Item description for The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher Vogler & Michele Montez...
Overview In the second edition of "The Writers Journey," Vogler asserts that "all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies." The updated edition further explores this concept to inspire a new generation of screenwriters with fresh insights on creating great stories.
Publishers Description The udated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler's ongoing work on mythology's influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editons of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a 'classic' for screenwriters, writers, and novelists.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher Vogler & Michele Montez has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Reference and Research Bk News - 02/01/2008 page 245
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.08" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.26" Weight: 1.45 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2007
Publisher Michael Wiese Productions
ISBN 193290736X ISBN13 9781932907360
Reviews - What do customers think about The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition?
It was okay, but I wouldn't call it revolutionary. Aug 22, 2008
I read through most of it and found it to be much like other books that I had to purchase for graduate writing courses. I was a bit disappointed.
Writing as a journey Jul 17, 2008
For beginning writers, this book could be useful. The 'journey' image is sometimes overused, but this is in part because it responds to a deep need in us. Preachers often use the image of a journey; indeed, many stories in the Bible will use the journey as part of the tale (if not the integral part of the tale). Mythological figures often have their lives and exploits told in journey images -- from times as ancient as those of Gilgamesh, through to modern times, the journey is important as a storytelling device. One can think of Gilgamesh, or Odysseus, or Aeneas in the ancient world; one can think of Moses and Martin Luther King, Jr. in search of the promised land; one can even think of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, seeking the Emerald City, when in fact she's looking for home.
The characters along the way in the journey also represent key elements in our lives -- dangers, strengths, things to love, to hate, to avoid, to embrace. These are archetypes. As others have noted, there are other guides to these (Campbell being perhaps the best known, and perhaps the best writer of these), but Christopher Vogler's use of these mythic structures and the journey process to help beginning writers puts the framework into an interesting and accessible guide.
This is a work with a journey of its own -- as a third edition, there are stories within the making of it. Vogler relates some of these, which include some major motion pictures experiences (one of the primary storytelling vehicles of the twentieth century) in his introduction. This has developed also in part due to critique and questions Vogler has received over time. One of those is that this is formulaic. Films, television shows, songs, poems, stories -- all of these are susceptible to being formulaic, and there is a fine line between following a form and being a slave to the formula.
This guide is practical. For those with experience writing, it can be a bit of a retreat, and, in truth, a bit simple. But for those looking to break into writing and have little experience with how to craft a story, this can be a good guide. While we are surrounded by stories in our lives, many of us don't quite know how to tell them well. Vogler's book gives insight into a process for making meaning and making sense while doing so.
Just one more map along the way (and not the best one out there). Jul 10, 2008
Based on content alone, I would have considered three stars; however, I have a hard time accepting *writing* advice from a book so badly written. I realize Mr. Vogler is a story analyst, not a writer. Still, the style here is atrocious, often to the point of distraction.
As he describes various films, he frequently jumbles his characters and his actors, creating a rambling, grammatically nightmarish style: "Recurring mentors include 'The Chief' on 'Get Smart', Will Geer and Ellen Corby as the grandparents on 'The Waltons', Alfred in 'Batman', James Earl Jones' CIA official in Patriot Games and The Hunt for Red October, etc." (For the record, I typed this sentence exactly as it appears in the book, other than my inability to italicize the Jack Ryan titles. Yes, those commas are found outside the quotation marks; yes, Mr. Jones's name is made plural possessive.) This utter disregard for parallelism can be found on nearly every page. In addition, Mr. Vogler refers to some characters only by their names ("In the film The Last of the Mohicans, Major Duncan Hayward is the rival of hero Nathaniel Poe..."); he refers to still others as only the names of the actors ("James Stewart forces Kim Novak to change her hair and clothing ..."). I was left with the feeling of a first draft, as if Mr. Vogler hadn't yet looked up the names he couldn't recall.
If you can overlook these stylistic eyesores (obviously, I have a difficult time doing so), you might find something useful in these pages. Or you might not. As demonstrated by the variety of reviews, this book's usefulness really depends on the reader.
Do you have an intermediate grasp of mythology and archetypes? You'll be bored by this. Have you read Joseph Campbell's _The Hero With A Thousand Faces_? You'll probably wonder why anyone bothered to publish this, because Mr. Vogler quotes and paraphrases Mr. Campbell to a worshipful degree. Do you write with characters in your mind first, and let them "tell you what to do" in terms of plot? You'll want to approach this book as a road you can wander from, not a roller coaster track you must stick to or die. Do you have some fully developed characters you'd love to explore, but struggle with plot? This book (as well as any study of archetypes) can help you find some signposts to guide your way. Are you entirely unschooled in archetypes and mythology but would like to learn? This book isn't the best starting place available, but I doubt it's the worst.
Before you start reading, examine your writing goals and your knowledge of archetypes to decide if this one is worthwhile for you. (Oh, and examine yourself for grammatical-OCD tendencies to decide if you can endure it.)
A via negativa? Jul 7, 2008
As a teacher my interest in the book was not so much in the hopes I would learn how to write a smashing new hit for Hollywood as how I could better see the patterns in narrative and relate them to my students. Certainly Campbell will remain a first choice in that regard but this suggests some interesting new facets as well. Perhaps a problem with contemporary story telling is the need to shock. Understanding the patterns that have traditionally worked may not help directly in a postmodern world that has seen the death of art though they may still be useful as a via negativa. Congratulations to those who have succeeded in their writing careers despite having read the book.
Interesting Application of Campbell's Work Using Modern Examples Jun 28, 2008
As someone who applied Joseph Campbell's earlier work to my own 'Virtual Trilogy' of novels ( see Virtually Maria (Virtual Trilogy) and A Matter of Time) I found this book a useful interpretation of Campbell's theories to the modern medium of film and contemporary novels.
However, it is by no means as comprehensive as the original on which it is based and anyone reading it would be well advised (in my view) to read Campbell's work in depth. Nevertheless "The Writer's Journey" is a useful addition to any writer's reference library and fun to think of when you are watching any of the movies to which it refers.