The Hero’s Journey

Live to Write - Write to Live

Note: this post contains spoilers to the movie “Gravity.”

As an effort to show my students that I walk the talk of writing, I always bring in the current book I’m reading to stress that writers read. All the time. The other week I brought in a copy of The Writer’s Journey – Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler. I started talking about the Hero’s Journey and Joseph Campbell and all I saw from my students were blank stares.

star warsBesides making me feel really old (seriously, you’ve never heard of Joseph Campbell?) I realized that I had a great teaching opportunity here. I could show my class that just like in Technical Writing, some creative writing also follows organizational rules that make it easier for the writer.

“Yeah sure,” is the response I got from my students whose eyes had already started to glaze.

The Hero’s journey must always…

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Everybody Arcs! How to Use Emotional Growth to Propel the Story and Capture the Reader

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Because the Scarletts of the world get THINGS DONE.... Because the Scarletts of the world get THINGS DONE….

I’ve heard people say some books (or genres) are plot-driven and others are character-driven. My POV? This is a fallacy. All good books are character-driven and plot is what makes that possible. Characters have to make us give a hoot about the plot. If we don’t like or empathize with the characters, we don’t care about their problems.

Conversely, plot is the delivery mechanism and crucible for character (even in literary fiction). Characters can only be as strong as the opposition they face. Weak problems=weak characters. In a nutshell, character and plot can’t be easily separated.

For instance, in the Pulitzer-Winning The Road, the plot is simple. Man and Boy must make it to the ocean. Yet, since this piece is literary, the plot goal is subordinate to character goal.

It is less important that Man and Boy make it…

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Story Prompt 1

I have been notoriously lazy with this blog because I do not know what to write about. In an attempt to remedy this, I will be taking story prompts and writing the responses here once a week. I am starting today with How the Dragon Saved the Princess from the Knight(prompt from Pinterest.)


Once Upon a Time, there lived a beautiful princess named Evangeline. Her life was wonderful until one day, a knight named George came to win her hand. His reputation was well known throughout the land as a powerful slayer of dragons and a valiant leader of men. What the stories did not include ;however, was his less than exemplary qualities: his arrogance and violent nature. It is true enough that not many knew of the latter, but it is doubtful that many would have cared. It was of course his prerogative to treat his property however he saw fit. This scared Evangeline and so she ran far far away until she saw a tower in the distance. She searched around the tower for an entrance and eventually she found a door. After she made her way to to the top, she saw in the middle of the room an egg. This was not an egg like the ones the castle chickens laid. No, this egg was much larger and was pointed and had an almost milky like sheen. As if in a trance, Evangeline went up and touched it. As she did so, it began to crack and a little baby dragon poked out its head.  She named him Raziel.

After Evangeline had run, George was able to convince everyone that she had been kidnapped. The king sent him to find her and bring her back.  George searched long and hard to find his princess until he came across a tower gaurded by a dragon. His heart lept for joy. Surely a dragon would not be here if he did not have precious cargo to gaurd. He reported to the king at once that he had found a tower gaurded by a dragon and he was sure that was where the maiden was being held. The king gave him leave to check out the location, slay the dragon, and return his daughter to him.

One day as Evangeline was talking to Raziel, she saw George approaching. She told Raziel that for his own safety he must leave for George was known as a fearsome dragonslayer. Raziel refused and promised to rid her of this man so that she could return to her land.  They fought for quite some time and Raziel began to tire. This gave George the upper hand. As he went in for a death blow, Evangeline dropped a mirror from her window and knocked him to the ground. This gave Raziel the time to dispose of him. Evangeling cheered and rode Raziel back to her land. The king thanked Raziel for the return of his daughter and enlisted him to help defend the kingdom from outside enemies. Eventually, Evangeline found a worthy suitor and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.


Thoughts? Complaints? Suggestions? Leave them all in the comments below.