SP provides salient advice to writers in this work, both in modeling and in meaningful content. He speaks to the cognitive, emotional, social, and financial challenges of literary expression. SP offers guidance specific to the writing of advertising, fiction, screenplay, and nonfiction works.
My biggest takeaways:
- Streamline your message. Focus it and pare it down to its simplest, clearest, easiest-to-understand form.
- Every work of art, writing included, must have a concept.
- Regardless of genre (even if giving a speech), adhere to the three-act structure, and tell a STORY.
- Write nonfiction as if it were a novel.
SP's fundamental recipe:
“1) Every work must be about something. It must have a theme. 2) Every work must have a concept, that is, a unique twist or slant or framing device. 3) Every work must start with an Inciting Incident. 4) Every work must be divided into three acts (or seven or eight or nine David Lean sequences). 5) Every character must represent something bigger than himself/herself. 6) The protagonist embodies the theme. 7) The antagonist personifies the counter-theme. 8) The protagonist and the antagonist clash in the climax around the issue of the theme. 9) The climax resolves the clash between the theme and the counter-theme.” (p.120)
My favorite quote:
“Nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up to you the object of your struggles only after you have paid her price.” (p. 165)