The Writer’s Journey

The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler, I consider one of the more important books that I have read in the past few years.  I’m pretty sure I wrote about it a few years ago, but I think the blog post got lost in translation when I moved to Trial Theory – I can’t find it now, anyway.

The Writer’s Journey describes the story structure known as “the hero’s journey,” drawn from the work of Joseph Campbell (The Hero of a Thousand Faces) and Carl Jung’s theories on archetypes and collective unconscious.  The book outlines the hero’s journey in a way that makes it easy to understand for the story-teller, the writer, or the director, using familiar examples such as The Hobbit, The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, and other classic books or movies.

The lesson  that I took from this book is that, since the dawn of mankind, humans have been telling stories.  In every culture across the world, in different mythologies, in different story-telling traditions, the structure of the stories that have lasted has been variations on the the same theme, with the same identifiable stages, with the apppearance of the same archetypes.  In a sense, they are all the same story.

Human beings are hard-wired to understand, relate to, and feel emotion through story-telling.  Understanding the basic structure of the hero’s journey is important if we are to tell the story of our client to a jury; or if we are to tell the story of a particular witness, defendant or co-defendant, victim, police officer, opposing counsel – whatever point of view we are telling the story from, it needs to be told in a way that is engaging and that makes sense.

This is the first book that I have read on the topic, and I think it is a perfect introduction.  The concept is fascinating, and I am looking forward to reading books by Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and other books on story structure and directing.


5 Responses to “The Writer’s Journey

  • scott webre
    8 years ago

    thanks for the book suggestion. Have you read Carl’s book, 12 Heroes One Voice? Carl Bettinger addresses story structure in his book as applied to trial practice. It’s brilliant.

  • I’m reading Carl’s book now. I think a basic understanding of the mythic story structure is probably a prerequisite – he assumes that the reader is familiar with it and then builds on it. The book is brilliant, I love it so far.

  • One thing I’m getting from Carl’s book is a longer list of books to read – he keeps returning to the same three or four citations that I really want to read now. The Story Factor, and some other writing and directing books.

  • Thanks for doing these book posts. I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut, and it is nice to have new things to turn to. I just ordered this one; it sounds good.

  • I’m glad – it’s a wonderful read. It’s also a pandora’s box – I’ve already ordered a number of books that this one made me want to read, like Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung’s works. Also Carl Bettinger’s book that Scott talked about in the comment above, Twelve Heroes, One Voice, takes the concepts in The Writer’s Journey and really applies them to trial work.

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