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

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.

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.

Never before have I read a book about story structure that is THIS BRILLIANT. I've read books that encourage authors to write down a character's likes and dislikes, behavioural nuances, as well as other such hogwash. These books fail to realise that a character liking the colour blue and who flicks their hair when they're nervous DOES NOT make for a compelling character. Advice like this has lead to an abundance of hair-flicking Mary Sue characters who passively wade through their story until they accidentally stumble across The End. Eric distills characters down to their most important function. Reality is, stories shouldn't happen DESPITE the characters- stories should happen BECAUSE of the characters. Eric shows us how to do things right. "23 Actions"... although this book does detail these 23 actions in the latter part of the book, everything before this is also gold. I could never figure out why my dialogue was always so weak. Now I know. If you've ever suffered from a plot that flounders and sags half-way through, or had trouble bringing stories to a proper resolution, or had difficulty writing characters who make things happen, or if you've even suffered from writer's block, I recommend reading this book. The only writers I WOULDN'T recommend this book for are those who 1) are half-way through a book already (because reading this book will make you want to scrap everything and start over again, or 2) are greatly opposed to the idea of planning out your story in advance. This book still leaves the hard work up to the writer. But Eric sets the writer on the correct path. Needless to say, I've applied Eric's advice to my own work, and it's already 100 times stronger for it. I can't believe that following the advice of one book has had such a dramatic effect on the quality of my storytelling.

I just finished writing a screenplay using Eric Edson's Story Solution method. It is the best one I've turned out yet! My hero is active and the story really moves well. This book is a must read for the novice and experienced writer or reviewer who can't figure out what's wrong with a movie that they should love but don't. I highly recommend it.

I have a vast array of books on screenwriting... everyone offers the slightly different solution to the three act structure. Each lends a helping hand to lift me out of the hole I've dug for myself. Story Solution is another rung in my story structure library... enjoy

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

Excellent book for writers.

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!

This is one of the best screenwriting books I own, (and I own a lot of them). It gives you an in depth understanding of the necessary story elements to write a successful script. If you are a movie goer, you will find yourself nodding your head, as you recognize the ideas, elements and devices that each good movie you have seen possesses, but is somehow hard to recognize as you sit down at to write yourself. I highly recommend this book.

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.

I have read over 200+ books on screenwriting, a most difficult craft to master (I am still on this long journey's path!), most such books rehash the same old same old. Regardless of whatever how-to book(s) on screenwriting you have read so far, get a copy of this book as soon as you can and read it cover to cover. Twice. Three times. Aristotle's three acts, and the typical 8 or so plot points one learns from Syd Field, Michael Hauge, and others is fine for some fundamentals. Then there are a few books that even teach structuring a film minute by minute (literally, as in 120 story beats, a book I read recently). This approach, 23 sequences or beats, seems like the best yet. I already created a template with the 23 actions each hero must take, plugged in my outlined beats for a supernatural thriller I am currently writing, and it worked perfectly. Kudos to the author, Eric Edson, who obviously knows the craft-- he has written many feature screenplays, and also is a professor of screenwriting at UCLA-- who better to get down to business and share wisdom on the craft of proper story development.

Eric Edson was the best screenwriting teacher I had while at CSUN. His book is a reflection of that. Thanks for everything you taught me, Eric.

Unless you're Robert Towne, William Goldman or Paddy Chayefsky, this is a book you absolutely need to understand how stories on the screen are structured and impactive.

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.

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!

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 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.

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!

A great book. The book to have for any writer.

This is both a how-to guide and an I depth analysis of many blockbuster motion pictures. The 23 steps still follows classic 3 act structure with buildup to the midpoint and climax, so if you've read a lot of writing guides you may find there's not a whole lot that's new. But I've gotten a lot out of the simplistic way of looking at plot and logic in story telling. Eric Edson is an academic but doesn't write in academese or metaphor, just simple and clear descriptions and examples right out of mainstream movies.

Excellent book for keeping your story moving forward and not going off track. Highly recommend this book.

Extremely helpful, in all regards and at all stages.

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.

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.

"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!

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.

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.

Eric Edson was my professor, and I can testify first hand, because I received notes from this book before it was published. I sat in his classroom and couldn't believe this innovative information that I knew was going to become monstrous once it was revealed to all. He has researched films throughout the years and has found a method in understanding what makes a box office hit, structurally tells you how to do this, in a way that no one yet, even the greats, have fully tapped into. My screenwriting approach will never be the same again. It allows you to find an incredible answer to structure, character, story, everything that makes a script wow the reader, and frees you all at the same time. This book is for all writers, veteran, newcomer, and in between. I personally have benefited in the industry as I have put my projects out there, and I can tell you, this works. It wows. And if you truly follow it, and let it liberate you as a writer, you will fly to places you never thought possible. BUY THIS BOOK!

As an aspiring screenwriter I found "THE STORY SOLUTION" by Eric Edson an amazing resource. This book is an easy read and very helpful. I'm going back to my first three screenplays and applying what I learned from, Eric to improve my stories.


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

The work in this book should do away forever to any excuses you make not to write. Now you have the path forward laid out to you in the brilliant light of discovery. Edson's easy to read analysis fills in the gaps left by other great pioneers on story structure, like Syd Field, John Truby and Chris Vogler. Finally, you are shown what to do to make any story idea come alive. We are all benefited by this remarkable book. Go forward. Read and succeed.

Wonderful, helpful book on screenwriting. This book has helped me immensely in writing my own screenplay, which I quickly realized I was lost in and I needed some education on it. I took a lot of notes while reading The Story Solution, which is so practical in its guide for writing. It doesn't teach a formula for stories, but it very plainly says, "A hero must have this goal, then another, then these complications must happen," etc., and there are virtually infinite variations for that to keep the audience's interest. That to me makes it more helpful than more abstract books about screenwriting (though those can be very helpful, too). And it's a fun and exciting read. I loved it and will probably re-read it several times.

Eric Edson backs up his Story Solution with deep and wide research of all the movies you've seen and many others. If you want to understand what makes a box office hit, read this book. I read it twice and took notes and it changed everything. Now I know why I enjoy some movies and could care less about others.

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.

the book is well written and shows the way to build a great script. If you have a great idea, buy the book and start writing, the book will show you the way.

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.

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's method is great for writing a heart-racing, fast-paced action/thriller. It won't work for every genre, but think "The Sons of Katie Elder" or "Back to the Future" type scripts. The five top books in my script writer's tool box is this one, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, Story by Mckee, Screenwriter's Bible by David Trottier and Anatomy of a Premise Line by Jeff Lyons. All different approaches for the same or different genres and types of scripts.

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!

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.

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!

With STORY SOLUTION, Eric Edson gives 20-23 (no less than, no greater than) steps that your protagonist must make to have a clear, tight, meaningful story. Don't worry, there's plenty of room for creativity; just check any of your favorite movies---they ALL follow these steps in one way or another. ***FOR BEGINNING SCREENWRITERS: Please don't make the same mistake as me in buying over a dozen books on screenwriting. To be honest, there's more than OVER a dozen good books on screenwriting. But, as happened with me, it's easy to get into READING about writing instead of doing what writers do…….write. For this reason, to save you time and money, I strongly recommend purchasing this book AND Inside Story: The Power of The Transformational Arc (by Dara Marks). The two books give you the BIGGEST advantage in avoiding two of the biggest pitfalls: Weak structure (Story Solution) and deep, emotional story that hooks us from the beginning with CHARACTERS that we care about (Inside Story). I don't mean to recommend the additional book as a knock on SS; I just really find that SS does an EXCELLENT job on structure. Inside Story does an EXCELLENT job on THEME, which Marks blends AMAZINGINGLY into story. But, to return to SS: Over 80% of the screenplays that have issues, poor structure and bland protagonists fill that pile. Make it to the next round of that famous screenwriting contest and purchase this book. Once again, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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.

The best book I've ever bought!

As an aspiring screenwriter, I've struggled with two aspects of the craft most, why do some characters engage us and other don't? Once you have your catalyst and act breaks, where do you go from there? Eric Edson's book is an invaluable solution to get you through the "fog" of figuring these things out for your story. While most screenwriting books only concentrate on the act breaks, Eric covers this and also guides you through everything that happens in between. Learning and knowing these steps really frees one up to concentrate on the story they actually want to tell. In addition, Eric demonstrates character traits all compelling characters exhibit, a great asset to keep your audience or reader engaged in your story. While many screenwriting books give you a compass of sorts, Eric provides a map that will help you avoid the swamps and pitfalls of the dreaded second act. In addition, he'll help you build your protagonist in a way that will keep him/her in the audience's hearts. I had the privilege of learning from some of Eric's graduate classes and The Story Solution in book form is the next best thing. With both classic and contemporary examples to illustrate the solution, I heartily recommend this book for any writer's tool box.

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.

STOP! Save yourself countless wasted hours and don't start writing your screenplay until you've got your 23 Hero Goal sequences firmly in mind! Edson distills the classic screenplay paradigm into a series of steps every hero must take to reach their ultimate goal. This book will keep your narrative on track and accelerating towards an explosive conclusion. Unlike the stacks of novice screenwriting books that cover the same theoretical ground over and over, this book lays down an industry veteran's practical rules for overcoming the real-life screenwriting obstacles we all face.

Eric Edson has unlocked a formula any aspiring/professional screenwriter or revisionist must have in their skill set. Many screenplays have great stories, but lack the pacing required to become a major Hollywood film. These proven 23 actions are seen time and time again throughout many major box office hits such as Die Hard and Collateral (to name a few). By using this method, any story will keep the viewer/reader on the edge of their seat wanting to know what will happen next. Hats off to Eric Edison for discovering a beautiful solution to one of the most common problems for any major Hollywood screenplay.

packed with useful information