This is Part 2 in my series on mythic structure, or the hero’s journey. I am combining the next two stages of the hero’s adventure, The Call to Adventure and Refusal of the Call, because they are so closely connected.
1. The call to adventure is issued by the herald archetype. This may be personified in a character i.e. Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games, the Tarleton brothers in Gone with the Wind, the droids in Star Wars: A New Hope. Or a herald can be an item such as the letter from Hogwarts in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, the dead body washed up on the beach in Jaws, or the burning bush in The Prince of Egypt. (For more on the herald archetype, please check out my previous article on the subject.) Continue reading
This post is part of the British Invaders Blogathon hosted by Terry Towles Canote at A Shroud of Thoughts. Click HERE for a list of all the entries!
When I was a kid, my mother rarely took me to see children’s movies. Partly because at the time (the late 1960s) there weren’t that many children’s movies made, partly because, well, she just didn’t like sitting through children’s movies.
So I was taken to see grown-up movies from a very young age. My mother has always been interested in history, and loved the royal costume dramas coming out of Great Britain at the time. She imparted this love to me. Continue reading
Last November I participated in REUTS Publications’ contest Project REUTSway. Each week, writers were given a prompt to use to retell a fairy tale. Each prompt was a supernatural creature (vampires, zombies, demons and werewolves).
Two out of the three stories I submitted were chosen for an anthology, which will be published at a later date.
My third story was a runner-up. Each week since February, REUTS has been featuring one of the runner-up stories on their blog.
Today was my turn! Continue reading
As writers, we sometimes (maybe most of the time) feel as though agents and editors are our natural enemies, rejecting work unfairly. They live to keep the truly talented from succeeding, the thinking goes.
That’s because most of us have never had to deal with the slush piles at publishing houses and literary agencies.
On Twitter, several literary agents tweet with the #10queries hashtag (other variations are #10queriesin10tweets and #tenqueries). This is a fantastic insight into what agents see cross their desks from the slush pile. You can either periodically check out the hashtag(s) or follow agents who do this on a regular basis.
I currently follow Margaret Bail (@MKDB) at Inklings Literary Agency, Whitley Abell (@whitleyabell, also at Inklings), Eric W. Ruben, Esq. (@EricRubenLawyer) who is, obviously, a lawyer but also a literary agent. Sara Megibow (@SaraMegibow) of Nelson Literary Agency used to do #10queriesin10tweets on a regular basis; she does it only occasionally now. (Follow her anyway, she still shares great advice about submitting to agents.)
Here are a few striking things you can’t help but notice when you check out the hashtag: Continue reading
Now that I’ve finished my series about archetypes, I am beginning a new one about mythic structure.
Mythic structure is also known as “monomyth” and even more commonly as the hero’s journey. Mythologist Joseph Campbell described monomyth in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Film development executive Chris Vogler adapted and simplified many of Campbell’s ideas in his book The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. (I also like how Vogler modernized Campbell’s stages of the hero’s journey, making them less gender-specific.)
As with archetypes, there is some controversy over mythic structure, with the main complaint being that it results in clichéd and rote storytelling. But, as with archetypes, that only happens if you resort to clichéd and rote storytelling. Structure is a very important aspect of writing, whether it’s a novel or a screenplay. It’s necessary but also endlessly variable, which I hope to demonstrate in these articles about each stage of the hero’s journey. Continue reading
The Emmy nominations were announced this week. Some of my favorite shows got a boatload of nominations (Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, American Horror Story: Coven, to name a few.) So how come my main reaction was something like this:
As I mentioned in my Pop Culture Awards post from last year, it must be rough to be an Emmy nomination judge, especially in the drama categories. There are so many quality dramas now, with so many quality actors giving amazing performances, it’s not at all odd that a lot of people get left out.
There were also surprises, many of them fabulous, but some of the snubs were mind-boggling.
Officially, I created this blog on July 1, 2012. I didn’t post anything until July 8. So I consider this entire week my blogversary.
It’s hard to believe it’s already two years since I started this blog. Some great things happened this past year. I have two stories that will be published in an anthology by Reuts Publications. For the first time, one of my posts was Freshly Pressed (featured by WordPress). Writing this blog has been mostly great, but sometimes it’s also a frustrating ride.
Here are a few things I learned about blogging the past two years: Continue reading
BIG SPOILERS FOR SEASON 4 OF GAME OF THRONES.
I read a review before Season 4 of Game of Thrones started that claimed this was the show’s “imperial phase.” What the critic meant was that every TV show has a season where all the elements come together almost perfectly, resulting in its strongest season.
I have to disagree with this reviewer. While in some ways this was a fantastic season, it was far from perfect. Overall, the sum of its parts was greater than the whole. The great and good stuff were pretty darn amazing. But the not-so-great stuff was deeply disappointing. Continue reading
This post is part of the 1967 IN FILM Blogathon hosted by Silver Screenings and The Rosebud Cinema. Click HERE for a list of all the entries!
I have a confession to make.
When I chose Valley of the Dolls as my film for this blogathon, I referred to it as a “guilty pleasure.”
I am here to tell you that I feel absolutely no guilt for loving this film.
Why, one may ask, would a film enthusiast pick a movie like Valley of the Dolls when the subject of the blogathon is one of the great turning point years in cinematic history? Why not pick Bonnie & Clyde, or The Graduate, or Weekend? Continue reading
One of the great social media tools for writers is the ability to pitch our work directly to editors and agents via Twitter. It’s rude and unprofessional to pitch to them directly via Twitter or any other social media (this is considered spam, people). However, there are Twitter pitch events every now and then where editors and agents participate and request partial or full manuscripts from writers. #PitMad and #SFFpit are two examples.
Creating a logline that distills the essence of your story in as few words as possible has always been a necessity for writers. Creating one for a Twitter pitch event can be even more of a challenge, as you have only 140 characters, some of which have to be used with the pitch event hashtag, and sometimes also indicate the genre and age category (MG, YA, NA or A for middle grade, young adult, new adult or adult).
Reading through some of the pitches during these events, what jumps out immediately is how bad most people are at creating Twitter pitches. Continue reading
I have been nominated by author Sandra Danby to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour.
Sandra’s first novel Ignoring Gravity is about two pairs of sisters linked by a generation of secrets. It is currently available for pre-order. Sandra also has a lovely blog about living in rural Andalusia, Spain called Notes on a Spanish Valley. Thank you, Sandra, for inviting me to participate!
Now for my writing process: Continue reading