Storytelling is the purpose of writing. And while crafting more polished sentences and paragraphs can be practiced and improved upon, creating an affecting story calls upon other talents, some of which are better honed at late night gatherings around a fire pit, as has been the case for tens of thousands of years.
It may come as a surprise that even the long forgotten authors of the great myths and fairy tales of yore utilized a few trade secrets to make their stories more entertaining. Turns out, those fictional heroes on their journeys followed a fairly standard script from tale to tale, as noted by Joseph Campbell and others who studied myth narratives.
In The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers, Christopher Vogler both distills and expands upon these myth-derived methods of effective storytelling. First written as a seven-page memo for Disney executives, The Writer’s Journey details twelve steps that heroes progress along as they are, if reluctant, called away from their uneventful home lives to quests of danger and adventure. Along the way, mentors are met, thresholds are crossed, enemies and allies are encountered, greatest fears are faced, a momentous final battle is won or the sword is seized, and, finally, the hero begins the journey home, only to experience one last transformative ordeal.
First published in 1992, with sales totalling more than 400,000 copies, this Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition has been extensively revised with writers and filmmakers in mind. Drawing from his long career in Hollywood, Vogler cites well-known movies, myths, and fairy tales, including some of his own projects, like Heaven’s Gate, The Lion King, and Fight Club.
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