Lou Anders (editor of Pyr books) recommended the book “My Story Can Beat Up Your Story” at a writer’s workshop I attended. It took me a while to get to it, because I’ve read a number of books/articles on story structure and I wasn’t eager to hear the same old thing again. However, it turns out that this isn’t the same old thing. In fact, I’ve just promoted this book on my mental shelves to the number one position for story structure.
I should mention that this book is technically a book on screen writing, not novel writing (which is my main interest). However, story structure for movies and books tends to be quite similar. This book provides a number of fairly intuitive lists, e.g. the four questions to ask about your hero, the three goals regarding the Central Question, the twelve plot point of act one, etc. These lists, in turn, are applied to various movies to provide a solid understanding of how each of these lists work. The detail is such that I almost believe one can write a story by filling in the blanks–of course, those blanks are all interconnected and so filling in those blanks is a bit like solving a crossword or Sudoku.
It is a great book. Anyone looking to improve their knowledge of writing should read it.