The Writer''s Journey by Christopher Vogler is an exellent resource for aspiring and experianced writer''s or screenwriters. Not only that, the book has been said by many to be the closest thing we have to a guide book to life. The book outlines a detailed form that all stories follow, as well as the different achetypes we meet along the way. The entire theory is based on a book by Joseph Campbell called "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" in which he goes in depth about mythology. Vogler simplifies the whole process and weeded out only what storytellers need to know.
The book is divided into two sections, the first of which is the Archetypes. This includes the Hero, the Shadow or Villian, The Mentor, the Shapeshifter (a character who''s loyalty is unclear), the Trickster (usually comic relief), The Threshold Guarding who tries to stop the hero and the Herald who is used for information purposes. In Campbell''s book there are thousands of Archetypes but all of them usually fall into one of these seven categories. After each of the Archetypes are described in detail Vogler goes on to the main point of the book, the Journey
This is the second part of the book, the journey from the ordinary world, into the special world and back again with whatever has been gained. Many of the steps in the journey can be rearranged and Vogler is very clear that what he is stating is a form, not a formula.
In other words it''s not some steady formula used to make cookie cutter products, it''s meant as more of a general guide to the path that all stories follow. The Hero starts out in the ordinary world and at some point receives a call to adventure which is usually rejected at first, but then something happens and the hero gets thrown into the adventure anyway. Once in the special world he or she meets friends, allies, and enemies along the way and eventaully find their way to the inmost cave where the shadow lives. The hero must then face some sort of death and rebirth whether it is physical or mental or any combination of the two. Afterward the hero is free to seize the prize and begin the road back which can sometimes be just as perilous as the origianl journey. The hero always returns to the ordinary world with something gained. This can be a change in themselves, some kind of magical gift or even some special knowledge. The book is a must read for anyone who enjoys writing, and a good read for those who don''t. I strongly suggest this book to everyone.