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Stealing Fire from the Gods: The Complete Guide to Story for Writers and Filmmakers, 2nd Edition Paperback – July 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 2nd edition (July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932907114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932907117
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bonnet, founder of Astoria Filmwright.

More About the Author

James Bonnet is an internationally known writer, teacher and story consultant. He lives in Los Angeles, but he grew up in New York City and has been a professional writer for more than 40 years. He started out as an actor in the Tony Award winning hit Broadway show, Sunrise at Campobello, creating the role of James Roosevelt, the eldest son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He landed his first professional writing assignment when he was 23, writing for the television series, It's A Man's World. Ever since that time he has been creatively driven by only one thing: discovering the secrets that underlie great stories. He was elected twice to the Board of Directors of the Writer's Guild of America and has written or acted in more than forty television shows and features. Recently he was honored with a Writer's Guild of America award for his writing contribution to the hit television series, Barney Miller. The important new ideas about story in his book Stealing Fire from the Gods: The Complete Guide to Story For Writers And Filmmakers are having a major impact on writers in all media. In his forthcoming book, Cracking the Story Code: he will thoroughly analyze fifty of the world's greatest stories and the extraordinary secrets they reveal about ourselves, our psychology and our evolutionary path.
Since 1990 he has been conducting intensive weekend story seminars in Los Angeles, and consulting with screenwriters, producers, directors, novelists, lawyers, psychologists, and corporations. Since 2006 he has been holding workshop/retreats in France and Santa Monica and teaching in Paris, London and Singapore. His book has been taught in university courses around the world.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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We've all read the screenwriting books.
Ted Perkins
Jim Bonnet shows how the threat is key to story because it creates all the critical elements of story and brings the story into being.
Steve Neiderhauser
I wanted to really understand this book, but I don't know if that's possible as a neophyte screenwriter.
Fred

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Terry on August 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
When I open a book to read and review I often put myself into the mindset of either a student in my class with their new idea and passion to write - or I compare what I'm reading to whatever project I'm currently working on. For "SFFTG" - I fell into the former.

When I get first time writers in my class they usually show up with TONS of passion mixed with very little idea. Something they heard, a family friend story, a true life adventure they went on and they want to write it. Then, during my class, we go through the process of fleshing out their idea into something cohesive. Hopefully ending up with a fully fleshed out idea that they can now go write. I do not psychoanalyze what they are putting into the idea. We do not deal with issues of conscious versus subconscious, metaphors and archetypes or dealing with the quintessential character. Mostly, we are just trying to show character, build conflict, create momentum and complete the story.

What James Bonnet does in his book, though, is deal with that subconscious. He deals with the metaphors, the archetypes. The journey of hero and the antihero.

Using a device entitled "The Story Wheel" he shows the journey of the hero to antihero. He shows the upside of a story and the downside of a story. He does not push a belief that you need to write one or the other - he really explains, in clear language, the path of story. A path you may not really realize you are on (subconscious).

He also does a great job of giving you examples of both types of story in film. How "The Godfather" is a story of an antihero while "Star Wars - Episode IV" is a classic story of a hero called to do great things. Much like Frodo in "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I initially came upon Mr. Bonnet's book through a round-about manner. I had written my first novel and feeling very ambitious, I was going to learn how to write the screenplay for it. After taking an online screenwriting class, the teacher posted an article written by Mr. Bonnet on his website. From that article, I found Mr. Bonnet's website, storymaking. After seeing the 1st edition of Stealing Fire From the Gods, I ordered it from Amazon. As soon as it was in my hands, I couldn't put it down. I absorbed the book's content and in the process, I let go my ego about the book I had written and took off the rose-colored glasses which revealed all the flaws in my story. I was fired up to apply what I had learned from the book but the information didn't completely gel inside my head until I flew to Studio City and took Mr. Bonnet's weekend seminar, The Master Class. It made all the difference and that was a year and a half ago.

If you are a writer of novels or screenplays, you must purchase this book. Its insights will help elevate your writing. Stealing Fire from the Gods is meant to be highlighted up, passages marked for reference. It is the roadmap to your story without it being formulaic. Mr. Bonnet gives many, many examples from popular, well-done films to illustrate his teachings as well as examples from events in history that fall into the story pattern he's uncovered. I believe the examples he uses are the most important elements in the book because if you are familiar with the film, book, or history examples, you immediately make the association with the material.

Just last month, in October, I returned to Studio City as Mr. Bonnet's guest in his weekend class and I placed in his hands a copy of the novel that came out of me as a result of his first class.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ted Perkins on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
We've all read the screenwriting books. We're reminded about how technically specific the writing needs to be. We're simultaneously horrified and execerbated by what the money-making writers do/did/will do to sell their manuscripts. And then out of the blue, you read Jim's book. And you're reminded of the beauty and wonder of the process we all used to call storytelling (before the idea got restocked under "selling"). Read this book twice. You won't get it the first time. Once you do, you'll stop thinking about the quick buck, and your creative aspirations merge with the likes of such greats as Chayefski, Schulberg and Mamet. It's hard to admit that we have so much to learn. It's refreshing to know STEALING FIRE FROM THE GODS teaches it to us.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steve Neiderhauser on July 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This edition of Stealing Fire from the Gods presents several new key concepts that will help you gain a deeper understanding of the storymaking process.

Key concepts include the high concept and the threat. Jim Bonnet shows how the threat is key to story because it creates all the critical elements of story and brings the story into being. Indeed, the threat (for example, the shark in Jaws) provides the resistance that creates the classical structure.

In addition, story diagrams have been updated. Through images, you're now able to see how the whole story passage and the hero's journey relate to the story focus.

The structure of the story focus is explained and Jim's thought leadership is showcased through his critical analysis of the three-act structure. Instead of the three-act structure, look at story through the eyes of the problem. Hollywood execs, however, are stuck on three acts, so you also learn how to pitch your idea in three acts.

From archetypes to zenith, the concepts in this book are powerful tools for the beginning or experienced storymaker. If you want to create great stories, this is the book to begin and end with.
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