Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review: "The Writer's Journey"


"The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" (3rd ed)
Christopher Vogler

WIBA? Yup

There is a familiar, if sometimes hidden, pattern in great stories. The main character begins "normal" and then gets thrust into a strange new world. Struggle, failure, challenge, success. They return to the normal world deeply changed. Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Hazel and Fiver; the list goes on. Gender, skin color, even species; these matter not. Attitude. Fortitude. Their heroism speaks to our own.

In "The Writer's Journey" Chris distills Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" into a very readable and implementable format. He does not demand rigid adherence to structure but clearly shows how good stories can flow. Reading "The Writer's Journey" with my own books in mind pushes me to delve deeply into my characters and the universe they live in.

The first draft of my first book in the "Domici War" series wandered. A lot. I enjoyed the story becuase I knew the characters but other readers gave it a more "ho hum" response. Then someone turned me on to "The Writer's Journey" and I used the structure to write the second book in the series. Feedback was clear; Book Two was much better written and had much more appeal than Book One.

Throughout the book Chris pays due homage to Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a Thousand Faces". Of the two books I strongly prefer Chris' work. While "Hero With a Thousand Faces" explains some things "The Writer's Journey" helps me write a much better story.

You can find layouts of what "The Writer's Journey" covers on the web. When you have a character in mind, though, I encourage you to walk with them through the Journey. You, your character, and your readers will be glad you did.

Would I Buy Again? Yup