The Writer with a Thousand Stories

Monday, April 23, 2007
Christopher Vogler’s work, The Writer’s Journey, is based on Joseph Campbell’s, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. If you’ve read either one, you might appreciate the mythic structure underlying many screenplays and adventure stories. Although these texts are not funny in any sense of the word, my recent discovery from their application left me laughing, and perhaps others can relate. The journey into writing is a true adventure story. Applying the mythic structure to my world, for example, puts me on the same track as a Heroine’s Journey:

Writing has always been a part of my life, but it didn’t dominate my former career for any creative benefit; it was merely an underlying thread woven beneath the fabric of my work. Narrowing it down, this was my “Ordinary World.” By transitioning into the writing profession and taking courses through Long Ridge Writer’s Group, I walked down a new fork in life’s long road. This “Call to Adventure” came along with a second one when I volunteered to intern for WOW! Women On Writing eZine. Both helped me look more seriously at my writing. Just as heroines traditionally do, though, I hesitated, hemmed and hawed, and wondered if I should go for it. “Refusal of the Call” came as I resisted both of these challenges at first. But, ultimately, I raised the stakes by facing them.

“Ordeals” include writing high-quality, publishable pieces for my Long Ridge Instructors and learning new tasks for the magnificent editors at WOW! “Rewards” follow from working with writing professionals, learning about the world of writing from various angles, and increasing my self-confidence in the process. Sometimes, though, I find a false sense of completion when I’ve messed up; yet, coping always comes through blushing cheeks and humble chuckles.

The laughter comes when I reflect upon “Mastery.” It hasn’t knocked on my door yet; and, I’ve not come full circle by any means. But the best part is in the realization that I will. I’ve definitely changed my outlook, but my adventure isn’t resolved like a story and it may never be. It’s ongoing, and I find joy in it. Like many writers, I have at least a thousand stories. I guess this mythic archetype fits many writers’ lives; it’s just a matter of exchanging personal details. Thinking in these terms puts a new twist on an old perspective.

Can you relate?


WOW! said...

Hi Sue,

Great post! Sometimes I forget to relate my life to that of a heroine, but it is true, our lives are filled with mythic structure, mini-plots, and subplots. Taking the time to examine our lives from outside ourselves is like researching a grand masterpiece... one that requires some editing from time to time (if you want to keep the reader hooked)! And applying a little story architecture can help us put things into a writerly perspective.

We all receive many 'Calls to Action' and it's up to us to decide whether to step through that doorway or not. We at WOW! are so very lucky that you've chosen to take your inner heroine to the next level. There may be some plot twists and complications from time to time, but we do guarantee a happy ending. ;-)


Jean said...

I'm going to second the "great post" comment.

I love this analogy! Those "Calls" are sometimes hard to answer but always worth it when we do.

I'm so glad to be sharing this adventure with both of you.


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