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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I'm Reading - 9/28/10

I have long read the works of Joseph Campbell. I even applied the monomyth principle to Sherlock Holmes in an essay: The Hero's Thousand and First Face.

The Hero With a Thousand Faces is a good book to read, though it can be a little complex. I have Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey on my shelf. It is a more accessible look at the Hero's Journey from a screen writer's perspective.

The Key is sort of like The Hero With a Thousand Faces 'light'. That's not a bad thing, though as a Campbell fan I prefer more meat when dealing with t eh Hero's Journey and the monomyth.

James Frey authored the massiver bestseller, How to Write a Damn Good Novel, and (surprise!) followed it up wtih How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques. I have not read either, though I did read How to Write a Damn Good Mystery (see a pattern here?). It was okay.

One thing that bugged the crap out of me was his habit of referring back to some principle from Damn Good Novel, with not much of an explanation of the principle in the book that I was reading. You know, the one I had paid money for. This seemed like a cheap tactic to sell more books. But other than that, there were some things to learn in Mystery, though I haven't tried the technique he teaches.

I'm relatively early in this book. Frey writes in an easy to understand style. He doesn't look to obfuscate paradigms with academic babble (like this sentence...) and he gets his point across pretty clearly. I'm curious to see how much 'dumbing down' he does of Campbell's work in exchange for ease of understanding.

I'll have some more thoughts on this quick-read soon.

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