The Writer's Journey
By Christopher Vogler
*A Book Review*
by Michael C. Gray
© 2022 by Michael C. Gray
While working as a story analyst for the Walt Disney Company, Christopher Vogler wrote a seven-page memo called, "A Practical Guide to The Hero With a Thousand Faces," applying the mythic structure of the Hero's Journey in Joseph Campbell's book to classic and current movies.
The memo became very popular in Hollywood, and Vogler expanded it into a book, The Writer's Journey.
The Writer's Journey became a popular resource for all kinds of storytellers, including screenwriters, novelists, children's writers, playwrights, etc. Since telling stories is important in sales and promotional writing, the ideas are also applicable for salespeople and copywriters.
Joseph Campbell explored the intertwined pathways of myth, story and psychology. George Lucas was especially inspired by Joseph Campbell when creating the screenplay for Star Wars. If you haven't heard of Campbell, I suggest that you get the DVDs for the series, The Power of Myth, at your public library. You can also look them up online. The Hero With a Thousand Faces is a great academic book that is hard to read.
Vogler makes Campbell's ideas more accessible in The Writer's Journey.
Vogler outlines the basic story structure of the Hero's Journey and the archetypes of characters typically used in stories. Then he shows how they were used for popular movies.
The story structure is: Ordinary World; Call to Adventure; Refusal of the Call; Meeting with the Mentor; Crossing the First Threshold; Tests, Allies, Enemies; Approach to the Inmost Cave; Ordeal; Reward; The Road Back; and Resurrection.
The Heroic Archetypes are: Mentor, Allies, Herald, Shadow, Trickster, Threshold Guardian, Shapeshifter, and Higher Self.
Reading The Writer's Journey helped me get more insight in the messages of movie makers for their movies and how they were saying those messages, including the roles of the characters.
Originally printed in 1998, The Writer's Journey has become something of a classic. At 467 pages, it might seem a little intimidating. Since most of us are movie fans, we should find it's actually enjoyable to read as we revisit our favorite films.
The Writer's Journey is a worthwhile addition to your library.
Buy it at Amazon: The Writer's Journey - 25th Anniversary Edition: Mythic Structure for Writers.
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