Mini Review: Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey

And now for something completely different. I read a few craft books this semester as part of my reading list.

Christopher Vogler, a former Hollywood screenwriter/script doctor turned humble-bragger, wrote The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Since the publication of its first edition, The Writer’s Journey has become a foundational text for writers of the page and screen. Vogler takes the concept of the heroes journey, as articulated by Joseph Campbell, and applies it to the typical plot structure of a mythic story (novel or film). The result is a new way of looking at story structure and character archetypes. Also, Vogler demonstrates how The Wizard of Oz and the Star Wars trilogy are more similar than you think.

Pros: The text gave a lot of good examples in film and novels; helpful to understand the common tropes used in most stories (and where they come from); the introductory chapter clearly mapped out the different stages of the hero’s journey; there were several graphic organizers and visuals

Cons: Don’t waste your time with the three consecutive introductions from Vogler–the man likes to humble-brag about his work in Hollywood; after reading the introduction to the hero’s journey, everything else was just fluff and movie examples; the structure of each chapter is very repetitive–I recommend consulting the text on an as-needed basis–don’t try to read it cover to cover or you will get annoyed!

That’s it!

Are you an initiate in the society of people who have read The Writer’s Journey? (we’re pretty exclusive) Do you have a craft book to recommend? Take the poll and leave a comment below!

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