In this post on Writing Tools, I’m going to talk about the first writing book I ever bought. I found it while working in the stocking room at a local bookstore in 2002. I’d been busy putting price stickers on a bunch of books that had just been received. I came across this one and it intrigued me. I glanced over the book, then set it aside to buy at the end of my shift.
That book was The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.
I see that there is a 3rd Edition to The Writer’s Journey now. I’m not sure how much has changed between the 2nd Edition that I have and the newer 3rd Edition, so if you pick this up, there may be a few differences.
Anyway, the book goes through what it calls “The Hero’s Journey.” It points out a common structure and method to many classic myths and great stories. When you take an in-depth look at the most popular fiction out there, you can often see echos of the Hero’s Journey concept throughout them all.
As I read through The Writer’s Journey the first time, I saw so many little hints that could make Sentinels of Mysera better. I took my list of characters and figured out where they fit in the various Archetype roles. Then I looked at my plot itself and saw how it already fit in the Hero’s Journey model, and saw ways to improve upon what I had.
For the first drafts of Sentinels of Mysera, Cavern of the Clan (Sentinels Book 3), and Shadows of the Tempest (Sentinels Book 4), I used the Hero’s Journey model as a template for the outlines. Until I learned how to use Holly Lisle’s plot card method, this book was the framework that I followed for every draft. Now, I may have followed the Hero’s Journey a little too strictly at first, but the framework behind it is good and solid if used wisely.
Personally, I think this is a must-have for any writer’s library for all the valuable insights it offers.
Have you ever read The Writer’s Journey? What did you think?