> Skip to content
  • Published: 4 April 2013
  • ISBN: 9781846146442
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

Into The Woods

How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them

A revelation of the fundamental structure and meaning of all stories, from the head of the BBC Writers' Academy

We all love stories. But why do we tell them? And why do all stories function in an eerily similar way? John Yorke, creator of the BBC Writers' Academy, has brought a vast array of drama to British screens. Here he takes us on a journey to the heart of storytelling, revealing that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative forms - one that echoes the fairytale journey into the woods and, like any great art, comes from deep within. From ancient myths to big-budget blockbusters, he gets to the root of the stories that are all around us, every day.

  • Published: 4 April 2013
  • ISBN: 9781846146442
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

Praise for Into The Woods

Brimmingly insightful ... fresh, enlightening and accessible ... a gripping read from beginning to end

Robert Collins, Sunday Times

Terrifyingly clever ... Packed with intelligent argument

Evening Standard

So detailed and engaging is his methodology that any consumer of books, plays, TV or films will find the experience enhanced; and scriptwriters themselves will find useful guidance - because when you know the why, the how is natural

Robert Epstein, Independent on Sunday

This is a marvellous analysis of screenwriting and, with any luck, should help a great many people achieve their dreams

Julian Fellowes, writer/creator of Downton Abbey

Another book on screenwriting! Oh, how I wanted to hate it! I didn't. I loved it. Much of it was fresh to me. And always interesting, always intelligent and, for a writer, always rewarding

Jimmy McGovern, screenwriter, The Street and The Accused

In an industry full of so called script gurus and snake oil salesmen, at last there's a book about story that treats writers like grown ups. This isn't about providing us with an ABC of story or telling us how to write a script by numbers. It's an intelligent evaluation into the very nature of storytelling and is the best book on the subject I've read. Quite brilliant

Tony Jordan, screenwriter, Life on Mars and Hustle

Even for a convinced sceptic, John Yorke's book, with its massive field of reference from Aristotle to Glee, and from Shakespeare to Spooks, is a highly persuasive and hugely enjoyable read. It would be hard to beat for information and wisdom about how and why stories are told

Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director, The Globe Theatre

This book is intelligent, well written, incisive and, most of all, exciting. It is the most important book about scriptwriting since William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade

Peter Bowker, screenwriter, Blackpool, Occupation and Eric & Ernie

Part 'How-to' manual, part 'why-to' celebration, Into The Woods is a wide-reaching and infectiously passionate exploration of storytelling in all its guises ... exciting and thought-provoking

Emma Frost, screenwriter, The White Queen and Shameless

Into The Woods is an amazing achievement. It has a real depth and understanding about story, a fantastically broad frame of reference and it's interesting and absorbing throughout. Full of incredibly useful insights, every TV writer should read the first chapter alone

Simon Ashdown, series consultant, EastEnders

Testing the adage that "in theory there's no difference between theory and practice but in practice there is", this is a love story to story -- erudite, witty and full of practical magic. It's by far the best book of its kind I've ever read. I struggle to think of the writer who wouldn't benefit from reading it -- even if they don't notice because they're too busy enjoying every page

Neil Cross, creator of Luther and writer of Dr Who, Spooks and currently NBC's Crossbones

Books on story structure are ten a penny but Mistah Yorke's is the real deal

Kathryn Flett

All script-writers will want to read Into The Woods. All plots and archetypes BUSTED

Caitlin Moran

Got to say Into The Woods by John Yorke is marvellous. The prospect of another screenwriting book made me yawn, but its terrific ... It's a great read, wise and cogent, and a must for all screenwriters

David Eldridge

A mind-blower ... an incredibly dense but very readable tome about the art of storytelling ... Really worth a read

Lenny Henry, The Independent

I don't always enjoy books on writing, but Into the Woods by John Yorke is brilliant on story structure.

Ken Follett, author of 'The Pillars of the Earth'

Related titles