- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (August 3, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312300522
- ISBN-13: 978-0312300524
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth Reprint Edition
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“You could struggle through learning the basics of storytelling by trial anbd error or you could just read this book. I wish I had this fifteen years ago.” ―Sara Pariott, screenwriter for The Runaway Bride
“For me, the mythological approach has indeed been the key to creating stories that have a far greater impact on the reader than anything I'd written before.” ―Tess Collins, author of The Law of Blood and The Law of Revenge
“This well-written and witty how-to [focuses] on the tradition of myth as a recipe for storytelling. Drawing from Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, Frey explains that people respond strongly to mythic images and will essentially read the same stories over and over again; readers of romances are a good example of this concept. The first half of the book is especially interesting, for it examines the mythic structure in such diverse works as Robin Hood, Beowulf, and Jaws and looks at myths that function in everyday modern life. In the second half, Frey provides the reader with a sample novella titled 'The Blue Light' to illustrate the use of myth as a writing tool. Expect beginning writers to use this informative guide along with the author's other books.” ―Library Journal
“Everything I know about plotting a novel, I learned from Frey.” ―Marjorie Reynolds, author of The Starlite Drive-In
About the Author
James N. Frey is the author of the internationally bestselling How to Write a Damn Good Novel and How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II, as well as nine novels. He has taught and lectured on creative writing at several different schools and conferences throughout the U.S. and Europe.
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The Key is distinct divergent in the author’s "How to.. " novel writting series that focus on the monomyth, a literary template that is the basis for some of mankind’s most enduring myths. Even If the reader has enough literary experiences and noticed a pattern among classic literature, the author elaborates that unique pattern and exposes the template of the call to a journey, that is punctuated by a supernatural aid, challenges, temptations, revelations, transformations, atonement, and return by using classic books and characters as old as the Bible and modern as Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Comparable to the authors other book, the narrative is dry and deadpan but does well to explain how details of each element and how it distinguishes itself from contemporary fiction, but more so how you can apply it create a grander narrative.
It is with that in mind that would emphasize this book is for the writer with few short stories or a novel or two under their belt. With none of the how-to’s of the author’s writing series, it is at the very least somewhat dependent on his previous novel writing guide. Of course, you read this book without ever reading the aforementioned books, you will have to some experience in character, world, and plot building. Having applied some of the principles about the monomyth to my work, it has helped me add more symbolism to my plot and characters and provided some direction when I trying to a get out of a writing block.
I really enjoyed the book. As an intermittent fiction writer, the author not only does well to concisely summarize the monomyth, he does well give the experienced writer another perspective on classic literature to explore the most memorable aspects. Once you understand the template, you can understand what it takes to distinguish your writing from your peers by adding a comparable depth to your story. While most of us will can only hope to be next Ian Fleming, Ernest Hemingway, or whoever wrote Beowulf, the authors indirect guidance can start you off on your own path to becoming a memorable author.
**What would I suggest? Instead of reading The Key, read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. (Frey based his book on Campbell's teachings.) The Power of Myth is a fascinating read, well worth the time, and you will end up learning far more about the mythical hero and journey than you will from Frey's book. You can then use that information to enhance your novel/story planning. Seriously. Why go for the pale imitation when, for the same amount of reading time, you can experience the real thing?