that feature two detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.

Catherine's book list on mysteries that feature two detectives

Catherine Maiorisi Why did Catherine love this book?

When I sat down to write my first novel I knew I wanted to model my characters on George’s Lynley and Havers but I couldn’t even start writing because I had no idea how to structure a novel, particularly a mystery. As fate would have it, George released her book on writing, Write Away, around that time. In it, she described her process with examples from her own books and it was exactly what I needed. This book provided the essential tools I needed to write. 

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Write Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth George is one of the most successful writers of crime fiction in the world. Her twelve novels have appeared on bestseller lists in the UK, USA and Australia, and several of them have been dramatised by BBC Television as the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. She has also written a collection of short stories and edited a crime anthology.

Now she shares this wealth of experience with would-be novelists, and with crime fiction fans. Drawing extensively on her own work, and that of other bestselling writers including Stephen King, Harper Lee, Dennis Lehane and many others, she illustrates her points about…


Book cover of Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel That Publishers Want and Readers Buy

Rosanna Battigelli Author Of La Brigantessa

From my list on to help you write your best book.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was inspired by teachers and books starting at a very early age, and even before I was ten, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher and writer. In pursuing these two passions, I set out to become the best that I could be. I read countless books on the art and craft of writing (many of them by acclaimed authors). I chose these five exceptional books in the order that I read them over years of researching/writing La Brigantessa, which ultimately won an international Gold IPPY award for Historical Fiction, and was a finalist in two national literary awards. Hope you, too, are inspired by my picks!

Rosanna's book list on to help you write your best book

Rosanna Battigelli Why did Rosanna love this book?

Barbara Kyle covers all the areas fiction writers want and need to know about the craft of writing and how to elevate your craft into art. Her book is an essential guide to creating a novel with strong and compelling characters, setting, plot, dialogue, and more. 

Her insightful suggestions and advice, initially through a manuscript evaluation of my book, and later with a thorough reading of this book, was an essential part of my writing journey towards creating a “page-turner” that led to the acceptance and publication of my novel.

By Barbara Kyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Page-Turner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ACCLAIM FOR PAGE-TURNER

"Brings alive almost every tough issue a writer of fiction must confront . . . friendly and fun to read." — Albert Zuckerman, founder of Writers House literary agency

“Kyle knows her stuff. She breaks down both the art and the craft of writing in a way that is entertaining and easy to understand.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong

ABOUT THE BOOK

What makes a page-turner? What mysterious literary essence holds a reader so hard they feel they must keep reading? And then tell friends, "I couldn't put it down!"

And what do…


Book cover of Poetics

David Baboulene Author Of The Primary Colours of Story

From my list on how stories work and how to write your story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough not only to get published in my thirties, I also got a film deal for those first two books. I was flown to Hollywood and it was all very grand. However, what they did to my stories in translating them into film scripts horrified me. And ruined them. And the films never got made. I started to look deeper into what ‘experts’ did, and it was awful. I became obsessed with how stories work, developed my own ‘knowledge gap’ theory, proved it through my Ph.D. research, and became a story consultant in the industry. Story theory has completely taken over my life and I love it!

David's book list on how stories work and how to write your story

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

Aristotle was the world’s first story expert.

As a story consultant myself, it was incredible to have a man from 2,300 years ago talk to me about story theory! And more than that… everything he says is spot on. 

The real meaning of much of what Aristotle said has been debated for millennia. However, when I used his principles as story dynamics in real stories, they became very clear to me; so, in my own work, I have distilled Aristotle’s principles into a modern three-part interpretation, and I give examples of them working in classical and popular modern stories.

Aristotle’s principles are not only applicable today, but they are still better than almost any other new thinking of the last 100 years. Aristotle is amazing. I love him! 

By Aristotle, Joe Sachs (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Poetics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most powerful, perceptive and influential works of criticism in Western literary history

In his near-contemporary account of classical Greek tragedy, Aristotle examines the dramatic elements of plot, character, language and spectacle that combine to produce pity and fear in the audience, and asks why we derive pleasure from this apparently painful process. Taking examples from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the Poetics introduced into literary criticism such central concepts as mimesis ('imitation'), hamartia ('error') and katharsis ('purification'). Aristotle explains how the most effective tragedies rely on complication and resolution, recognition and reversals. The Poetics has…


Book cover of Mythologies

David Baboulene Author Of The Primary Colours of Story

From my list on how stories work and how to write your story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough not only to get published in my thirties, I also got a film deal for those first two books. I was flown to Hollywood and it was all very grand. However, what they did to my stories in translating them into film scripts horrified me. And ruined them. And the films never got made. I started to look deeper into what ‘experts’ did, and it was awful. I became obsessed with how stories work, developed my own ‘knowledge gap’ theory, proved it through my Ph.D. research, and became a story consultant in the industry. Story theory has completely taken over my life and I love it!

David's book list on how stories work and how to write your story

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

A story is not the words that you write down. That’s a narrative. A story is what your audience builds in mind for themselves when they receive the narrative.

If I give you a six-word story: For sale. Baby’s shoes. Never worn. You don’t just see an advertisement. You think about the lives of the people who placed the advertisement, right?!

What you just did in your mind is how stories work, and Roland Barthes was the first to recognise this. His book is a series of articles demonstrating the mythology that lies behind the words and symbols we are fed in everyday life.

My knowledge gap theory of how stories work owes a great deal to Roland Barthes, and this book in particular.

By Roland Barthes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mythologies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"No denunciation without its proper instrument of close analysis," Roland Barthes wrote in his preface to Mythologies. There is no more proper instrument of analysis of our contemporary myths than this book―one of the most significant works in French theory, and one that has transformed the way readers and philosophers view the world around them.

Our age is a triumph of codification. We own devices that bring the world to the command of our fingertips. We have access to boundless information and prodigious quantities of stuff. We decide to like or not, to believe or not, to buy or not.…


Book cover of The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies

David Baboulene Author Of The Primary Colours of Story

From my list on how stories work and how to write your story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough not only to get published in my thirties, I also got a film deal for those first two books. I was flown to Hollywood and it was all very grand. However, what they did to my stories in translating them into film scripts horrified me. And ruined them. And the films never got made. I started to look deeper into what ‘experts’ did, and it was awful. I became obsessed with how stories work, developed my own ‘knowledge gap’ theory, proved it through my Ph.D. research, and became a story consultant in the industry. Story theory has completely taken over my life and I love it!

David's book list on how stories work and how to write your story

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

Bordwell is an academic who is encyclopedic on Hollywood.

He has written several definitive works on Hollywood and despite their depth and learnedness, they are very readable and enjoyable to absorb. So when he turned his attention to ‘classical’ Hollywood story telling, I knew it would be a good one, and I was not disappointed. 

Most story theorists have an approach that they are arguing for. Bordwell is analysing from a pure perspective, without ‘skin in the game’, so the result is balanced, critical, and highly enlightening for the aspiring writer. 

By David Bordwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way Hollywood Tells It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hollywood moviemaking is one of the constants of American life, but how much has it changed since the glory days of the big studios? David Bordwell argues that the principles of visual storytelling created in the studio era are alive and well, even in today's bloated blockbusters. American filmmakers have created a durable tradition - one that we should not be ashamed to call artistic, and one that survives in both mainstream entertainment and niche-marketed indie cinema. Bordwell traces the continuity of this tradition in a wide array of films made since 1960, from romantic comedies like "Jerry Maguire" and…


Book cover of Way of the Clans

Aer-ki Jyr Author Of Star Force: Origin Series (1-4)

From my list on that defined great storytelling for me as a kid.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Aer-ki Jyr and I’m the creator of the Star Force Universe. I started writing because most of the new books coming out just plain sucked, so I figured if I could do better, then I should…and I did. What people only partially realize is that Star Force is filled with references and homages to the past great works. There’s far more in there than they realize, but those who have also read them will know when they see them. This list gives you the biggest influences that shaped my childhood mind, and why there are literally statues in the Star Force Universe to a lot of this stuff. 

Aer-ki's book list on that defined great storytelling for me as a kid

Aer-ki Jyr Why did Aer-ki love this book?

When I read this book, it was the full Jade Phoenix trilogy put into one paperback, so for me it was a really long book that showed someone completely fail in life, then drag himself back up and crawl his way to the top. It also exposed me to the ‘Clans’ and what they meant. 

Position by merit. Earning your place through combat. A desire to prove yourself and gain power, but not by sucking up or backstabbing. Imagine a nation led by warriors instead of politicians. Even though the Clans aren’t the ‘good guys,’ there’s a huge difference between this book and all others. Enough that it stuck with me and the concept was reused in my own book as an homage to these Battletech books.

Book cover of Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying

Margaret Read MacDonald Author Of Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling

From my list on storytelling for teachers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the importance of telling stories in the classroom. My career has been as a children’s librarian in public libraries, but with much time spent telling stories in schools. My daughter and her husband followed in my footsteps as storytellers and found that using storytelling in the classroom has so many benefits. We all offer workshops for teachers, write articles encouraging storytelling, and try in any way possible to grow the corps of teachers who discover this joyful addition to the classroom.

Margaret's book list on storytelling for teachers

Margaret Read MacDonald Why did Margaret love this book?

I found that owning a collection of tales organized by these themes was very useful. Over 100 short folktales on themes of cooperation, courage, diversity, empathy, friendship, generosity, honesty and fairness, perseverance, respect, responsibility, self-control, and bullying prevention. Pearmain also gives suggestions for telling these and for extending them in the classroom. Wrapping an idea in a story really helps the concept sink in for the listener. Having a collection like this helped me build programs for use in the library.

By Elisa Davy Pearmain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book features 99 multi-national and multi-cultural folk tales with familiar character and bullying prevention themes but encapsuled in wonderfully diverse stories. The author, a professional storyteller, provides actual stories plus chapters on how to tell a story, not just read it; activities for students; and bulliten board ideas. She also provides hints and tips for teaching kids the art of storytelling which encourages communication skills and classroom unity.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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