22 May 2011

Book Review: The Story Book by David Baboulene

Anyone who wants to develop their story writing skills will want to read this book. That’s not the what author David Baboulene calls the ‘log line’ that hooks you in - it is my own view after reading The Story Book.

An interesting exploration of the roots of story making is developed through clever and detailed analysis of some unexpected works, such as character development in Toy Story and plot structure in Back to the Future.

David enjoys challenging the reader (yes I fell for most of the set ups), making you want to return to earlier sections and re-read them. If you want to be provoked into really thinking about your approach to writing stories, this is definitely the book for you.

One thing I can promise is that you will never think about subtext in quite the same way again. David’s key point is that many writers think they must write the subtext to deliver the underlying story – but they should focus on ‘knowledge gaps’. These are the different perceptions of participants in any story. Knowledge gaps are the key to delivering the subtext – without which, he suggests, ‘your story has no soul.’

David’s experience as a writer and author shines through when he goes on to consider how to present your work to agents and publishers. I was amused by the irony of the fact that he makes no mention of ebooks or social networking – yet I was only reading The Story Book because I found it through Twitter and it was a single click download from Amazon - and this is one book that will stay on my Kindle reader for a long time.

Author David Baboulene is based in Brighton and works as a story consultant with aspiring and established writers and producers. He is providing seminars on story principles throughout the UK and in Los Angeles in 2011 and has a monthly column in Writing Magazine and Writers' News.

Useful links:

Subtext – The Most Critical Tool in the Story-Teller’s Box (from David's blog)

http://www.baboulene.com/  'Mastering the Art of Story'

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