“Daniel Calvisi’s Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay
is readable, insightful and exciting.
It focuses on the hard work and narrative strategies
the screenwriter needs to adopt to write a
commercially viable screenplay, and is up to date
and strategic in the clearest way. Dan’s book will help you
do what you must do to succeed with your screenplay.”
-Ken Dancyger, Professor of Film at NYU’s Kanbar Institute of
Film and Television and best-selling Author of
Broadcast Writing, Alternative Scriptwriting,
The Technique of Film and Video Editing
Writing the Short Film (Focal Press)

“There is a lot of great advice here…
Most important, as I read Calvisi’s Story Maps,
I was inspired to rethink my current project.
And that’s what it’s all about, right?”

-Script Magazine

“”Writing a great screenplay is not easy. Dan has created a book that is straightforward and full of valuable insight and guidance for screenwriters at different experience levels. This book provides a simple way to approach your idea or rewrite for maximum results…and helpful to evaluate your work in whatever stage it’s at so you can make necessary improvements that will allow your unique story and vision to shine!”
-Laurie Lamson, co-editor Now Write! Screenwriting

“In truth, I found this book to be brilliant. [But] please don’t think the book is composed only of structural templates. It’s not, and I don’t want anyone to not buy the book because they have that expectation. Story Maps gives you excerpts from actual screenplays, showing you the format and language on the page in use by pro screenwriters. Any book that gives lessons in the skill of blowing the reader away is a book writers need to read. From the Introduction to Dan’s closing, “Good luck and Happy Writing,” Story Maps delivers. Imagine sitting around a coffee shop or a bar and talking one-on-one to a movie-writing, storytelling pro like Dan Calvisi. A no-holds barred, no frills, tell-it-like-it-really-is, no sugar-coating conversation. That’s what reading this book is like.”
-Best-selling author Joan Reeves, Slingwords review

“Just finished your book. Loved it! Should be required reading in every film school.”
Daniel Fazel, sold screenwriter and VFX Artist (Alice in Wonderland, Benjamin Button, Speed Racer, I Robot)

Click to Learn More about Story Maps

Click to read excerpts and purchase Story Maps

“I’ve read numerous books on screenwriting, story and structure but none come close to Dan Calvisi’s Story Maps – Calvisi simplifies structure, the principals of screenwriting and offers ‘real world’ insight into the profession. Put it simply – this book is a MUST for all screenwriters… Dan, I’ve referred it to some colleagues, produced writers who can certainly use your mapping techniques. Keep up the good work!”
Michael Adante Writer/Director (Vanished, The Line)

“I’ve read your book, and can honestly say it’s one of the best. I’ve read a lot of them, and I’m in the camp that likes to know what I don’t know, so that I can work towards something, all the time trying to listen to one’s instinct or gut on story decisions … [Your method] resonates with what others say, but is so crystal clear, and defined that it’s actually refreshingly simple. I agree also with your analysis of what makes a good screenwriting teacher. Your experience…is perfect. You’ve read, reviewed, recommended/rejected countless scripts, unlike many of the gurus. You know how good scripts work. Congratulations on the excellent and extremely useful book. I’m about to re-read it so I have a thorough grasp, and apply it to my new script, and I’m very happy (and flattered) to write this testimonial.”
-Steve Isles Director/Producer, Authentic Films & Composer (Guy Ritchie’s RockNRolla)

“Calvisi’s Story Maps is a brilliant example of what every aspiring screenwriter needs to know about  the art of writing screenplays. Dan has a  no-nonsense approach to screenplay analysis that cuts through the bull and delivers the goods. A must read for serious screenwriters.”
J. Stephen Maunder, writer/director (Tiger Claws I, II, III, The Veteran, Shadows in Paradise)

“Dan’s Story Maps e-book is an essential tool for screenwriters at all levels, providing invaluable insight into the architecture of screenwriting.  The maps of produced films are great, especially his discovery of the ‘sweet spots’ for story turns, and learning the structure that Calvisi illustrates is something all writers should have engrained into their nature as creatives, before they type that first FADE IN.”
-Paul Van Carter, screenwriter, Lenny McLean [Hollywood Reporter]

“Your book is by far the best one on the topic that my wife and I have seen. My background is academic writing. I have written several books and many papers in the area of philosophy of education. I can say with some expertise, you are a natural teacher. The essence of good teaching is giving direction to tendencies already present. Anyone who already has the urge, drive, or passion to write screenplays cannot find better direction than that presented in Dan Calvisi’s Story Maps.”
-Jerome Popp, Professor Emeritus

“I call myself a writer (that is, I’m working on my first novel), and only half way through “Story Maps” I found myself restructuring parts of my own story; elements, scenes and other sections that I subconsciously knew were in need of help. So, before I’ve even finished reading this book, it’s already given aspects of my own writing a much needed boost, and has re-invigorated my novel in my mind. “Story Maps” is aimed at screenwriters, obviously, but there’s no reason why Mr Calvisi’s ideas and sincere advice cannot be applied to other forms of storytelling. A story is a story by any other name, after all.”
-Ben Roberts

“Dan has written an excellent book. I’ve used his Story Maps method to break down countless films and it’s definitely helped me improve my craft. Highly recommend!!!”
-Rob H.

“I vowed I’d never look at another story map/plot plan/paradigm etc. again because they seem to throw me in a different direction each time I read one. But your examples guided rather than confined me, so I broke my own rule.”
-Beverley M.

“Dan’s background as a reader for major studios and production companies as well as a working screenwriter makes his approach unique. Instead of theories and overly complex concepts, STORY MAPS is just that: A simple map to follow to create YOUR story in a professional and marketable way. Clearing the major hurdle of readers is a must to get to a greenlight. I will be referring back to this book for future projects as well and happy to have it on my eBookshelf.”
-Stephen Hoover

“I’m an actual screenwriter who on a daily basis uses Dan’s Story Map for my spec scripts, hired book-to-script adaptations and other literary projects.  By using his maps I’m able to see potholes in my stories before starting the actual writing of the scripts, which is a beautiful thing because of the time, energy and effort saved by avoiding such pitfalls as logical errors, poor scene placement, character growth (development) throughout the script and absence of scene subtext. This book is filled with useful information any writer, regardless of skill level, can benefit from. And perhaps the most practicable information this book has is the detailed maps of previously produced and released films. Maybe you’re stuck on what your main character’s Fatal Flaw should be. You can refer to these sample maps, see what type of Fatal Flaws the characters in their movies had, and generate a Fatal Flaw for your character. The information in this book is a steal. The price is a steal. What you will take away from it and achieve as a writer will be a steal. Heck, it might even be a robbery years down the road when your script gets produced and grosses $500 million at the BO.”
-Maurice Vaughn

“Thank you for sending the e-book so promptly!  It looks great in Kindle on my Ipad.”
-Russ K.

“Really love your books.  I pretty much have every type of screenwriting book out there.”
-Phil C.

“I’ve read Story by McKee and a few other books etc. and they are very helpful but I’ve been trying to write for a while and always get stuck when it comes to moving things forward past the first few scenes.  I always said to myself, Can’t someone just break down a movie in bullet point format so I can see how the thing is supposed to progress – much like writing a memo – so I can visualize the structure better? You’ve done that and that’s what led to the purchase.”
-Ramesh G.

“I looked for something analytical and concise about screenplay structure without the You can do it and be reeeeally creative if you get in touch with your inner self stuff. [I wanted] something about mapping out the story and… voila!… your web site. I thought, ‘I’d better give your book a try.'”
-Ina K.

“I have studied dozens of screenwriting books and I can say without any doubt that Story Maps is definitely within the top 3 of the books that most inspired me.”
-Alberto R.

“It’s way deeper than Save the Cat and other story mapping techniques I’ve read. I’m currently re-booting my latest script with Dan’s technique. Finally, things are flowing and hitting the mark. A must for beginners and pros.”
-Randy M.

“Metaphorically speaking, Dan is a great Swordsman who knows, like Indiana Jones, how and when just to use a gun instead of fancy martial arts to make a point!”
-C.J. Dean

“I stumbled upon your site as I was searching for different methods to write a screenplay. I have to say that I really like your method and look forward to applying it to my current project.  I have written before but never a screenplay.  My fiancee is a cinematographer and he pitched a story and believes I can write a great screenplay for it.  Hopefully, with this I can. Thanks again!”

“To be able to read something before committing to buy…is the greatest marketing technique for e-books. (And why I also bought a Kindle) . I notice you let people read excerpts from your book at your website (which is great).”
-Ralph L.

“One of the most practical guides that I have seen, and I’m not just “KILLING YOU WITH KINDNESS (AND/OR STROKING YOUR EGO)” to take a page from your book! Most books or online info is just the same stuff rehashed and packaged in a different cover. I can actually use this stuff and apply it to my work. Looking forward to sending you some questions. Thanks.”
-Matthew M.

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Click to read excerpts and purchase Story Maps

2 replies
  1. David Schwartz
    David Schwartz says:

    This book was recommended to me by a working screenwriter when I was struggling with a very immature first draft. I had read other screenwriting books, but have not been able to find one that provides a “nuts and bolts” process as well as a theoretical underpinning. Calvisi has accomplished that goal in an easy-to-read tutorial. I guarantee that after you read this book you will be in a much better position to write that screenplay. Get it!

  2. Stephen G. McDowell
    Stephen G. McDowell says:

    Dan Calvisi’s “Story Maps” book is by far one of the most valuable reference tools an aspiring screenwriter can invest in. I have read literally dozens of books published to address the trials and tribulations of writing a coherent script. Syd Field’s works inspired me tremendously. Blake Snyders “Save The Cat” gave me food for thought, but came up short in the realism and readability department. Dan Calvisi’s “Story Maps” is as essential to screenwriting as a Rand McNally roadmap is to cross-country motoring. It’s written in a sharp, sensible style. It’s wrought with “From The Trenches.” It cites credible examples from a thoughtful selection of genres. And once read, it will serve as a standard into which your story idea can be literally poured. In a time when everyone wants to be a Hollywood screenwriter, where script readers are jaded and overburdened by countless submissions lacking style and structure, Dan Calvisi’s “Story Maps” will give the aspiring writer a competitive edge.

    Stephen G. McDowell
    Former Magazine Writer and Editor
    Aspiring Screenwriter
    Professional Photographer
    Information Technology Consultant


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