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on May 1, 2015
From ancient times writers have drawn on elements people relate to. Vogler examines and defines many of these elements such as characters with universal appeal (the hero, the love interest, the trickster, etc) and the worlds they pass through.

The Writer's Journey explores how to avoid stereotypes by allowing characters to engage in ways that are unexpected but not out of character. The plot of the story neatly advances as the reader is further engaged. Various realms are explored such as the Ordinary World, the Special World and the Journey Back.

Different story forms and segments are examined for ways they can fit together in a narrative. Thankfully most facets of fiction can be swapped about as needed for one's current work-in-progress. This book should be kept on your writing desk.

This is not a template for format or plot. Vogler freely acknowledges that few stories can contain all the elements and details he writes about. There's no wrong way to tell a story if it captures the imagination and satisfies the sense of having been 'there and back' with the hero and/or villain.

There are enough references to historical literature, classical tales and modern movies that most writers will be able to appreciate this material. All genre writers should find this book useful. The Writer's Journey is itself engaging as it challenges its readers to compare their own life experience to the material; for what good is a story if it isn't alive?
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If you are interested in becoming a writer, it helps to read several of these books. Having already read Story, and gone to a seminar by Robert McKee, I am interested in reading others because not all wisdom resides in any one school.

Chris Vogler offers fresh and invigorating perspectives, illustrated with fascinating examples from many excellent movies from such as Wizard of Oz. He worked on the screenplay of The Lion King, and I found its derivation from the plot of Hamlet interesting to say the least.

If you're like me the you may appreciate the Metaphor of the Hero's Journey the most. George Lucas in Star Wars follows the mythical blueprint laid down by Jseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Vogler offers a succinct inspiring explanation and I could imagine myself in the hero's shoes doing what the hero has to do, what we all have to do. Having read this, the familiar patterns of many great movies suddenly became clearer. Additionally the explantion of the common mythical archetypes merits continued reading. For example the trickster appears in both Star Wars, and The Matrix, and you may recognise Darth Vader as pure shadow.

Many movies start in the Ordinary World, and then there is the call to adventure. Often the hero is reluctant to make a change, so then we have the next stage which is refusal of the call. Eventually we move into the Special world, and in SW and The Matrix our hero joins the rebels and starts to develop special abilities. Another good example of this is Wanted with Angelina Jolie.

He uses over 100 well known movies as examples to illustrate his points, including Titanic. I truly appreciate these insights. Perhaps the most interesting insight for me personally is the idea of polarity or conflict. While every story will have an antagonist and a protagonist, the antagonist does not have to be a villain, but could just be a contrasting or competitive style of achieving the same end.

We may be the antagonist in our own life story, and it may seem paradoxical that even the antagonist sees himself as a hero. Relating this to my own life I see the antagonist as being active, in contrast to the hero who is often passive, at least early in the story.

So, this book I am happy to own, and recommend. Some people may say this book is derivative of The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Paladin Books). Well, it's a much easier read than HWTF, and offers a very neat synopsis of the information provided in that book. If you're wondering which one to read first, I recommend this one because it is easier to understand, and then you will find it easier to understand the other one, because you have read this one.

I also recommend Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. Conflict is to story, as sound is to music.

I hope you found this helpful, and I think you will enjoy the book.
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on February 10, 2015
Not a great screenwriting book. It helps you appreciate some aspects of plays, but it doesn't explain how to write a great film. It simply gives you the function of various elements without a clear through-line. Buy "The Art of Dramatic Writing" instead.
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on August 4, 2013
I read this a few years ago and it's always stuck with me as a good lasting impression. One I've recommended to a few people in casual chats.

Ive yet to read the Joseph Campbell books this is inspired by, but felt It's an easy read and I would say it great for any novice like me as an introduction to the craft. I've read plenty of other how to books on writing, since, and always looking for more, but I don't think you can go wrong having this in your library.

I know the Campbell ones are more 'heavy' and acedemic , but will feel more confident picking them up now thanks to this.
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on July 21, 2014
Excellent book !!! After reading this you can see films more clearly of how they are structured and how each character's purpose can shape your story. Also the concept of Mythical structures being used in everyday writing blew my mind.
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on December 29, 2012
It explores only one facet of the screenplay writing. Useful, but limited. Here are eight more words, counting the whole sentence.
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on September 20, 2014
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