THE STORY SOLUTION is a powerful new book on screenwriting by Eric Edson that will help make your screenplay writing more enjoyable, effective and successful. This book offers a completely unique approach to writing a movie script that will keep producers, agents and audiences glued to their chairs. If you are seeking advice on writing a screenplay or looking for screenwriting tips, Eric Edson’s THE STORY SOLUTION is one of the best screenwriting books to consider for your library. Accomplished screenplay writer and university professor Eric Edson reveals the 23 actions used in every successful movie to create dynamic, three-dimensional heroes while linking together all parts of a captivating screenplay from first page to last. This book offers both new screenplay writers and scriptwriting professionals the tools necessary to construct a forceful emotional ride in their storytelling. Writing screenplays is not easy. Eric’s paradigm of HERO GOAL SEQUENCES has raised his book into Amazon’s top list of the best books on screenwriting. Clear and fun to read, THE STORY SOLUTION brings to light an innovative way to insure effective plotlines for both screenplays and novels.

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Based on 242 Reviews

Excellent. Every writer should have this book in his/her how-to library, preferably close by on his writing desk..

An incredible help in crafting stories. I have just been using this book for a few weeks and it is transforming my book in progress already. Thank you for the inspiration and support this gives. I recommend it highly! J Frost

Eric Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for companies such as Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, 20th Century-Fox, ABC Motion Pictures, Lifetime, Showtime, NBC, and TNT. He's also written episodic television. He is Professor of Screenwriting and Director of the Graduate Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge. In his new book, The Story Solution: 23 Steps All Great Heroes Must Take (Michael Wiese Productions 2011), he illuminates new passageways in the story creation process through his unique perspective and opens more doors of opportunity for writers to explore. He shares his secret recipe for creating character sympathy; nine key ingredients that are sure to foster audience identification with your hero or heroine and build an instant, emotional bond between them. As Eric states, "we go to the movies to feel deeply", but before the audience can do that, they must first "care deeply" about the protagonist. He has a simple and effective technique for helping you to create character conflict between the protagonist and antagonist. Eric also guides you through the major-supporting character categories, so you know exactly what each speaking character's function is and whether their purpose is to help or obstruct your heroine or hero. Weaved within Eric's 23 Hero Goal Sequences, which create the Action Storyline, is a three-step, Emotional Storyline; this makes the process of showing your Character Growth Arc much easier. In doing so, your audience can experience a sense of completion as the Heroine/Hero finally lays down their shield of emotional self-protection and achieves emotional freedom, allowing them to connect with others again on a personal level; a life process we all go through, when healing old wounds. In feature films as in life, people need not only a long-term goal, but short-term goals as well to keep them moving forward. The Story Solution provides screenwriters with the necessary steps their protagonists can take to make their journey active, emotionally fulfilling, and complete. I recommend The Story Solution for all screenwriters looking for a fresh, new approach to writing a great story.

This book starts off some great how-tos I found very useful, and then it goes into structure, and I made notes on the entire book. I first read it, and then went back and wrote up notes on what I was learning. Wonderful book.

The insight regarding character, dialog and story foundation are elegantly presented and the 23 actions provides a wonderfully clear blueprint for storytelling. I particularly liked the discussion of Fresh News. Many books and websites tell you that each scene must compel the reader (or viewer) to the next. Your book provides a clear explanation on how to achieve this essential objective. In his seminars, Eric suggests writers should play with words the way a sculptor plays with clay. The Story Solution provides the wire mesh on which to support the clay.

This book found me in a book store. I was drawn to it for some reason. When I opened it up, I read a paragraph that gave me the insight I look for in a writing book. Like most writers, my main characters suffer from "the world affecting them" instead of them "affecting the world". This book has helped me understand what it means to be a dynamic main character. We all know there are tons of books out there that claim to have the goods and few of them do. This one has it. But you have to really study it and read it thoroughly because these are complex ideas. If you take the time and really dive deep into this book, I think you will find that it's depth is as limitless as your creativity.

excellant!!! Gave me a good basis for story telling in a cinematic way and the steps to incorporate an exciting, intriguing story.

I have learned new tricks for screenwriting. The formula for 23 actions for heroes are spot on. Attended a seminar but only had time to run through a few of these actions. This is why I bought the book.

The best book I've ever bought!

This is a book about plotting a decent story, specifically a screenplay (although the technique works equally well with any sort of story). Part One: Laying the Foundation gives the aspiring writer pointers on how to create a sympathetic hero, how to evoke emotions in your audience, and how to create a dynamic story with believable conflict. Part Two: Creating your Characters covers creating characters based on powerful mythic archetypes and writing dialogue that is integral to advancing your story. These first two sections of the book are full of helpful advice. But the next two sections are the real meat of the book: Part Three: Building Story Structure and Part Four: The Power of Hero Goal Sequences. Part Three covers Basic Screen Story Structure and The Character Growth Arc and Part Four covers The Power of Hero Goal Sequences in great detail - in amount of pages Part Four takes up about half the book. Yes, some of the stuff on basic structure has been said before in other books on plotting and screenwriting. But rarely so clearly and what sets "The Story Solution" apart from others is the amount of detail and the number of examples that Mr Edson uses to illustrate his points. For example, Chapter 14 takes the movie "Up" and breaks it down into the Hero Goal Sequences so the student can clearly see all the mechanics at work. Also the way each of the Hero Goal Sequences is broken down into the kind of events that might happen in each and why, with at least two examples from film scripts for each point. For the student this is pure gold. Didn't get the point after one example? Here's another. Can't see how it all fits together? Check out the movie plan of "Up" at the end of the book broken down into its component parts. The student is not left feeling stupid because she can't work out what the author means because Eric Edson doesn't just make a statement without backing it up. He doesn't assume you'll get it - he first tells you the point then shows it to you in action. Like another reviewer elsewhere I was irritated by the registered trademark symbol that occurred after every instance of the phrase "Hero Goal Sequences". It distracted me and was unnecessary. But that was a small thing compared to the usefulness of the book as a whole. Eric Edson knows his stuff and, what's more to the point, is great at communicating that to an audience. I recommend this book highly for anyone who wants to become a better writer.

Professor Eric Edsen, does a great job in presenting how best to write a film play ,or any fiction. He proposes a method that is at once difficult to write but easily understood in terms of how to do it. I am following his guidance and find it delightful, but know in my heart that it will take a while to get it right. Some of his writing processes may well apply to writing non-fiction as well. I highly recommend his book as it will certainly provide the insight from many years of writing experience and observations.

I have many writing reference books on my shelf, but this one seems to be resonating better then the others. Maybe it's because of the many examples; I don't know, just know that I'm enjoying this one more then some of the others I've read.

Heroes. They drive your story. Whether their name is Shrek, Luke Skywalker or George Bailey - they are the characters the audience relates to, understands and becomes as the story progresses. You cannot cut your hero short. They MUST accomplish their goals. Eric Edson does a fantastic job of going over the basics of screenwriting (structure, dialogue, arc, heroes v. villains) before diving into the main concept of his book: The Hero Goal Sequence (c). This is where this book takes off. Diving headlong into the reality of heroes, Mr. Edson explores the core 23 Steps your hero MUST take to accomplish their goal. Using the Hero Goal Sequence (c) paradigm - Mr. Edson defines for the reader/writer the steps it will take for your hero to accomplish his/her goal. He then breaks them down per act, giving the reader/writer a clear understanding of what must happen when and where and for how long. In all the books I've read, I've not seen this definition taken to the lengths that Mr. Edson takes it. And as much the definition may cause others to pause - he gives plenty of examples to hold up his side of the argument. That your hero MUST take these steps to accomplish their goal(s), thus creating a story that resonates and has impact beyond just the final credits. And this is where the book excels. Using these examples as concrete evidence, it's hard to argue the points when he makes them so clearly. Then, taking it one step beyond, he uses exercises to help the reader/writer to really understand the concepts and take their hero(es) to another level. Many books on screenwriting will gloss over, or just lightly touch, on the hero's journey - Eric Edson dives in with a depth rarely seen. The Story Solution takes apart the journey with thoughtful insight and relevance - you'll be amazed at what you find.

If you've ever read a book on screenwriting, you know that you're nowhere without some sort of story map, some sort of guideline to keep your writing sharp, tight, and filled with meaning so that the reader/audience will be captured at once and will have no choice but to accompany you on the journey you've created. Many of these "maps" fall short of actually helping you stay on course, sequence by sequence, so that there are no story gaps. Eric Edson's "The Story Solution" is the real deal. It's the only toolbox you'll need to help you create a compelling story with characters that jump off the page and get you noticed as a writer. After all, isn't that what we're all looking for?

In The Story Solution, Eric Edson presents a clear, concise, step-by-step manual that will help you to craft your best screenplay yet. There are A LOT of books out there that claim to make you a better screenwriter. This one actually lives up to its promise. It is a fantastic guide to help you through the herculean task of creating a page-turning, commercially viable screenplay. I highly recommend that you purchase it. You will be thrilled with the results you get.

This amazing book is exactly what its title promises. It details plot twists, or pivotal moments, specifically when and where they must be placed in order to drive the story. Mr. Edson does this by analyzing the plotting of a thousand successful movies and he succeeds in uncovering the crucial element build for a compelling narrative. It"s an exhaustive piece of work that can save any fiction writer from going down that long, wrong, road toward a dead end.

After reading a variety of "How-To" books on screenwriting, I thought I knew a lot about screen story. I didn't. This is the only book that will walk you through the specific steps your hero must take in order for you to create a successful Hollywood script!

The Story Solution shines a light on a formula hidden within Hollywood blockbusters and lays it out in a neat and simple way. Anyone from the beginners to professionals will walk away with great insight into what captivates an audience on screen and how to make sure that you don't forget to include it in your own work. There is no Ultimate Formula to writing Blockbusters but this is certainly a leap in the right direction.

There are so many screenwriting books on the market, but there are few that bring a new approach to storytelling. This book will make you look at movies in a whole new way and give you the key understanding to help bring your ideas to life. If you know anything about screenplay writing, you're probably already aware of the 3 Act structure, blah, blah, blah...this book dives into the nuts and bolts as to the "how" and the "why". The author introduces us to Hero Goal Sequences, an approach I have found to be extremely helpful. Now, my piles and piles of notes of my scattered ideas now have the tools to become a successful screenplay.


I have been writing using Prof. Edson's theories (as contained in this long-awaited book) for the past 3 years. I can honestly say that it brought my writing to an entirely new level. I used his methodology to craft the story for my recently-released feature film, "

I don't like reading, but I love writing... Yes I know, those two don't typically work that way. However, I have read this book twice and review my notes in it every time I'm about to start working on a new idea for a screenplay.

I'm a professional screenwriter and took Eric Edson's class at UCLA several times when I was working towards my certificate in screenwriting because it was simply the best class in structure I'd ever taken. Each semester we analyzed new movies according to his breakdown and it really clicked for me more than just hearing about 3 acts, or 8 sequences that others teach. Eric Edson's breakdown is precise, accurate, and helped me rewrite every one of my scripts. I've used my notes from his classes all those years ago, and was thrilled to find his book at the UCLA bookstore the other day as it contains all the same class information plus much more. Once again, it is helping me figure out what I need to do to fix my latest scripts. Thank you Professor Edson. One of these days I'll owe you a shout out from the Academy Awards!

Excellent explicit guide to character development and one of the clearest distillations of structure that I have read, with examples from well known films

As screenwriters, we often start with a great premise or an unforgetable hero. We know some of the conflicts our character must endure in his goal pursuit and the perfect climax. Often though, we are lost in Act II as we work out all the series of events that must take this character through his or her trials. This book will help screenwriters find their second act, and furthermore, help writers avoid passive heroes (a common problem). Are the steps easy to learn? As with anything, it requires a little dedication and effort. You have to approach the book with a sincere desire to learn why other screenplays have been successful. The book breaks down the individual hero goal sequences from numerous films. Edson shows how an active hero goes through phases in his journey, but never ceases to employ some type of effort to attain the goal. Once you analyze the pattern, easily found in many major films, you can see why a book like this was an essential addition to any discussion of film structure. Also, it's a good troubleshooting guide for rewriting a script. Edson's section on character will help you find the missing link between your character arc and his goal pursuit. Or perhaps you're having trouble establishing a midpoint, leading up to the finals strive towards your Act II turning point. Use the sequences to decipher where your screenplay leads your character and how. Then you'll be able to isolate how certain scenes might not build to this midpoint or the turning point in a dramatic way. Thus, this book proves an important text for any serious screenwriter looking for a solidly structured screenplay with active heroes and a high stakes, engaging goal pursuit.

Eric Edson's book does a masterful job of taking a difficult and complex subject like story structure and breaks it down into an easy to comprehend rubric. I especially love the plethora of examples from past films showing his "Hero Goal Sequences" at work. Sure, Syd Field can tell you roughly where your act breaks could be in your script, but Edson's book delves deeper into the nitty-gritty of the path your hero needs to take to achieve their goal, and he does it wonderfully.

We've all said some variation of the following while watching a crappy movie: "I can write a movie WAY better than this!" Admit it, you have. But have you ever actually tried to sit down and write a 110 page screenplay that makes the reader stay focused from start to finish and by the end they are begging you to find a way to make your script into a movie? Probably not. The reason isn't that your idea sucks, more than likely it's because your story lacks a sense of focus, depth, and momentum. We've all seen movies that lose out interest and even make us leave the theater wondering why anyone wasted their time and money to bring what you just saw to the big screen. Sometimes it's the studio making a movie ultimately suck; but a majority of the time it all goes back to the fundamentals of story. A lot of books - and I mean A LOT of books - have been written about screenwriting. Syd Field, Robert McKee, John Truby, Blake Snyder, Linda Seger, and host of others have mined the mysterious fields of the screenplay in order to tell new and experienced writers the perfect formula for writing a selling script. While these books do their best to make simplify a very complex process, they often become caught up in their own rhetoric and make the new writer so self-aware of rules, formulas, formats, charts and graphs that they freeze and give up without writing a word. So how do you go from frozen in time with your fingers poised over the keys to actually writing and completing a draft of a screenplay? The answer lies in Eric Edson's The Story Solution. This book breaks each aspect of a screenplay down into bite-size pieces that enable the writer to carefully construct their story and have it fully formed before they ever start to write in script format. What I liked best about the book was that it was very conversational. You never feel as if Edson is speaking down to you like some masterful oracle who knows more than you. He uses current films to exemplify his points and he does something other screenwriting books rarely do: he actually has examples of films that DIDN'T work and explains why. While it's nice to learn about The Godfather and why it's a well-structured film, it's also nice to see why other films don't have the amount of story or other aspects needed in order to make them a commercial success. And it makes sense that a film that has a solid story, strong hero, and even stronger villain can generate plenty of success at the box office. Edson shows the reader how to create a protagonist (hero) that audiences will like, how to make that hero change over the course of the film, and what types of characters can be used to help the hero along his journey. I really liked his emphasis on the villain and his explanations as to why the antagonist is so important and instrumental to the overall structure and development of the story and its hero. After a general overview of screenplay/story structure, we get into the meat and potatoes of Edson's genius: Hero Goal Sequences. He posits that each well-written screenplay contains 23 of these sequences that help guide your hero and the audiences through the course of the story. How exactly does it work? Does it really work on any commercially successful film? Edson not only explains in great detail how it works but also uses more than enough examples from commercially successful movies to prove his point. And you know what? It actually works! Each chapter is filled with exercises that allow you to try out Edson's methodology before you even begin the oftentimes harrowing journey into writing an actual script. Once you gain the confidence needed to go forward and take those first few steps you'll quickly come to realize that Edson's approach is an excellent guide to making your story come alive. Not only is the book an ideal must-read for screenwriters and novelists, but it's also a great book for those who just love and enjoy film. I learned a lot about story structure and character that has since made me a more critical thinker when it comes to watching films. Being able to identify and analyze a movie on a deeper level is something that this book enables you to do and in turn makes you a participant in your viewing experience. The Story Solution is a fantastic and entertaining read, a solid instructional tool, and a great way to delve deeper into the world of screenwriting and film. I highly recommend it.

I had a lot of material to somehow shoehorn into an action plot with multiple subplots. External and internal journies with character growth. This book enabled me to break the story down to hero sequences that generated action and emotional character arcs. A big help

This is a book every screenwriter should keep nearby when working on a script. The analogy of screenplay to myth is both helpful and illuminating; it reminds me of Neil Gaiman's illustrated children's book, Instructions, which symbolizes through mythical figures the journey every hero must take in a well-told story. It also echoes Joseph Campbell's Hero of a Thousand Faces, but gives closer inspection to the individual steps of the hero's journey in a contemporary context. It's impossible to look at movies the same way now; I see these 23 steps in all sorts of films (and not just the ones covered in the book). Already I've started incorporating this paradigm into my own writing process; not only have I seen improvements in the strength of my story structure, but all of my characters (let alone the heroes) have more depth. My writing looks and feels more professional, and I'm more confident about achieving success as a screenwriter and bringing evocative, compelling stories to the screen.

This is a MUST READ for anyone out there wondering how to write a good screenplay. In today's world of too many screenplay books to choose from I'll make it easy for you - just read this one. It breaks things down simply and elegantly. There's a reason why some scripts are just okay and some scripts are truly great. This guy teaches you how to write the truly great kind. You will not be disappointed!!

Mr Edson theory about screenplay structure is one of the most important tools every screenplay writer should know, very simple to understand. I bought his book and watched all his YOUTUBE Film Courage virtual classes and personal interviews; he is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Another helpful angle on screenwriting. I found it helpful for focusing what happens between the well-known way stations. Worth the read.

packed with useful information

The beginning, covering basic structure, is great for first-time screenwriters. The 23 actions are brilliant and a great way to check yourself as you write and especially as you do your revisions. One of the best for structure.

Whether you're a novice, or seasoned professional, "The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take" is a must have in your arsenal. Easy to understand, full of examples, and guidance from an established juggernaut in the industry. I highly recommend this, this treasure.

This book is ment to be APPLIED. While some books you can simply absorb the necessary information and move on, here it is not the case. The template in Eric's paradigm is ment to be studied and mulled over. Mastery of its content applied to the vast quantities of scripts in identifying there story structure elements. Even if you've already bought into another system of screenwriting structure (a.k.a, John Truby) I would still strongly recommend giving it a chance. Plot is story, it's amazing to see how this system Eric has devised/found applies to so many (if not all good) stories. If you aren't Steven King and can't unbury the treasures of your story, or simply don't have the time. Invest in the formula - it won't be everything you need but it will point you to exactly where you need to be.

Extremely helpful, in all regards and at all stages.

An absolute must for writers who utilize and respect the use of an outline. These tools can be used at the micro and macro level which I really enjoy. You can get some help with a brief outline, or use it to create an extremely detailed point-by-point plot with character arcs built-in and ready to go. A great buy!

Really opened up the inner workings of narrative storytelling—I’m hooked. Now, I’m off to work with this little volume laying open while I type!

Usual knowledge not found in any other screenwriting book I've read, and I've read many. An easy read with current examples in film.

I've read a lot of books on writing. Story Solution is definitely one you want to consider adding to your library. While, yes, it might lead you into the dangerous realms of formulaic writing; it is packed full of integral writing advice. All the points you need to consider, as a writer of novels or screenplays. Story Solution is easy to understand. It delivers on its promise of offering a solution to any writing problem by showing you how to structure a story that works. All the necessary parts of a story you NEED to consider are touched upon here. Dozens of movie plots are used as examples. If nothing, the book is an interesting examination of movie plots. Put it this way: if you follow this book's advice, you'll probably start pumping out stories people would want to read pretty quickly. Stories that make sense, follow a cohesive structure, and present interesting characters. Whether you read this book or not, check out these excellent guides for writers: 1) Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing by David Morrell (Newest edition has a slightly different title.) 2) On Writing by Stephen King 3) Self-Editing for Fiction Writers 3) Outlining Your Novel by Weiland 4) Scene & Structure by Bickham 5) Any of Chuck Weltig's books on writing 6) Anne Rice's advice on writing from her Youtube page These should get your brain-engine overheating. Enjoy. 🙂

Stories are challenging to write, whether you’re a screenwriter or a novelist. You might have a good idea for how a story could begin, but the middle of the story tends to knock many writers off their game. There are many great books on story structure because structure is what helps many writers get through the slogging middle of their story. Eric Edson’s Story Solution looks at many of the most popular stories and films and digs deep into their underlying structure to show you how you can make structure work for your story. Edson begins the book by laying a solid foundation for storytelling and screenwriting in particular. He argues for storytellers to seek to give audience members an emotional experience through story. He shows how to do this by discussing the role of conflict in story and Story Solution Highlights Edson’s chapter on dialogue is top notch, giving 11 solid principles for writing great dialogue. This is also part of a section on creating great characters, which is also helpful. The most important section of the book is Edson’s Hero Goal Sequences paradigm. He breaks up the major moments of any story into 23 sequences. It’s a helpful paradigm because it shows how the protagonist of a story chases one smaller physical goal as a step toward his main goal until he receives some new information that marks the end of his pursuit of the smaller goal. The end of one goal sequence is followed by the next. I’ve always struggled with how to create sequences of scenes in my stories and how the scenes tie together. The Story Solution went a long way in helping me understand the sequence breakdown of a story. If you’re struggling with how to structure a story you’re working on, Story Solution is a great resource. Review copy provided by Michael Wiese Productions

I've never reviewed anything on Amazon, but after reading this book, I felt compelled to do so. As an aspiring screenwriter, I searched high and low for the perfect book to guide me on my artistic journey. Needless to say, my shelves are full of numerous screenwriting books and materials. Although there are a few good books out there, most of them say the same thing... write in a three act structure, develop meaningful characters, and keep the audience entertained. Of course, all of this information is useful, but no other book will break down your story into 23 specific parts and walk you through each part in complete clarity like "The Story Solution" by Eric Edson. The good news is that my sense of story dramatically improved after reading this book. The bad news is that I wasted a lot of time and money searching for it. Save yourself the hassle and don't waste money on other screenwriting books (unless you're rich and can afford it). This is the only book you'll need!

Excellent book for writers.

What kind of a person actually dissects successful movies to identify their underlying structure? I'd say a scientist, which is an unusual way to characterize an artist. Yet, in my opinion, that's what Professor Edson certainly is. I thoroughly enjoyed his book and will carefully study it over the coming months to consider ways to improve scripts already written...and to outline stories yet to hit the page. This is a quite masterful work of art and science...and I'm serious about wanting to meet this author some day!

I've had the honor of being taught in person by this man, and I'm so happy that this book has finally been released. The techniques and lessons that you will learn from this book are very valuable to any writer. Whether you're trying to break on the scene or you're an already established writer, I will guarantee that you'll learn something that you didn't know before. GREAT READ!!!

This book will change the way you view character, action, and theme. It's clear, precise, and easy to follow. The elements shared within the pages of this book are priceless - if applied correctly, you'll be well on your way to becoming an excellent screenwriter. I have used his paradigm, applied it to a script I'm currently working on, and have seen the difference -- it's night and day. I suggest you purchase this book straightaway - don't think about it, don't pass go, just buy it. Study it. Apply it.

This is the best book on story writing I found. I've bought and read about 50 or so. THis is so precise in it's advice. The examples are so clear as well. It can be used almost like a checklist to see if you have all the elements you need to lift your story up and make people lean forward and want to know what happens next.

"Solution" alright ... for writers! Finally there's a book that provides essential tools for both beginner and expert writers alike. There are scores of screenwriting books out there (I've read most of them) but this one's approach should be read first before all of them. A cinematographer achieves focus via complex optics, lighting and lenses. For a writer to achieve focus, Mr. Edson explains how to critically focus on your hero's specific goals and purpose. To take your hero on an 'emotional' journey will definitely give you the writer (and reader/viewer) clarity like never before. "The Story Solution" has helped me to achieve better focus and structure with my screenwriting. I recommend that you read it, read it again and use it as a guide for all of your writing endeavors. Plus, it's fun!