Throughout my journey with Main Character May, I’ve relied on a variety of sources to bring you the most practical insights about protagonists. Here, I’ve provided my thoughts on two books that are essential tools for any serious writer.

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

A must-have resource, The Writer’s Journey is “intended as a practical guidebook for writers” (Vogler x).  The author deconstructs Joseph Campbell’s mythological story research into a methodology that can be used by modern writers.  The primary focus is the famed Hero’s Journey, which Vogler states “is not an invention, but an observation.  It is a recognition of a beautiful design, a set of principles that govern the conduct of life and the world of storytelling the way physics and chemistry govern the physical world” (ix).  

This book is a comprehensive guide to the characters that populate a story, using examples from modern films. It also offers detailed analyses of each stage of The Hero’s Journey and how it applies to modern storytelling, providing a wealth of knowledge for aspiring writers.  

Once you read through it, you’ll begin to see this story structure at work in films like Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz.  Vogler does an excellent job giving writers a true sense of this particular storytelling form’s resonant power and longevity, and it’s well worth exploring.  

Story by Robert McKee

A Hollywood staple, Story by Robert McKee is considered the gold standard for screenwriters, and it’s easy to see why.  McKee delivers an exhaustive analysis of its titular topic, delving into what makes a good story work.  

From the beginning, the author makes it clear that his book “urges creation of works that will excite audiences on six continents and live in revival for decades” (McKee 3).  As you dig through the pages, it becomes clear that McKee has expertly dissected the modern story structure and its characters, providing an in-depth and thorough exploration of how to deliver a solid and compelling story to modern audiences effectively.

It’s a compelling and insightful reading experience for any writer who wants to improve their writing and become more familiar with the technical aspects of creating an outstanding narrative.

Books like The Writer’s Journey and Story are always handy to reference when you get stuck during the writing process or need some quick inspiration.  They also provide valuable insight and tools you can use to make your stories and characters stronger.

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