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The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler is fantastic. I know plenty of people have said the same thing in the past 12 years since it was first published but it’s true.

The Writer’s Journey (now in its third edition) is essentially a laymen’s version of The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. It simplifies Campbell’s dense writings about world myths and The Hero’s Journey for the modern day writer using examples like The Wizard of Oz and Hitchcock films.

I didn’t think The Writer’s Journey was so great when I first read it. There is a lot of story theory in this book (A LOT) and it discusses multiple paths writers have within each given section of The Hero’s Journey, so it is really easy to get overwhelmed with information.

But now I realize what I was doing wrong:

I started at the beginning and read it like a normal book! I don’t recommend that.

Instead, I recommend what I did this time around because it has really worked and invigorated my creativity as opposed to bored me to tears:

I had a project in mind that had a beginning, middle and an end, but the middle was weak. I wanted help flushing it out. So I grabbed The Writer’s Journey off the shelf just to give it a try. By having a specific project in mind, I was able to use the many options Vogler offers as prompts and discern which path my story wants to go down. Instead of being overwhelmed by theory I was selecting from my many options as it applies to my specific project, which is much more empowering for me as a writer and my story is ten times stronger than it was before.

The first few times I read The Writer’s Journey, it was like I was shopping for jeans by looking at all the options and imagining which pair would look good. This time, I tried on the jeans and found a pair I like.

Don’t read this book. Use it.

I hope that helps!

Categories: Blog, Books on Writing
  1. 07/30/2011 at 12:29 PM

    Excellent advice, Tim! Thanks. Great blog!

    • 07/30/2011 at 6:00 PM

      Thanks, Sean!
      If you like comedy + video stores, check out Sean’s blog, secretdoorproductions.com, for short animations and comics.

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