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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed by successful screenwriters and authors, Invisible Ink is a helpful, accessible guide to the essential elements of the best storytelling.

Brian McDonald, an award winning screenwriter who has taught his craft at several major studios, supplies writers with tools to make their work more effective and provides readers and audiences a deeper understanding of the storyteller's art.

When people think of a screenplay, they usually think about dialogue-the "visible ink" that is readily accessible to the listener, reader, or viewer. But a successful screenplay needs Invisible Ink as well, the craft below the surface of words. Invisible Ink lays out the essential elements of screenplay structure, using vivid examples from famous moments in popular movies as well as from one of his own popular scripts. You will learn techniques for building a compelling story around a theme, making your writing engage audiences, creating appealing characters, and much more.

©2010 Brian McDonald (P)2013 Open Book Audio

Critic Reviews

“...If I manage to reach the summit of my next story it will be in no small part due to having read Invisible Ink.” (Andrew Stanton, cowriter Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and cowriter/director Finding Nemo and WALL-E)
“...Brian McDonald uses his deep understanding of story and character to pass on essential truths about dramatic writing. Ignore him at your peril.” (Jim Taylor, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Sideways and Election)
“... I recommend this fine handbook on craft to any writer, apprentice or professional, working in any genre or form.” (Dr. Charles Johnson, National Book Award-winning author of Middle Passage)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • micah
  • BURBANK, CA, United States
  • 11-12-13

Wonderfully succinct!

What about Matt Armstrong’s performance did you like?

His voice didn't get in the way of the information, which is the most that can be asked considering the book is non-fiction. There were a few dramatic opportunities, and they were done well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Such a great book for anyone interested in learning about writing in general, and screenwriting or writing for graphic novels in particular. I'm an professional storyboard and comic artist that has many "story ideas" but has always been far too aware of my own lack of understanding of writing to actually bring those ideas to fruition. After listening to Mcdonald break down what makes a successful story, I already feel more aware of how to construct a successful story. Highly recommended!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A book about story structure that runs too long

The first part of five or six chapters of Invisible Ink are a fascinating and insightful look at the secrets of crafting compelling narratives. Unfortunately it quickly looses steam after that, becoming too obsessed with proving it's own theories and going back to the same stories for examples again and again. We get it, Jaws and E.T. are great movies, but there are lots of other sources for great structure out there. contrary to what the author says in this book the problem with the third act does not lie in the first act in this particular case. The problem is that we already know everything that the third act tries to reveal to us as readers.

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Good book and well narrated

A rare combination of a great book, very well performed! A must for spring writers.

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Insightful

This book was easy to understand with both the ideas and overall narration. And it illuminates​ the more subtle aspects of storytelling.

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Do yourself a favor… Download and listen repeatedly!

I have a listened to this audiobook from beginning to end seven or eight times so far. If you enjoy stories, and who doesn't, this book will help you understand and appreciate the fine art of story creation and will even help you enjoy books, movies, plays and many other vehicles of drama for the rest of your life. If you are interested in the power of stories to convey emotion that engages audiences of all types, this is a must read. I chose this book to help convey the mission and purpose of a tech start up business to investors, employees and customers. I will also use the tools and principles learned here when I retire and write a book series of the very stories I used to tell my children at that bedtime.

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great!

I'm looking for introductory books that explain how to think about story development and this is definitely that.

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great

accessible, easy, practical, insightful guide into dramatising craft. it won't go into the craft of scenes, beats, dialogues, but will focus on broader aspects of story.

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I now know the real reasons I like or dislike stories

This is the Bible of storytelling! Anyone who loves books, movies or stories of any kind should read/listen to this book. Brian helps us discover the reason why some stories resonate and others do not. I was hooked from the first few minutes. Anyone who wants to write, edit or critique stories should be required to first read this book.

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Bad Advice

Any additional comments?

I've read many books on writing, enough to know that this audiobook is mostly filled with bad advice. I've read many books on writing and the single most useful for either books or scripts would be The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters because the author just basically went around asking a bunch of successful Hollywood writers questions about their craft and published the best answers.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent advice for storytellers

Short and sweet ideas geared to screenwriting but suitable for all storytellers. Helpful in regards to what connects and keeps an audience engaged. Listen more than once.

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  • Julius
  • 10-16-15

If only there were more :(

This book gave much better understanding of story and its inner cog wheels and how it works and why. It gives me confidence to try write the story in an English language by being a foreigners. I was even shy to try it now I know all the basics and happy to give a shot :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Estrela Lourenco
  • 04-16-18

love how easy it is to listen this book!

A lot of things made sense and were brought down to the basics so beginners like me understand why we have the need to tell stories and how to tell them the best way we can!

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  • Rosek
  • 12-15-17

One of the best!

This is still one of the best books out there for storytelling. The narration is also great and lively.