In writing there’s two types: the plotters and the pantsers. The plotters decide and document the entire plot before writing. The pantsers start writing and hope that a plot sorta happens along the way.
Spoiler alert: Plots don’t usually happen that way.
Also spoiler: I’m a totalt pantser.
So in an effort to learn how to be a plotter I’ve been picking up some books. This is the first one I’ve finished.
The writer’s journey is based on the idea that all stories are basically the same. They have certain elements and structures that are universal and the book tries to cover them all. It’s pretty much all based on ” The Hero with a Thousand Faces ” By Joseph Campbell, so if you’ve read that, then maybe this is not so interesting (I haven’t read it, so I wouldn’t know…)
The book is divided into two parts. The first part covers the character archetypes that may be present in a story, how they may present themselves and what roles they have to play in order to assist or challenge the hero.
The second part divides a story into twelve parts from beginning in the “Ordinay World” to ending with the climax and “Return with the Elixir”. It was pretty thoroughly explained and it gave me a pretty clear sense of the different elements you can tweak to make a story your own.
I got this book because Rashida Jones said it was an excellent tool for writing that she consults often…so how did it hold up?
Pretty alright I’d say. The first time reading it through it was a bit overwhelming, but once you have the entire picture I can see how this would be a book you could return to over and over again to figure out where to place a pivotal scene or ascertain the role of a prominent character.
The version I got was pretty dated though and referenced pretty old movies, some of them are classics like wizard of Oz and other’s I’d never heard of. Vogler’s points still shine through, but they would probably be stronger if you’d heard of the movie before hand. He actually made me look up and watch Romancing the stone, because he made it sound so good. It was meh.
Final verdict: if you’re a pantser dreaming of becoming a plotter this book is a great place to start.