Since we first arrived on the planet, we’ve been telling each other stories, whether of that morning’s great saber-tooth tiger hunt or the latest installment of the Star Wars saga. And throughout our history, despite differences of geography or culture, we’ve been telling those stories in essentially the same way. Why?

Because there is a RIGHT way to tell a story, one built into our very DNA.

In his seminal work Poetics, Aristotle identified the patterns and recurring elements that existed in the successful dramas of his time as he explored precisely why we tell stories, what makes a good one, and how to best tell them.

In Classical Storytelling and Contemporary Screenwriting, Brian Price examines Aristotle’s conclusions in an entertaining and accessible way and then applies those guiding principles to the most modern of storytelling mediums, going from idea to story to structure to outline to final pages and beyond, covering every relevant screenwriting topic along the way.

The result is a fresh new approach to the craft of screenwriting—one that’s only been around a scant 2,500 years or so—ideal for students and aspiring screenwriters who want a comprehensive step-by-step guide to writing a successful screenplay the way the pros do it.

section I|16 pages

A Prologue

chapter One|2 pages


What You Hold in Your Hand

chapter Two|2 pages

Aristotle’s Poetics

It’s All Greek to Me

chapter Three|5 pages

Motivating Factors

Why We Tell Stories

chapter Four|4 pages

Starting the Journey

Defining the Road Ahead

section II|27 pages

A Beginning

chapter Five|4 pages


And I’m Sticking to It

chapter Six|6 pages


Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

chapter Seven|3 pages


People Who Write Should Throw Stones

chapter Eight|2 pages


We Need Some Closure

chapter Nine|5 pages


It All Boils Down to One Thing

chapter Ten|3 pages


Putting It All Together (Part 1)

section III|106 pages

A Middle

chapter Eleven|4 pages


Let’s Stay Connected

chapter Twelve|4 pages

Reversals and Recognitions

Pieces of the Action

chapter Thirteen|3 pages

Change of Fortune

Covenant of the Arc

chapter Fourteen|5 pages

Fatal Flaw

And the Plot Thickens

chapter Fifteen|3 pages


The Shape of Things to Come

chapter Sixteen|4 pages

The Three Acts

Let’s Break It Down

chapter Seventeen|9 pages

Anchor Points

A Pattern of Design

chapter Eighteen|4 pages


The Agents of the Action

chapter Nineteen|4 pages

Defining Traits

What’s Good and Appropriate

chapter Twenty|7 pages

The 5 Ps

They Help Build Character

chapter Twenty-One|5 pages

Motivating Behavior


chapter Twenty-Two|3 pages

Structure Revisited

Filling in the Gaps

chapter Twenty-Three|6 pages


Stepping Stones of Act One

chapter Twenty-Four|8 pages


Stepping Stones of Act Two

chapter Twenty-Five|5 pages


Stepping Stones of Act Three

chapter Twenty-Six|8 pages

Stepping Stones

Building the Great Pyramids

chapter Twenty-Seven|14 pages

Beat Sheets

Putting It All Together (Part 2)

section IV|52 pages

An End

chapter Twenty-Eight|5 pages


The Building Blocks

chapter Twenty-Nine|16 pages


What You See Is What You Get

chapter Thirty|8 pages


What You Say Is What You Get

chapter Thirty-One|3 pages

Dialogue Continued

Still More Left to Say

chapter Thirty-Two|6 pages


Ah, the Lovely White Space

chapter Thirty-Three|6 pages


Putting It All Together (Part 3)

chapter Thirty-Four|4 pages

First Draft

And You’re Finally Done

section V|19 pages

A Resolution

chapter Thirty-Five|8 pages


Ha! You Thought You Were Done

chapter Thirty-Six|4 pages


What’s It All About, Ari?

chapter Thirty-Seven|5 pages


Bringing It All Back Home