When I experienced a bad case of writer’s block some years ago, I sought inspiration virtually anywhere I could find it. Fortunately, someone suggested The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers. It’s a good thing I read it, because Christopher Vogler‘s how-to, inspired by his years as a story editor for Disney and Fox Studios, not only helped me reframe my ideas about my characters, it helped me gain perspective on my story and start writing again.
I now see my characters very differently. Instead of thinking “This character must do something, but what?” Vogler has helped me see my characters as archetypes with special functions and roles that they must do if the story is to fulfill its purpose. This process has given me a much broader scope, as well as giving me the impetus to keep going. I now know where I’m going, rather than having the feeling of wandering with no end in sight.
Most importantly, though, I now see the overall structure and story arc of the book, which I didn’t before reading Vogler’s work.
I learned a great deal while summarizing Vogler’s ideas, and turned the idea of a hero(ine)’s quest into a writer’s quest we can all go on if we need to gain perspective on the story we’re writing.