In Story and Structure: A Complete Guide, Leon Conrad uses George Spencer-Brown’s six symbols to present us with a simple visualization of story structures. Conrad depicts the importance of stories in our daily lives.
“There’s much we can learn from story, and much it can do to transform us and shape our own stories.”
– Leon Conrad
In his extraordinary book, Story and Structure: A Complete Guide, Leon Conrad views story and story structure from an innovative perspective. He shows us how stories are relevant to our daily lives. By understanding stories and their underlying structure, we can vastly enhance the quality of our lives.
In twenty-two detailed chapters, Conrad gives us a comprehensive analysis of everything related to stories. He uses George Spencer-Brown’s six symbols from his book, Laws of Form, to present us with a simple and easy-to-understand visualization of story structures. In his book, Conrad talks about eighteen story structures. He also shows us how these structures are significant in our real lives. There is an intrinsic connection between stories, life, and the “Oneness-of-Being.” Stories help us attain balance in life. Understanding stories and their structures are sure to help us make strides in the fields of therapy, self-development, and education. A simple instance would be the way Conrad shows us how the quest story structure can be effectively used to write academic essays.
Leon Conrad is passionate about stories and everything related to it. This is the first thing that came to my mind after finishing the book. He effortlessly depicts the link between stories and life. His dedication to the book is evident. Nobody can deny that the book is well-researched. Conrad draws on myriad cultures and timelines to give examples. We have stories from ancient Egypt, China, India, Russia, and the Middle East among others. We also have modern-day limericks penned by Salman Rushdie. Conrad talks about classics like The Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, Beouwolf, etc. He also gives examples of mangas and popular films. I have to mention that the insights into the Jewish storytelling custom of Drut’syla made me want to know more about it.
All these examples simplify seemingly complex topics. Conrad includes a section called Notes at the end of every chapter. In these sections, he details the references used by him. His inclusion of links would be helpful to anyone who wishes to further explore the topic. We also have an Index at the end of the book. This would help readers quickly locate things. Also, I have to mention that I really appreciate the Appendix sections. In Appendix 1, Conrad uses the eighteen story structures discussed in the book to analyze the Russian tale of Fedot. This shows us the efficacy of Conrad’s method. In Appendix 2, Conrad gives us an overview of the different ways of mapping stories. He discusses the pros and cons of each. In Appendix 3, he activates our thinking bug by making us think of a reversal of the rags-to-riches scenario of Cinderella. In Appendix 4, he lists the different story structures. This will be helpful in times when we would like to quickly refer to a particular story structure.
The way Conrad uses story structures to analyze poetic forms like limericks, haikus, sonnets, ghazals, and landays is admirable. I also like the way he draws parallels to music. One of my favorite chapters in this book would be the one on tragedy. In addition to exploring Aristotle’s Poetics, Conrad includes three original stories in this section. Though short, the stories rang a bell for me. This is a testament to Conrad’s talent as an author. I would love to read some of his fiction stories.
Overall, Leon Conrad’s Story and Structure: A Complete Guide is an enlightening read. It is bound to teach you a lot about stories and life. The thought-provoking illustrations by Jason Chuang add a special edge to this special book. I highly recommend Leon Conrad’s book to writers and academics.
- Title: Story and Structure: A Complete Guide
- Author: Leon Conrad
- Genre: Nonfiction
- Theme: Literary Analysis, Life
- Publication Date: November 1 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: 978-1906069254
- Number of Pages: 528
- Minimum Audience Age: 15
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 0
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 0
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 0
- Other adult themes: 0
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 5 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 5 out of 5
Featured Book: “Story and Structure” by Leon Conrad
This book reveals the secrets of how stories are put together and how they are told. Author Leon Conrad presents eighteen different tale structures by making use of just six fundamental symbols, and he demonstrates how each of these story forms offers the most effective solution to the difficulties that give rise to those story…
Meet our Author: Leon Conrad
About the author*** Leon Conrad is a writer, storyteller, and story structure consultant based in London, United Kingdom. He founded and serves as lead tutor at The Traditional Tutor, co-founded and serves as lead trainer at The Academy of Oratory, is an independent researcher, and serves as orator in residence at the Next Society Institute…
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One thought on “A Book Review by Kajori: “Story and Structure: A Complete Guide” by Leon Conrad”
Wow! Who would’ve thought this method could be applied to something as short as haikus? This seems like a great book not only for writers but for us reviewers.
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