- Paperback: 325 pages
- Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 2nd edition (November 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0941188701
- ISBN-13: 978-0941188708
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 392 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition
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At the beginning of The Writer's Journey, Christopher Vogler asserts that "all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies." Some may be hard-pressed to accept this idea (and will wonder how storytellers from Homer to Shakespeare to Robert Altman might respond to the proposition). Others may imagine that since Vogler uses movies like the Star Wars trilogy and The Lion King to defend his mythological philosophy, he is, unwittingly, listing the reasons why Hollywood films of the last 20 years have been so unimaginative. But there's no doubt that Vogler's notion, based on psychological writings by Carl Jung and the mythmaking philosophy of Joseph Campbell, has been profoundly influential. Many screenwriters have used Vogler's volume to understand why certain scenarios sell, and to discover a blueprint for creating mythic stories of their own.
Now in its second edition, The Writer's Journey sets forth archetypes common in what Vogler calls "the hero's journey," the mythic structure that he claims all stories follow. In the book's first section, he lists the different kinds of typological characters who appear in stories. In the second, he discusses the stages of the journey through which the hero generally passes. The final, supplementary portion of the book explains in detail how films like Titanic and The Full Monty follow the patterns he has outlined. --Raphael Shargel
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I re-mapped the entire story using ideas from this book and could feel the characters and plot taking on new life as I created a new outline. Half-way through draft 4 (rewritten from scratch), I feel much more in command of my story and in love with my characters. The individual scenes fit together in a way that they hadn't in previous versions, partly because some got moved in order to create better motivation and partly because I can now see better what role secondary characters play in the story over all.
I would certainly recommend this book as a tool for revitalizing a manuscript that has gone stale or gotten bogged down in the middle.
This edition is at least three times the size, and even more overloaded with useful information for fiction writers, and some nonfiction writers. (Biographies and personal stories could benefit from the insights in this book.)
This book pioneered the "hero's journey" as a plotting template, based on Joseph Campbell's study of mythology and archetypes.
However, this edition of the book takes readers (and fellow writers) far beyond the hero's journey concepts. In fact, this book is tremendously useful for all fiction writers, not just those following the "hero's journey" plot structure. (In other words, it will work with the three-act model, Aristotle's incline, and so on.)
For example, there's a wonderful chapter about polarity. It shows you ways to improve your characters and their conflicts. Polarity helps engage your readers, increase tension, and helps with that dreaded mid-book slump where the plot can drag.
In addition, the author has drawn on all kinds of cross-cultural examples of different elements of any story, fiction and nonfiction alike. Those insights are tremendously useful.
Also, this book is so well-organized and broken into headings, you can open the book to almost any page and find something useful for your story. When I read it -- even after all these years -- I discover about three "ah-HA!" ideas on every page.
Though this book may be almost overwhelming for beginning writers, it's a book every writer should own. No matter where you are on your writing journey, there's something to learn -- and benefit from -- even if you only read one page (or part of a page) at a time.
In addition, the both the table of contents and the subject index at the back of the book are thorough and useful, so you can find what you're looking for, quickly.
Every fiction writer (and most nonfiction writers) should own a copy of this book, and browse its pages, regularly. It's that good... and that important, to help you understand your best writing, and bring that to every story.