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The Writer's Journey

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  5,340 Ratings  ·  383 Reviews
Presenting a study of film as storytelling, this book examines how the great works of cinema history have used the principles of myth to create stories which are dramatic, entertaining, and psychologically true. The author looks not only at how outstanding figures from Hitchcock to Lucas, Spielberg and Tarantino have used mythic structure to create powerful stories, but al ...more
Published March 12th 1999 by Pan Books (first published 1992)
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Nicholas Karpuk
The most effective movie moment on writing I've ever seen came in "Wonder Boys" when Rip Torn very dramatically intones, " A WRITER!" It's said without any trace of irony. This is a common feature in writers both amateur and professional. No empathy, no sense of irony.

If you've seen a lecture about story structure, you've probably been listening to someone regurgitate this same set of values.

It's doubly funny because from what I can tell, Vogler essentially rewrote Joseph Campbell while
بثينة العيسى
Jul 13, 2010 بثينة العيسى rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: none
Reading this book wasn't a lot of fun!

Few years ago I read " The Hero with a Thousand Faces " By Joseph Campbell ( and I loved it! ), and I also read about 4 books for C.G. Jung ( I loved 'em either!) ..

This book is primarily based on the great work, effort, sweat, and research of these two Godfathers of mythology, and it annoys me to see the richness and depth of their work converted into a "recipe" for "ready-meal microwave writers!".

I Love Mythology, I think we all crave it in a way, and it
Mark Vandervinne
Jan 13, 2011 Mark Vandervinne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My father was an English Lit and Humanities teacher. He gave me a deep appreciation for the story. I've loved Joseph Campbell ever since I saw him on PBS with Bill Moyer. I went back and have read several of his books. Unfortunately, he seems to have written them for academia, instead for the layman, and sometimes I feel they are difficult to get through. Also, he doesn't always help tell how to use the myths and folklore.

This book is a godsend for me. While I have read other books dealing with
Pam (E.P. Scott)
Jun 04, 2014 Pam (E.P. Scott) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This is an excellent reference/learning/instructional book. It moves through a template of sorts for writing what is called the "heroes journey"

It is broken down into two sections:

First: Mapping the Journey which covers a practical guide/approach to writing the journey and an explanation of the archetypes. As I read through these and applied them to my own writing, I could definitely see these characteristics in each of my characters (or multiple archetypes in some of my characters). The author
Christine Locke
A few years ago, I did comb through The Hero with a Thousand Faces and create my own guide for my storytelling. It was hard. It took a long time--time that I could have spent writing. If you are, like me, more a storyteller than a scholar, you need to dive right into this one.
If you are already a Jungian or a Joseph Campbell scholar, this book is not for you. Anyone else, writer or not, should give Vogler's work a try. If he challenges and inspires you to find out more about Campbell and Jung, h
Ali Arabzadeh
Dec 25, 2016 Ali Arabzadeh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
چیزی که هنگام خواندن این کتاب برایم جالب بود لذت کشف چیزهایی بود که تا آن لحظه جلوی چشمم بود ولی من به وجودشان یا دستکم به اینکه «اینطور» هستند متوجه نبودم. مثل وقتی که کسی به صفتی یا خصیصهای در شما اشاره میکند و شما در عین تصدیق به وجود آن صفت، جا میخورد که چطور تا به امروز خودم به همچنین چیزی توجه نکرده بودم. ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jan 22, 2013 Michael Burnam-Fink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is basically The Hero With a Thousand Faces turned into a self-help guide for aspiring screenwriters. Vogler is deeply experienced in how Hollywood makes stories, having worked as a professional narrative-smith for several major studios including Disney and Fox, and the advice is pragmatic, flexible, and surprisingly robust. Each chapter is concluded by a set of questions that a keen professor might ask of a story. Vogler would be the first to admit that the Hero's Journey is not a prescrip ...more
Saundra Goldman
Jan 27, 2009 Saundra Goldman is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
When I first heard about this book, I resisted it as it sounded like a formula for success in Hollywood (Vogler was an advisor at Disney). I was at the beginning of my writing journey and wanted to give myself freedom to write in whatever direction I wanted. Also, I had just finished a Ph.D. program, and I wanted to write without rules for awhile. That was ten years ago, however, and lately I've become interested in mythic structure and archetype Since Vogler translates Campbell's ideas about my ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Jeania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a new way of looking at stories and movies from this book. They say it is one of the fundamental texts for hollywood script writers and I believe the archetypes and journey stages are strong models to refer to for the fiction writer. One might best explain this book in applying one of its models - the journey stages - to a film many of us are familiar with. I tried it with Forrest Gump:

1) Ordinary World: Begins life as a cripple, with odds stacked against him

2) His quest becomes Jenny
Dec 09, 2011 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first browsed tried to read this book 10 years ago I didn't get passed the first 50 pages. My main problem with these kind of books is that they are so packed with information that it is hard for me to apply their lessons later. I might retain the gist of what they preach, but I end up forgetting most of the specifics, and so it feels like a waste of time to read them from cover to cover.

These last few weeks I have indeed read it cover to cover, but this time I had a concrete goal in min
Kevin Xu
Just a copy of Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Face, but for modern readers.
Giovanna Barbieri
Imperdibile per chi desidera fare della scrittura un mestiere. Il saggio analizza gli achetipi che si trovano in letteratura e nel cinema: la figura dell'eroe, del messaggero, del saggio (o mentore), del guardiano della soglia, dell'ombra e dell'antagonista.
Certo, alcune figure potrebbero anche mancare in un romanzo e non ne risentirebbe affatto :)
Feb 26, 2011 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the books they made us read in film school way back when was Christopher Vogler's book THE WRITER'S JOURNEY: MYTHIC STRUCTURE FOR WRITERS. Vogler has come out with a third edition, so I thought I'd take a read.

Vogler is coming at story structure out of the Joseph Campbell HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES tradition. Campbell theorized that hero stories have a similar structure across all human cultures, and that there are archetypes that we always see in them: the refusal of the call, the mentor
Jun 19, 2014 CaliGirlRae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Novelists, short fiction writers and screenwriters
My creative writing mentor in high school passed this on to me to help make my stories more coherent. Various writing rules change all the time but the one thing is constant. A character's goals, the obstacles they face to get to said goal, and the character's decision to face them or turn away. This book is an excellent structure for both new writers looking to hone their structure and veterans who want to revisit and compare their story structure with this classic model. It follows the hero's ...more
Lynne Handy
Jun 19, 2014 Lynne Handy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book rates ten stars.

Christopher Vogler is a story consultant for major Hollywood filmmakers and writers. In "The Writer's Journey," he gives credit to the work of Joseph Campbell ("The Hero with a Thousand Faces,") which posits that elements of mythology are universal human truths. Vogler uses heroic characters in films to illustrate components of the mythic journey: in particular, "Red River," "Star Wars," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Pulp Fiction."

I've belonged to several writers groups and
Jun 01, 2010 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll start out with the negatives:
-Vogler is overly arrogant about his own accomplishments. The entire introduction of the book is essentially a narrative testimony of how famous and well-traveled he is.
-Most of the contents of this book are concepts I learned long ago in theatre classes. Readers who have a background in storytelling of any sort may find most of the author's advice self-evident.
-The analysis is useful, but not revelatory

These things aside, this book is a good resource to have at
Jana Bianchi
Dec 20, 2015 Jana Bianchi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: acquired
Mais do que um "manual" para construir uma história, o livro é um apanhado de associações: associações de histórias conhecidas com o modelo da jornada do heroi de Joseph Campbell, associações de cada parte dessa jornada com comportamentos humanos e aspectos culturais diversos, associações de acessórios de histórias modernas com clássicos... Gostei MUITO da leitura porque senti minha cabeça abrir várias vezes. Algumas associações são inesperadas e me fizeram ver alguns aspectos de um modo diferen ...more
I bought this book as set reading for a writing course I'm currently studying. Having recently finished, I can say without doubt it's the most useful book on writing I've ever read - and I've read a fair few of them.

The great thing about this book is its simplicity. The main concept - that all stories and narratives follow a set path, or journey, involving archetypal characters - is a strong one that's easy to grasp. The rest of the book then elaborates on the theme, exploring diverse avenues li
Shannon Mayer
Jan 23, 2011 Shannon Mayer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book in the beginning and middle (Mapping and Stages of the Journey) drags near the end as Vogler starts to ponitificate a bit. He likes to write and it shows in that the point is always made but not before many, many pages of buildup. I found this left me skimmmng and not reading so much near the end.

I'm sure I will re-read sections of this book again in order to get more from it. Seems to me it is that kind of book and I do believe that it is a read neccessary for all authors at all leve
Nov 14, 2012 Pippa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A massive, rambling book that seriously needed editing, but it was interesting, and worth reading. At times I almost laughed out loud, because it was ridiculous. The hero is defined as 'the protagonist' and then we were told this amazing coincidence that all stories have one (male or female). Well, duh! Everything is stretched like this, to the point of the ridiculous, but there are genuine insights as well. Most useful for writers is the knowledge that Hollywood works to this model, and our wor ...more
May 31, 2012 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book goes well with a cup of hot tea and Bill Moyer's video.

The title was poorly chosen in my opinion because it limits readership to those who see themselves as writers. How sad. This book is for anyone--anyone who knows or doesn't know that they are the hero of their own story. Which is pretty much everyone, since the definition of hero includes, "central character", "he who grows the most throughout the story", and so on.

So aside from bringing more clarity and enjoyment to the movies you
Eric M. Witchey
Oct 20, 2008 Eric M. Witchey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aspiring writers
Shelves: writing
Excellent distillation of Joeseph Campbell's work. This book delivers examples and guidance about how to use the mythic archetypes described by Campbell in his works. The book is for writers of fiction who hope to capture the power of the Heroic Journey described in The Hero of a Thousand Faces. However, this book is no substitute for reading Campbell's work, which is much broader and richer, as Vogler points out.
Jun 18, 2008 Pandora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to truly understand the power of story this is a must read. What Vogler has done is taken A Hero of a Thousand Faces and made it simple to understand. Instead of using myths that no one knows he uses movies to show how stories are shaped by an ancient pattern. Powerful book.
May 28, 2010 Gea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, 2014-read
This is a great book! It took me a long time to read only because it was so densely packed with ideas that I needed time to process them all. I highly recommend it, especially if you're interested in the mythological/spiritual aspects of story telling.
Ksenia Anske
Jul 22, 2016 Ksenia Anske rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Every writer, read this book. The end.
Stacy LeVine
Sep 30, 2016 Stacy LeVine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely useful for helping me get in the head of my 70-year-old redneck semi-retired hitman character. 'Cause really, what the hell do I know about THAT? Haha!!
Maíra Protasio
Sep 14, 2016 Maíra Protasio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Serve como guia, sem se deixar tornar um manual e grifando o tempo todo que devemos pegar o que está ali e modificar conforme as necessidades da nossa obra. Mobiliza psicanálise, mitologia, o clássico "O Herói de Mil Faces" de Campbell e diversos filmes na medida certa. Nos coloca para pensar tanto nas nossas próprias histórias quanto naquelas que admiramos. Simplesmente brilhante.
May 17, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A writer friend loaned me her copy of Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey” in order to help me with my writing. This book belongs on every fiction writer’s bookshelf. Whether you write short stories or multi-volume epic sagas, this book has valuable information that will help you organize and structure your work. Building on the work of Joseph Campbell, this book is easy to read and understand where Joseph Campbell’s book is scholarly and dependent on a higher level of educational backgro ...more
Not only is this an excellent book for writers of fiction, I'd recommend it very strongly to anyone who reads or watches films with a critical eye. Vogler relies on Joseph Campbell's explorations into myths and why humans need them to build a classic story telling formula that works. How do we know it works? He's got example after example, and honestly, it's hard to argue with the success of The Wizard of Oz, Titanic, the Indiana Jones' franchise, etc as successful story telling. Certainly, book ...more
Gry Pil
May 02, 2013 Gry Pil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give it 4,5 stars. This book is amazingly well structured and will help you to get your structure working. There are so many great tools presented in easily digistible ways. I also love how flexible Christopher Vogler is, saying that all stories can use the Hero's Journey as they need. There's no recepe, just a bunch of helpful observations.
Of course, if you want to follow a recepe, this book will let you do that as well. The book goes through something called The Hero's Journey w
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  • GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
  • Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Description & Setting
  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
  • Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters
  • The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
  • Plot
  • The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives
  • Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication & Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams

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“I realized that the good stories were affecting the organs of my body in various ways, and the really good ones were stimulating more than one organ. An effective story grabs your gut, tightens your throat, makes your heart race and your lungs pump, brings tears to your eyes or an explosion of laughter to your lips.” 18 likes
“The young, in their innocence, are often wise and capable of teaching the old.” 7 likes
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