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The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,648 ratings  ·  506 reviews
Provides new insights and observations from Vogler's pioneering work in mythic structure for writers.
Paperback, 2nd edition, 326 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Michael Wiese Productions (first published 1992)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,648 ratings  ·  506 reviews


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Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.



An approachable and informative re-imagining of The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, replete with a simplified hero's journey and examples using modern books and films.
Nicholas Karpuk
The most effective movie moment on writing I've ever seen came in "Wonder Boys" when Rip Torn very dramatically intones, "I...am... 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
...more
بثينة العيسى
Jul 13, 2010 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
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Dannii Elle
I found this to be of invaluable help in shaping my novel and is a must for any writer's arsenal. Whilst many of the examples I had not heard of, as they are now outdated, the knowledge was imparted in such a straight forward way and with such a conversational tone as to garner no confusion. Writers, both amateur and expert, can benefit from comparing their writing to the outline suggested and I believe all can benefit from the advice given.
Mark Vandervinne
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Theresa
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-class
If you're a writer and you aren't using this book, you need to be using this book. We used it to study character archetypes and stages of a hero's journey in Harry Potter this semester, but the book honestly gives you so much more than that. At the end of each chapter is a series of questions for you to answer about your own WIP, making it clear where the gaps are. I loved using this for class, and I'm happy to be getting more than a semester's use out of it.
Saundra Goldman
Jan 27, 2009 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
Jeania
Jul 07, 2010 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
...more
Fernando
Dec 09, 2011 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
...more
Marc
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Eric Witchey
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Stacy LeVine
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!!
Kevin Xu
Just a copy of Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Face, but for modern readers.
Erin Brenner
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marketing-books
This is a great book for anyone wanting to understand how to use Campbell's Hero's Journey in their writing, be it fiction or nonfiction--including content marketing. Vogler is a movie-script writer and he focuses on popular movies as his examples, making it easier to familiarize yourself with the example if you haven't seen it.

I read this book after it was recommended in a webinar that reviewed the basic structure of the Hero's Journey for use in content marketing, and I was able to immediately
...more
CaliGirlRae
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Graham
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
...more
Shannon Mayer
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Pippa
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Pandora
Jun 18, 2008 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.
Gea
May 28, 2010 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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Every writer, read this book. The end.
Carolyn McBride
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This was a solidly educational book. I learned a lot from it and made copious notes. It even helped me plot out my next work. I think this is one I'll be going back to time and again. Hopefully, my next story is better for it.
Alex
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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
...more
Jaq Greenspon
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, critics
Shelves: lithuania, 2013, reference
When you "spell" a word correctly, you are in effect casting a spell, charging these abstract, arbitrary symbols with meaning and power.

Christopher Vogler's book is, in effect, a "Hero's Journey" for dummies, with a screenwriting angle thrown in for good measure. He makes no bones about the fact he's basing his research on Joseph Campbell's work, with a touch of Jungian philosophy,, all set against a Hollywood background. This makes sense, though. As any good teacher, Vogler uses a more modern l
...more
Clark
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Writer's Journey is as interesting to read as a textbook, but about as deep as half a dozen copies of Writer's Digest. If you read a lot and write quite a bit and you pay attention while you do these things, there is nothing in here you don't already know. Maybe you don't know the author's terms for each component, but you already know the stuff. I thought this would be a good reference, something to sit on the shelf and go back to when I need to look something up. Nope.

With a book this thic
...more
Robert
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Djrmel
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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