Friday, April 20, 2007

Take Two: Books for Writers

I wanted to use this blog time to talk about writing books that make a difference, and to invite readers to share their own favorites.
My top two entries are Robert McKee's "Story", and Christopher Vogler's "The Writer's Journey". Now, I know that McKee is a screenplay writer/editor, but his analysis of story construct is brilliant and detailed. If you like movies (as I do), you will relate to his analysis. Probably the most important message to take from his book, though, is to remember that storytelling needs to be compelling. I'm beginning to think about the bond that I want to create with my audience. (I say "beginning", because I feel like I am still learning to construct a decent story). Without a story that makes a connection, my words are just pretty nothings, and this is McKee's message.
Vogler's book is a reinterpretation of Joseph Campbell's classic (if complex) "The Hero's Journey". What I like about Vogler is that he is so clear and logical. Not to say that story construction is driven by a template - not at all. But certain things come back time and again in stories and were probably present in the earliest tales told around the campfire. These things include archetypal characters, and stages of change in the protagonist.
One of the ideas present in both books is that the protagonist must go through a change that is irreversible. That is, the protagonist never leaves their story in the same shape as when they began their story.
But more about that and some other favorite books later - and please, add your own thoughts and books to this page.

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