Author(s): John Yorke
The Revolutionary guide to dramatic writing, whether you're writing the next Chinatown, Breaking Bad, or Glengarry Glen Ross. The idea of Into the Woods is not to supplant works by Aristotle, Lajos Egri, Robert McKee, David Mamet, or any other writers of guides for screenwriters and playwrights, but to pick up on their cues and take the reader on a historical, philosophical, scientific, and psychological journey to the heart of all storytelling. In this exciting and wholly original book, John Yorke not only shows that there is truly a unifying shape to narrative--one that echoes the great fairytale journey into the woods, and one, like any great art, that comes from deep within--he explains why, too. With examples ranging from The Godfather to True Detective, Mad Men to Macbeth, and fairy tales to Forbrydelsen (The Killing), Yorke utilizes Shakespearean five-act structure as a key to analyzing all storytelling in all narrative forms, from film and television to theatre and novel-writing--a big step from the usual three-act approach. Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story is destined to sit alongside David Mamet's Three Uses of the Knife, Robert McKee's Story, Syd Field's Screenplay, and Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing as one of the most original, useful, and inspiring books ever on dramatic writing.
Brimmingly insightful ... fresh, enlightening and accessible ... a gripping read from beginning to end -- Robert Collins Sunday Times Terrifyingly clever ... Packed with intelligent argument Evening Standard So detailed and engaging is his methodology that any consumer of books, plays, TV or films will find the experience enhanced; and scriptwriters themselves will find useful guidance - because when you know the why, the how is natural -- Robert Epstein Independent on Sunday This is a marvellous analysis of screenwriting and, with any luck, should help a great many people achieve their dreams -- Julian Fellowes, writer/creator of Downton Abbey Another book on screenwriting! Oh, how I wanted to hate it! I didn't. I loved it. Much of it was fresh to me. And always interesting, always intelligent and, for a writer, always rewarding -- Jimmy McGovern, screenwriter, The Street and The Accused In an industry full of so called script gurus and snake oil salesmen, at last there's a book about story that treats writers like grown ups. This isn't about providing us with an ABC of story or telling us how to write a script by numbers. It's an intelligent evaluation into the very nature of storytelling and is the best book on the subject I've read. Quite brilliant -- Tony Jordan, screenwriter, Life on Mars and Hustle Even for a convinced sceptic, John Yorke's book, with its massive field of reference from Aristotle to Glee, and from Shakespeare to Spooks, is a highly persuasive and hugely enjoyable read. It would be hard to beat for information and wisdom about how and why stories are told -- Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director, The Globe Theatre This book is intelligent, well written, incisive and, most of all, exciting. It is the most important book about scriptwriting since William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade -- Peter Bowker, screenwriter, Blackpool, Occupation and Eric & Ernie Part 'How-to' manual, part 'why-to' celebration, Into The Woods is a wide-reaching and infectiously passionate exploration of storytelling in all its guises ... exciting and thought-provoking -- Emma Frost, screenwriter, The White Queen and Shameless Into The Woods is an amazing achievement. It has a real depth and understanding about story, a fantastically broad frame of reference and it's interesting and absorbing throughout. Full of incredibly useful insights, every TV writer should read the first chapter alone -- Simon Ashdown, series consultant, EastEnders Testing the adage that "in theory there's no difference between theory and practice but in practice there is", this is a love story to story -- erudite, witty and full of practical magic. It's by far the best book of its kind I've ever read. I struggle to think of the writer who wouldn't benefit from reading it -- even if they don't notice because they're too busy enjoying every page -- Neil Cross, creator of Luther and writer of Dr Who, Spooks and currently NBC's Crossbones Books on story structure are ten a penny but Mistah Yorke's is the real deal -- Kathryn Flett All script-writers will want to read Into The Woods. All plots and archetypes BUSTED -- Caitlin Moran Got to say Into The Woods by John Yorke is marvellous. The prospect of another screenwriting book made me yawn, but its terrific ... It's a great read, wise and cogent, and a must for all screenwriters -- David Eldridge A mind-blower ... an incredibly dense but very readable tome about the art of storytelling ... Really worth a read -- Lenny Henry The Independent I don't always enjoy books on writing, but Into the Woods by John Yorke is brilliant on story structure. -- Ken Follett, author of 'The Pillars of the Earth' In his brimmingly insightful, stimulating study of how stories work, Yorke compellingly unpicks how a whole range of films, plays, novels and fairy tales all display the same archetypal structures ... His book, in telling scores of stories in such a fresh, enlightening and accessible manner, is a gripping read from beginning to end Sunday Times
John Yorke is Managing Director of Company Pictures, the UK drama independent producing Skins, Shameless, The White Queen and Wolf Hall. For many years he's been responsible for a vast array of British drama, as both Head of Channel Four Drama and Controller of BBC Drama Production. In 2005 he created the BBC Writers Academy, a year-long in-depth training scheme which has produced a generation of successful television writers. He's also worked as Editor of The Archers. John is Visiting Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.