Christopher Vogler is a Hollywood development executive, screenwriter, author and educator, best known for working with Disney and his screenwriting guide, The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers, from 2007.
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 dumbing it down for writers.
You learn about a set of archetypes, then a series of steps that Campbell suggests are Jungian archetypes that crop up everywhere.
I find this whole monomyth concept thoroughly overstated. Many of these points are so vague as to be meaningless, while others can be simplified or even removed. Books like "Save the Cat" suggest that a writer must follow all of them. Vogler at least has the decency to suggest that these are merely guides, not rules.
I don't think Joseph Campbell did the work he did because he wanted to create easy lesson for hacky screenwriters (for some reason all these books seemed geared towards movies). He seemed to just find the reoccuring events of fiction fascinating.
The thing is, these archetypes only really seem good for creating a boy's first adventure. Many mature story diverge so greatly from the formula that it's more of an act of creativity to make them fit.
When I was at the GDC this year, I listened to a two hour lecture by a member of the Pixar writing staff. Here's their story structure:
Funny how the formula used by one of the most successful studios is roughly the same structure explained to me in grade school.
Though there were a few interesting points in this fairly thick book, I feel like these guides succeed and keep getting written for all the wrong reasons.
Wannabe writers want a shortcut. They want a blue print to art, a way to bypass understanding things like human empathy, harnessing irony, or the need to practice. They don't want to put in the 10,000 hours of work for mastery suggested by the book Outliers. Writing was a wild hair urge summoned up in college, and they want results right-the-hell now!
A lot of the things you need to know about writing can be gleaned from a careful examination of what makes you care about the works you love. Ira Glass once stated that people get into writing because they have good taste, and want to add to the amazing conversation of ideas that their taste has created.
To me the best advice on the matter is, "You should write more. You should read more." And pay attention while you do both.
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 is true that all stories can be related to it, but this does not justify the fact that the author stripped this fascinating field of knowledge from its spiritual and magical dimensions.
I believe writers should read about mythology! But I think they should go to its "supreme source" instead of buying a "10 minutes snack" from a consultant.
Writing is a trip into the unknown, it is a journey indeed! But it is not a ready template that you can apply to your script and " win " some points of so called "depth" or " mythic dimensions! " .. this is simply like picking a shell from a beach in Bali, putting the shell in one of your rooms in the house and call it " a Balinese rooms"!
Do your work properly, dig in the dirt, absorb the mysterious world of mythology slowly and take your time.
Joseph Campbell’ın Kahraman’ın Sonsuz Yolculuğu kitabının senaristler, senaryo yazmak isteyenler ya da bir hikaye anlatmaya ilgisi olanlar için bir nevi tekrar yazılmış hali. Kendisiyle sınırlı kalmayan bir kitap bu yönden. Mitler, masallar, arketipler ile başka okumalara da sıçratıyor sizi. Bana bu yönden en büyük katkısı; Jung’un Dört Arketip’i oldu. Yıllardır okunmayı bekliyordu, bu süreçte birlikte okuyunca parçalar daha güzel oturdu yerine diye düşünüyorum.
Kitabın daha da güzel, kişisel katkısı sanırım şuydu: Kendi yolculuğumdaki kahramanlığımda, zaman zaman sınavlar, müttefikler, mağranın derinliklerine yaklaşma, orada kendi gölgemle karşılaşma anlarını, başka mitler, hikayeler, versiyonlar üzerinden gözlemlemek oldu. Ve şunu hatırlattı tabi, herkesin yolculuğu farklı, herkesin yolun sonuna gelme serüveni başka, aslolan yolculuktur, sen kendine ve yola güven, gerisine çok da kaptırma.☺
Karakterin yolculuğunu izlemeyi, anlamlandırmayı, buna kafa yormayı seven herkese mutlaka öneririm.
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.
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 the theories of JC, this takes them and shows how to apply them to a story. While I am still reading it, it has already given me insight into looking at stories and movies in a different light. Being a Fantasy and Sci-Fi fan, I've understood the archetypes for a long time. For instance, Ben Kenobi (Obi Wan) and Gandalf are really the same archetypal figure of Mentor and are plain to see to me. But I never really thought of looking beyond that and seeing the same Mentor figure in other movies, like Robin Williams' character in Dead Poet's Society, M in the Bond films and books, or Father in Hellboy. Also, it has helped me to understand that the role can also be used as a mask, where a different archetype can pick it up and wear it as need be for the story, such as Julia Roberts girlfriend-prostitute in Pretty Woman, where she isn't always a Mentor, but she can be at times when the hero (boy or girl) needs them to be.
So far an incredible book and one I'm sure I will use if ever I decide to pan out the story ideas in my head. If not, then I at least will look at film and stories differently and possibly even my own life. (Yeah, that good so far.)
Finished it and it was everything I had hoped. An incredible book. If you are interested in the "behind the scenes" of story telling, this is a must read. Can't wait to read his other book.
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 prescription for a good story, and that many films fall outside of its Archetypes and Steps, but if your story can't be described by the Hero's Journey, you probably have some work to do.
Some of the example movies are a little dated in the Year of Our Lord 2013 (Romancing the Stone, what's that?), and there isn't much said about the more complex stories typical of extended trilogies or television shows, but for all that, this is a critical book for writers looking to improve the structure of their stories.
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, he has done a noble thing indeed. And, along the way, you will learn some things about why some stories fly off with our collective imagination and others...well, just don't. And if you are a writer and you've struggled with this problem in selling your own works, you can get some help here. Unless you don't care about what readers feel and think and you just want to write for you. That's cool. If that's the case, this book is not for you, either. But there are several chapters beyond the "formulaic" bulk of the book that are worth a look even if you catch yourself looking down your nose at this text. The appendix entitled "Stories are Alive" underscores the importance of your character's initial wish for a change, but also emphasizes that WILL is at least as important as wish. And I did enjoy "The Wisdom of the Body.” The final section "Trust the Path" was a moving one for me and most likely the reason why, in the end, this accessible, amusing and very approachable book is a 5 star read for me.
من المذهل ان تكتشف ان كل القصص تتكون من نفس البناء والقواعد ان جردتها كانت هذه حقيقة اكدتها تعاليم هذا الكتاب
منذ اسبوع حضرت محاضرة عن كتابة السيناريو قدمها الكاتب المحترم شريف عبد الهادي اعترف انه حمل في محاضرته المكونة من ساعتين ونص محتوى واسلوب اقوى وافضل بكثير من هذا الكتاب
كنت قد قررت قراءة هذا الكتاب لاضافة تفاصيل وتثبيت المعلومات التي حصلت عليها من محاضرة شريف لكن الكتاب لم يكن ممتعا ومركزا مثل المحاضرة بل كان يحمل الكثير من الحشو واللف والدوران حول نفس النقطة كما ان الاسلوب كان مزعج بعض الشئ
ربما يظن البعض انه كتاب موجه لمن يكتب السيناريوهات فقط هذا غير صحيح هو موجه للكتاب الحكايات سواءا الروايات او القصص بشكل عام, حتى انه يمكن ان يكون موجه للقراء ليستطيعوا فهم اكبر قدر ممكن من الاشارات الرمزية االغير مباشرة في كل الحكايات والتعمق في ادراكها بشكل اكبر
لذلك فهو من الكتب التي يفضل ان يقرأها الجميع او يكون عنده المعلومات الاساسية فيها على الاقل
يمكنك ان تقرأ الفهرس او العناوين في كل صفحة وستصل لك المعلومة بشك�� اساسي
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 myth and archetype for modern storytelling, it seemed like a good place to start. As I read, I'm amazed by how much mythic structure is I've absorbed already by osmosis. There are so many points of correspondence between Vogler's points and the structure of the book I'm writing, it's spooky. But now that I'm aware of those correspondences, I hope I can make my narrative stronger by tightening them those points and letting them play out.
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.
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 see or the books you read, this book could very well do the same for your life.
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.
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 like polarity and the nature of supporting characters.
Of course, Vogler's analysis won't apply to every book or writer, but as somebody striving to get published in genre fiction, this book was a godsend. It's already helped me plot out my next book and it's going to be an invaluable resource in the future - one of those books you always need to have at hand, just in case.
¡Este es el mejor manual de guión que he leído hasta la fecha! Práctico, útil, sencillo y detallado. Todo sobre los arquetipos y las etapas del viaje del héroe. Sirve incluso para historias que tienen una estructura dramática no tan clásica como la de los tres actos. Además incluye análisis de películas. Lo recomiendo mucho para quien necesite ayuda a la hora de construir sus historias o pulir / ordenar el material narrativo.
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, an early friend who treats him normally and represents normal life. She speaks the Call to Adventure: Run Forrest, run!
3) Reluctant Hero: Forest still gets beat up, still called stupid by most
4) Mentor = Momma, who believes in him and tells him he can do anything/ “Stupid is as stupid does.”
5) Crossing the First Threshold: Becoming a football hero (through running & confusion)
6) Tests: Nearly getting killed in war, Jenny rejecting him in a coffee house, fights with Jenny’s boyfriend (they represent hippie counterculture when he is a Viet Nam military hero they protest), Jenny almost killing herself and taking his goal of gaining her as his true love from him.
7) Inmost cave: Forrest faces his first real failure in a long time as a shrimper, but Lt. Dan faces his fears of failure too and they both ride out a storm that ultimately is the saving grace for their shrimp boat business. Also, Lt. Dan invests their money making them financially secure for life.
8) Ordeal: Momma dies
9) Reward: Jenny comes back only to leave him the day after she has sex with him to prove she loves him.
10) Road Back: Forrest starts running again. People see him as a wise man and follow his lead.
11) Ressurection: Jenny contacts him, they come together, he learns he has a son! Who’s smart!
12) Return With The Elixir: The family goes back to Alabama. Jenny dies, but little Forrest is an important legacy of big Forrest’s original quest.
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 thick, I was hoping for some in-depth study. With a title like this, I expected a look into mythology and how it affected contemporary fiction. Instead, I read a lot of repetition and many vague descriptions. Do you know what an anti-hero is? Of course you do. Do you want to hear a scholar's analysis of the anti-hero, what makes them tick why we identify with them? Of course you do; so did I. You won't get that here. This book will tell you that anti-heros are characters like Han Solo. Then the author will say that again and then once more for good measure. That's all you'll get.
The last third are just stories of the movies the author helped "improve," citing all of the ideas he offered that were used in, say, The Lion King as well as all of the ideas he had that were not used and would have made the movie better had the executives listened to him. I won't even opine; if that sounds like good reading to you, be my guest.
Mostly, this book is a collection of abstracts from better authors - it gets two stars for encouraging me to go read some more Jung.
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 mind. I have a story that I've wanted to write for a long time, and I needed help refining the structure, filling the holes in the plot and sharpening the themes and the characters. I didn't use the book as a recipe, but as a sounding board, a tool that allowed me to ask all the right questions before I actually sat to write my story; and it has proven extremely useful in that respect.
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 levels of their craft as the hero's journey applies to all genres.
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 put it to use. Learning and inspiration can come from anywhere!
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.
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.
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, the inmost cave, etc.
Vogler attempts to relate Campbell's character archetypes to successful movies. Who is the Shadow? Who is the Shapeshifter? Who is the Mentor? He also outlines a basic structure for the story:
1. Ordinary World 2. Call to Adventure 3. Refusal of the Call 4. Meeting with the Mentor 5. Crossing the First Threshold
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies 7. Approach to the Inmost Cave 8. Ordeal 9. Reward
10. The Road Back 11. Resurrection 12. Return with the Elixir
When you try to apply this formula to some movies, it works quite well, e.g. STAR WARS. Bear in mind, though, these often seem to be movies written by writers who are consciously trying to apply Joseph Campbell to screenwriting, as George Lucas was. Back in film school, I tried a bunch of times to relate these steps to stories I was trying to tell, and I had trouble telling what step I was supposed to be on. Lisa pointed out that many of the steps applied to the series I'm working on (Natural World, Refusal of the Call) but later on it gets difficult to say which part is "The Road Back" and which is "Return with the Elixir".
When Vogler tries to fit stories that aren't intended to be epic hero tales into his formula, the results aren't so neat. It can feel like he's shoehorning the facts into the theory, as when he looks at PULP FICTION. No "Shapeshifter" character? Claim that Vincent Vega and Mia's dance moves "reflect the SHAPESHIFTER archetype, as they try out various masks and identies in the APPROACH to love" (p. 275). Uh huh.
I'm not a big fan of formula, myself. I'm agnostic about Blake Snyder's formula (see my earlier post on SAVE THE CAT!) because I can see how it might work. My problem with Vogler is that while it is an interesting way to look at movies, and to understand what they're doing for the audience, I don't see how it helps me write one. It looks like a way to analyze what is going on in a movie, rather than a way to write a movie.
I should note that Christopher Vogler is not a professional writer, but a professional story analyst (if I understand his resume right). He shares credit on one German movie. Mostly, my impression is, he works with writers that the studio feels could use someone with a deeper understanding of story structure. In that case I would imagine that his approach, actually applied by him, might work.
But if you want a mythic perspective on screenwriting -- and how it fits into the grand epic tradition of storytelling -- then you might well check out THE WRITER'S JOURNEY.
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 journey (The Ordinary World, The Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Meeting With the Mentor, Crossing the Threshold, Tests, Allies & Enemies, Approach, The Ordeal, The Reward, The Road back, The Resurrection, Return With the Elixir) which is usually identified with the high fantasy genre. This outline is mostly used in screenwriting but can be used to help structure a novel or short story.
Even if you are writing a different genre than the fantasy paradigm, this book an awesome jumping point for writers to add to their arsenal. Revisiting The Writer's Journey as a writer myself of about two decades and seeing how writing has changed over the course of the time puts this in a new light. I'm glad to look back at this time as I'm currently taking a blueprint workshop which makes use of beat sheets, also used in screenwriting. It's interesting to see how similar beat sheets are to the writer's journey. I highly recommend this to writers if only to learn the rules, apply it, write and rewrite until you're comfortable bending and stretching the rules a bit to tell a great story.
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 find it incredible that no one ever mentioned Vogler's book. The first printing was 1998. I just finished the third edition, published in 2007. I learned of it recently when participating in a Writer's Digest webinar. Since then, I've been reading it carefully and slowly because there is so much to digest. Of particular significance to writers is the "Appendices" section, broken into chapters on polarity, catharsis, and "the wisdom of the body."
Vogler's writing style is fluid, conversational, and friendly, and he thoroughly demonstrates command of his subject. This book should be a primer for writers. That said, film buffs will also enjoy it.
امروز این کتاب خوب رو تموم کردم. این کتاب خودش رو به عنوان "ساختار اسطورهای در خدمت نویسندگان" مطرح میکنه. ابتدا راجع به مفهوم اسطوره و کهنالگوها طبق نظریهی جوزف کمبل صحبت میکنه بعد طریقهی بهکارگیری این کهنالگوها در داستان رو مورد مطالعه قرار میده. در انتها هم چهار فیلم تایتانیک، شیرشاه، پالپ فیکشن و فول مانتی به عنوان مثالهایی برای این روند انتخاب شدهاند. در طول کتاب هم ارجاعات بسیاری به فیلم جنگ ستارگان میشه و خیلی از مفاهیم رو روی اون فیلم توضیح میده. کتاب سعی کرده خیلی عملی (practical) باشه و صرفاً یه سری نظریه نباشه. فهرست مطالب کتاب رو هم میذارم. این کتاب مخصوصاً برای علاقهمندان به نویسندگی و فیلمنامه نویسی خیلی مناسبه. بهخصوص مورد دوم. پ.ن: با توجه به اینکه مفهوم اسطوره و مطالعهی اون در ادبیات و سینما و به طور کلی هنر خیلی مهمه، پیشنهاد میکنم حتماً مطالعه در این باب اگر نداشتهاید، داشته باشید. پ.ن: کتاب جوزف کمبل رو هم من وقتی داشتم روی شخصیتسازی برای برند کار میکردم، خوندم که خیلی مفید بود. کلاً شناسایی کهنالگوها (archetypes) خیلی مفید و لذتبخشه.
Now IF (and that is important "if", I can't stress this enough) you want to map your script or your story in the most traditional (and I mean Hollywood tradition) way there is - that is the book for you. A must I would say. It is clever and easy to understand and all the patterns it offers don't wash out your brain the next second you finished it. It is very well structured: first of all, you get to understand types of characters of your story, then you go through all the stages of your story - the ones your hero will have to get through; and then Vogler analyzes several box office hits like Titanic and The Lion King, applying his method. Main downside is of course narrow field of usage of this method (and it doesn't look like author admits that) and also exсessive amount of Wizard of Oz examples.
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 work will probably be seen within this context.