How to Tell a Story: The Secrets of Writing Captivating Tales by Peter Rubie and Gary Provost is an excellent book.
It was first published in 1998, three years after one of the authors’ death in 1995. Peter Rubie, the remaining writer, finished and published the book regardless.
I’ll start this off by saying this: I dislike reading nonfiction books, especially instructive books like this. And yet, this one pulled me in when I saw it on the library shelf, and I enjoyed reading it.
This book is surprisingly short, considering the massive field its title says it covers. It does indeed cover the secrets to writing a good story, holding up quite well to its title.
It covers everything you need to know, from pacing, to plot, to character creation, with a useful, quick overview in the last chapter to remind you of what you’ve read.
All the information was presented in a concise, understandable manner, with examples and exercises at the end of the chapters to do, relating to the contents of the chapter. After the last chapter, there is what is labeled as an appendix (personally, I would have just called it ‘Chapter 14’) about writing a book proposal.
Some of the examples didn’t quite make sense to me, as they were referring to movies and books that I was unfamiliar with, but once I read through them, they were quite fitting and helpful. One of my complaints about the examples was that The Fugitive was used as an example a lot. It’s not really a problem, since I didn’t really ever plan to watch the movie, but if I had, it would be just about as good as spoiled by now =P
Overall, How to Tell a Story is a wonderful, simple book that has everything a beginning author needs to write a convincing, page-turning story. If you’re planning to write a story, be it a novel, short story, nonfiction or fantasy, be sure to read this book!
Once you start reading, it’s a fairly easy read that can be finished quickly. I highly recommend this book :]
Thanks for reading, and talk to you soon,
P.S. Reviewing nonfiction books is really hard >.< I promise a better review next time!