Friday, December 2, 2011

A Journey to Better Storytelling: A Review of The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler

Joseph Campbell was a man who studied the stories throughout history and across cultures and discovered that these stories have always had many common elements that make them powerful stories that resonate with people on an emotional level. Campbell noticed a common pattern among stories that he dubbed The Hero’s Journey. Take a look at some of the movies you love most or the books that you’ve enjoyed most, and chances are you will notice the elements of The Hero’s Journey. Story Consultant Christopher Vogler realized the incredible opportunity for writers to tap into The Hero’s Journey to ensure their stories are the best that they can be, so he adapted the findings of Jospeh Campbell specifically for writers in his book THE WRITER’S JOURNEY.

THE WRITER’S JOURNEY, like its name implies, takes writers on a journey through human psychology and storytelling to give writers the tools they need to get their stories off the ground. While written primarily for screenwriters, the book is helpful for writers of all types. The amazing thing about the writer’s journey or the hero’s journey is that it’s really a reflection of the path all human beings take to undertake anything that is truly important to them.

One of the common elements of many stories are the archetypes or common character roles of the story. For example, the hero or protagonist of a story usually has someone who fulfills the role of mentor to encourage the hero to take the next step of the journey. Vogler explores the common archetypes in a helpful way, using examples of characters in stories we all know. Vogler also spends several pages taking us through each point on the hero’s journey, showing us the importance of each point and how they function in a story. One of the most valuable parts of the book is the abundant story examples used throughout to show how the hero’s journey is so prevalent.

THE WRITER’S JOURNEY will be a helpful book for anyone who wants to undertake the journey of crafting a compelling story. While the hero’s journey seems to lend itself mainly to mythic structure and stories about heroes, the elements are really present in all types of stories, and thus can be used and adapted for any kind of story. This is definitely a book that I’ll return to over and over again in my own personal writing journey.

I received this book for free for review from Michael Wiese Productions.

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