"You don't begin with meaning," according to fiction writer Rick DeMarinis, "you end with it." A critic approaching a story from a mythological standpoint might find a mythological theme, but "there are as many themes in a story as there are critical theories." Hogwash, says James N. Frey. "Mythic structures, forms, motifs, and characters ... are 'The Key' to writing more-powerful fiction," and it is a fiction writer's job to imbue his or her work with them. In The Key, Frey describes each of the mythic qualities (ascribed to the mythic hero, the "Evil One," the "Call to Adventure," and the other elements of the mythic journey) and offers examples of how to use them in one's writing. Don't get the wrong idea. Frey is not interested in academic or overly intellectual writing. Sure, he invents a Proust-reading Nevada cowboy to illustrate the concept of "The Hero's Lover," but there are more references here to James Bond than to Homer. Frey advises using first-person journal writing to get to know one's characters. He emphasizes fiction's need for conflict at every turn. And he recommends working from a premise, as it helps one know what to leave out (everything in the story must work to further the premise). Frey defines every possible mythic character or situation, then insists one not feel confined by them all. "The mythic pattern is not a straitjacket," he says, "it's Play-Doh. Have fun with it." --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this well-written and witty how-to, Frey, a writing teacher and author of the "Damn Good" writing books, focuses on the tradition of myth as a recipe for storytelling. Drawing from Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, Frey explains that people respond strongly to mythic images and will essentially read the same stories over and over again; readers of romances are a good example of this concept. The first half of the book is especially interesting, for it examines the mythic structure in such diverse works as Robin Hood, Beowulf, and Jaws and looks at myths that function in everyday modern life. In the second half, Frey provides the reader with a sample novella titled "The Blue Light" to illustrate the use of myth as a writing tool. Expect beginning writers to use this informative guide along with the author's other books. Recommended for public libraries.DLisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is my first foray into Frey's fiction-helps---no regrets whatsoever! I have seen his other books on how to write "Durn Good" fiction, but have never felt the inclination to... Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2003 by Kendal B. Hunter
I have enjoyed this book and I believe that it could have only been written by someone on the edge of self discovery at a level that few ever achieve.Published on Nov. 20 2002
Anyone who really wants to write mythopoetically resonant fiction is probably more sensitive to these kinds of issues than... this book assumes they are. Read morePublished on June 12 2001 by Enantiodromos
It can be a bit too simplistic at times, but this book is a very good introduction to the Hero's Journey. Read morePublished on March 30 2001 by Joe Kenney
If you're not willing to read the many exciting books on the role of myth in story creation (like Campbell's classic, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces"), Frey's book may... Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2001 by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, author of the Seven Day Manuscript Machine and Writing the Bible for Kids
As a fan of Joseph Campbell and an aspiring author myself, I bought this book hoping for some insight into combining his ideas into fiction. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2001 by "mlcrewe"
Rich with frequent, overlong personal anecdotes without even a pretense of relevance to the topic, twelve sentences when one would do, and attempts to persuade by overloading on... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2001 by Tevis Fen-Kortiay
The Key is a straightforward book that provides writers with the basic tools and knowledge needed to create our own mythic journey, wheter it's set on present time or on some other... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2001 by Mario G. Perez Fonseca