January 20, 2013

The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a writing tool that saves my ass every single time I use it BEFORE I start writing a new story, and when I don't use it, the story dies a long and painful death.

Taken from the desk of genius Joseph Campbell:

1. Heroes are introduced in the ORDINARY WORLD, where
2. They receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE.
3. They are RELUCTANT at first or REFUSE THE CALL, but
4. Are encouraged by a MENTOR to
5. CROSS THE FIRST THRESHOLD and enter the Special World where
6. They encounter TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.
7. They APPROACH THE INNERMOST CAVE, crossing a second threshold
8. Where they endure the ORDEAL.
9. They take possession of their REWARD and
10. Are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World.
11. Cross the third threshold, experience a RESURRECTION and are transformed by the experience.
12. The RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World.

When friends ask for writing suggestions, the first thing I say is, "You wouldn't drive to a location you've never been without a map, so why would you write a book without an outline?"

They usually stop emailing me after that because nobody wants to do this footwork, but it is so vital to the story.

So, happy outlining to you and yours.


Keep writing. It saves lives.

January 10, 2013

No complaints from the complaint department

Happy New Year, and by that I mean, hope your starvation diet is going well. I'm having trouble living without sugar and bread, but my jeans are no longer cutting off the circulation to my large head.

For the new year, I'm back at work because 1) Peter didn't get that 150K promotion I was banking on, and 2) I needed to return to human civilization to be reminded just how much I don't like human civilization. Also, I finished my memoir and since I got rid of cable last year, there are very few reasons to stay at home all day unless you're working on something, watching re-runs of "Charmed" or eating. Don't get me wrong - I'd love to stay at home all day, but I'd prefer to get paid to do so.

In other news that's not really news because if I posted the news I'd be writing shit like "the public demands to see pictures of Osama bin Laden's dead body to prove he's really dead" (can you inter a body from the bottom of the ocean?). Or I'd be telling you about the worst flu outbreak since that movie about the monkey that fucked up an entire town. Or I'd be debating if we should put armed guards on every street corner, or at least in public restrooms.

No, no, no - my news is a little less insane. After several rejections on my memoir I decided to get some professional writing help (in addition to my other professional help). I needed a reality check. Since I started writing my memoir seven years ago, I've had recurring nightmares and panic attacks. Drudging up every terrible decision I've ever made over and over might not be the best practice for someone who suffers from chronic depression, alcoholism, OCD and high anxiety.

After a painful surrender, the conclusion: There ain't no more juice to squeeze out of that lemon.

Maybe I'll resuscitate it when I'm a little older and wiser.


Keep writing. It saves lives.