In his bestselling book Into the Woods, John Yorke argues that story structure is hardwired into human perception: all stories are essentially the same because they reflect the way in which we make sense of the world.
What is this deep-rooted story DNA? Put simply, a hero or heroine meets their opposite, assimilate it and are changed. Every story, at some level, follows this pattern – because it’s the same pattern we use when we interpret the world, too.
In Into the Woods, John uses examples gathered over 30 years of studying and teaching story structure and making programmes watched by millions of people around the world.
This is just not a how-to book for scriptwriters, it is a philosophy of how to communicate effectively in a way that resonates with the deepest part of the human psyche – through story.
“Of all the books I’ve read about story construction and the art of fiction, this one is the most comprehensive and concise.”
John Collee – writer of Master And Commander, Happy Feet, Creation, Walking With Dinosaurs.
Reviews of Into the Woods
- ‘a convincing hypothesis’ Robert Epstein, The Independent, 6 April 2013
- ‘terrifyingly clever…. Packed with intelligent argument’ Nick Curtis, London Evening Standard, 4 April 2013
- ‘brimmingly insightful, stimulating study of how stories work’ Robert Collins, Sunday Times, 31 March 2013
- Hilarious TV review inspired by Into the Woods, Andrew Collins, The Guardian, 19 March 2013
Articles and Features
- All Stories are the Same. The Atlantic January 2016
- What makes a great screenplay? The Guardian March 2013
- Top 10 tips for telling stories The Independent April 2013
- Screenwriting refresher: 10 fundamental things to remember Moviemaker.com August 2014
- One key ingredient every story needs Huffington Post June 2014
- Redeemed characters: how the nation views the monarchy as soap opera Demos 2002
- On drama and morality Speech given at the Bishops’ Conference for clergy and other ministers in the Diocese of St Albans September 2002
- Who says drama must be grim? Broadcast magazine April 2013
- Interview Flex online June 2012
- Writing for continuing drama Q&A Screen Yorkshire May 2010
- Interview Scriptwriter magazine March 2005
“A mind blower… an incredibly dense but very readable tome about the art of storytelling. Really worth a read.”Lenny Henry
“The best book on the subject I’ve read.”
“All script-writers will want to read Into the Woods. All plots and archetypes BUSTED.”Caitlin Moran
“I don’t always enjoy books on writing, but Into The Woods by John Yorke is brilliant on story structure.”Ken Follett