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BOOK REVIEW: FTN reviews Original Plots: The Unified Field Theory Of Storytelling by Bryan O’Neill

October 19th, 2012 by Michael McCaffrey Comments

Original Plots: The Unified Field Theory Of Storytelling
Written by: Bryan O’Neill
Published by: FastPencil, Inc

I have to admit, I had no idea where to start with this one. As a non-fiction book, I had no characters to critique, no arcs to describe, and no atmosphere to discuss. The unified field theory of storytelling is an attempt to bring together the author’s theories on the construction of good fiction, and I think he manages it quite well. As a reviewer with a non-literary background I must admit, it’s sometimes daunting to sit with a person’s creation in front of you, trying to dissect it purely from the perspective of an enthusiastic amateur.

Books like Bryan’s help people like me to understand the theory behind story creation, breaking it down. The first chunk of the book is centred solely on the mechanisms you would use to construct stories, the Five Act Structure, the use of World and Rule grids to create a framework, and it’s all explained very well.

Bryan then moves on to describe issues that various writers may encounter during their own attempts at writing, taking into account issues that you may not have even considered. For example, is your Supernatural fan fiction Canon? Probably not. Does it need to be? Nope. The point that he is making though, is that these issues need to be addressed regardless. You need to consider them, even if you decide to go a different direction.

I liked Bryan’s UFT. It’s written in language anyone can understand, and explains difficult concepts simply and without any kind of condescension and, fingers crossed, will lead to a few inspired stories in the future.

4 out of 5 Nerds

For more info check out Bryan’s website here, the book’s site here and watch out for our interview with Bryan in the coming weeks.


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Jeff, whose real name is Michael. It’s a funny story, unfortunately it’s a funny story that isn’t actually that funny, and so we won’t bore you. Read a children’s encyclopaedia cover to cover as a child because nobody told him that wasn’t what you were supposed to do with those. Jeff is a Terminal Discworld addict, home brewer and semi successful scientist, and enjoys long moonlight walks through Skyrim. His main problem is though, that he will read anything, literally, anything literary. This has lead to the complete lack of shelf space remaining in his house.