Today's review is a classic writing book. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, by Robert McKee has inspired countless screenwriters, directors, novelists, poets, and playwrights.
McKee, a Fulbright Scholar travels the world giving Story seminars, and even has an online equivalent, Storylogue, but writers anywhere can access decades of knowledge through his book. It's called "the Bible for screenwriting" and has been translated into more than 20 languages.
If you're writing a novel, understanding the principles of screenwriting is essential to getting the pacing right, and making sure the tale you're telling doesn't get swallowed up by unnecessary descriptions. McKee divides his book into four essential parts:
The writer and the art of story.
The elements of story.
The principles of story design.
The writer at work.
The chapters within each section flesh out the details of structure, scene design, crisis, climax, and resolution, and many other critical aspects of storytelling. A number of appendices give writers additional information about suggested readings, and the films McKee references throughout the book.
I've never taken McKee's seminar, but word is that it leans heavily on this book. So if you'd like to save yourself a chunk of change, get the book first.
For more from McKee, check out his resource page--it has a section for novelists.