The Writers’ Journey

The most important thing I learned in writing was the hero’s journey.

Oh, I fought it. My student, Marlene, kept telling me about this great book by Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey. I resisted her. I mean a lot of people have told me my life was over if I didn’t read such and such book. A month went by, two months, then a full summer. Finally Marlene gave up and bought me the book.

What an amazing tool I found in this book. For my first novel, I had a whole wall covered with plot lines and stick-em notes. Now—a simple hero’s journey from the hero’s ordinary world, back to it in step twelve.

Vogler credits the ideas of Joseph Campbell, a man who studied the literature of many cultures and found common elements. Look for these elements in stories, movies and classic myths of every culture. Many writers use these 12 points instead of more formal plot outlines. The 12 steps do not have to be in order.

Over the next four days, I’d like to treat three steps a day. I’ll use a full list on the last day


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