Every person who calls themselves a writer, needs to read this book. This is a fantastic book that walks through the reasons why nobody's listening or interested when we, the writer, start describing our fantastical, emotionally close, journeys that we take with the characters we create and the worlds we build.
We've all been there. Excited, exhilarated, talking animatedly about our latest adventure, but all we get is half-nods, glassy eyes, and partial, feigned interest.
Nobody wants to read your sh*t.
Steve explains that it's not that these people don't like you or your idea. People are just busy and uninterested.
How debilitating for us. We've spent time and energy on this project and we can't even get the people close to us to care.
Steve says we can.
Citing his years as an ad creator, Steve breaks down a couple of tips for getting people interested and flipping negatives into positives, examples of how to cut through the crap and deliver your message while being interesting. He says that people in advertising think of their work as a problem that needs to be solved. Then they come up with solutions.
For example, he tells about 7UP trailing behind Coca Cola in sales. People who wanted cola naturally gravitated to Coke so, 7UP started calling itself the UnCola. An alternative to Coke, something different, and on the same level.
Avis came in second to Hertz in car rentals, so they campaigned with, "We're second best, so we try harder."
Great examples that widened my perspective when thinking of advertising. Steve drives this point home by explaining the solution is often embedded in the problem. To find the solution, you need to understand the real, underlying problem.
Next, he goes on to describe how writing scripts shaped the way he wrote novels. He discovered the Three-Act Structure, The Hero's Journey, and sub-sections such as an Inciting Incident, Genre conventions, and writing characters like Stars. The Inciting Incident must also foreshadow the climax. Concepts for your stories must be clear and the reader must understand them.
All of these things are important to the story feeling whole. When they work together correctly, it "works" in the readers mind.
Shifting gears, this book has such a simple format, clear section titles, and short, simple explanations about the points he's trying to get across. The format makes the progression from point to point easy to follow and reference.
I love the way Steve writes concisely and without excess fluff. It makes the book seem heavier overall with the pure knowledge contained within, which in turn, makes me value it all the more.
I enjoy reading about Steve's experiences as a writer bumping around from place to place in his van, leading the "Artist" life, working till he saves enough money to write for a couple of years, learning to write ads and screenplays. All of his experiences taught him the principles he teaches in this book and it makes the text richer.
I'd definitely recommend this book to any writer. It's great for learning story devices and kicking ourselves in the butt to finish projects.