Monday, March 2, 2015

The Hero's Journey

Welcome to March, dear readers, and another month of writing adventures. We'll be exploring script writing a bit (who doesn't want their novel to become a movie?) and examining the differences between book and movie plots, which tend to have dissimilar story arcs.

It's perhaps important to first understand the monomyth or hero's journey concept upon which so many modern movies are based. Joseph Campbell held that numerous myths from different times and places share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. You can read more about it at Wikipedia which has a comprehensive essay on Campbell's work.

There are also many YouTube videos including this TEDx production:

 

On Thursday, author, artist, and actor, Daniel Donche will share his expertise on how the hero's journey is important to screen writing, and can even improve the plotting in your novel if consciously applied to characters and plots at key points in your book. Please be sure to visit us again.

Are you familiar with the hero's journey in literature? How have you used this road map in your own writing? Please leave us a comment.

13 comments :

  1. Scriptwriting has always interested me, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post. Back in the early 90s, I had a small part in writing a script that was optioned but never sold.

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    1. I'd like us to have a monthly script writing post at the BRP. Such a fascinating part of writing.

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    2. I like that idea, Dani. I met a screen writer from northern Colorado at a conference several years ago and recall our having an interesting conversation. I'll look through my collection of business cards to see if I by any chance have one of his. He (I think it was a "he") seemed quite knowledgeable and might be a good resource if I can find him.

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  2. While I have nothing against the hero's journey (aside from hating to think of it while I'm writing), it doesn't work the same way for the woman's journey. Barbara Samuel has a wonderful presentation on the differences between the way a 'woman's' book and a 'hero's' book play out. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow's guest has to say.

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    1. You could write a post about that, Terry, with your opinions on Hero vs. Heroine in story.

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  3. I do love Joseph Campbell and think his lectures are brilliant. However, it seems like every class or lecture I attended used the hero's journey for a basis. I still felt lost as to how to turn that into scenes and chapters, which led me to the research that resulted in the Story Building Blocks. One size does not fit all and I wanted more options. I would love to learn more about screenwriting. The only class I took focused on pitch sessions. I kept thinking: how can you pitch something you don't know how to write yet?

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    1. I was confused about the three-act structure and applying it to my novel. I think Dan will explain a bit of that tomorrow. As to more option, 17 steps in the hero's journey plan has my head spinning. I think it's a concept I would have to apply during revision only.

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  4. I truly believe I'm incapable of following anything that tells me how my story should evolve. Maybe if I plotted, but I don't. I did try my hand at writing a screenplay and entered a contest. I did it as a lark. I got nowhere in the contest other than a follow-up of emails urging me to enter the next year's contest. What I learned was how to trim dialogue, and it was fun. Since I didn't want to be a screenwriter when I grow up, that was my only foray into the craft. I have a hard enough time being a writer. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

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  5. I'm aware of the hero's journey ... I just try not to let it get in the way of a good story.

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    1. Christopher, you're always our hero for your funny style if nothing else! :D

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  6. I'm insecure enough to wonder if my story is good without running it through some tests!

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  7. I read The Hero's Journey many moons ago, and I think the broad concept of keeping in mind that a protagonist in a story has a goal and has to go on a journey in a sense to accomplish that is good for all stories. I don't know that we have to follow the exact steps that Campbell outlines. Holding a writer to an exact set of rules, any exact set of rules, is limiting.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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