OneIntroduction

What You Hold in Your Hand

“Following, then, the order of nature, let us begin with the principles which come first.”

(Poetics, Part I)

First, let’s get straight what this book is not. It is not a new translation of Aristotle’s Poetics. Instead, it treats that indispensible treatise as a jumping off point, utilizing its enduring insights into classical storytelling to help contemporary writers turn their ideas into successful screenplays.

For that reason, while it certainly wouldn’t kill you to take a gander at Poetics, as I always advise my students to do as their first assignment, it is not necessary in order to get the most out of this book. When appropriate, I will be quoting pertinent passages and citing Aristotle’s ...

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