Story Archetypes Fictional Characters Poetics Poetics Poetics Fiction Writing Stonework



Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

I have been writing fiction for almost fifty years. For the longest time, I could find no one who could tell me how to construct a story except for the pat answer, "beginning, middle, end." It was not until I became an illustrator that I learned the hard truth: editors are people. They buy these days the stories that appeal to them personally. There are some construction guidelines: typos, grammar, short sentences, etc., but I found it appalling that there were no answers to the how to construct a story problem. And then Joseph Campbell's book Hero with a Thousand Faces became popular enough that a Hollywood writer came up with another book called, The Writer's Jouney after Campbell's monomyth of the "hero's journey." (See above.) Most producers in Hollywood seized on this monomyth as the way to construct stories. Needless to say, I found this to be very frustrating.

There is nothing wrong with this model at all. It makes for an excellent story, a very popular story. However, many of the kids I've talked with said that this plot gets very old after a while and is the reason that they stopped reading. If you know this plot, it is also very easy to guess what will happen in a movie. I discovered that this plot is one half of the full hero's cycle, the whole of which you can find in movie series like Star Wars I-XI which includes the fall from grace and the resurrection through the son. The book on plot above, explores all of the other ancient archetypes and talks about them. There is an archetype for mystery and romance as well as the darker cycle of the bride that is so popular in vampire and zombie movies.  READ MORE:



Kortuos is Captured - Tales of Anieth - Rivenskin

I was a reader as a child. I read almost everything I could find, but my favorite books were fantasy. I did not start liking mystery and romance so much until later in my life when I began to appreciate the craft of the older writers. I read classics and may be one of the few who has actually read War and Peace. I read almost everything Victor Hugo and Thomas Hardy wrote and admired plot to such an extent that I have written many articles on books and their structures. For instance, I do not like the Lord of Rings movies, not because of the characters or such, but because they violate the basics of Tolkien's plot.

I have not been successful as a fiction writer. I could not "go" with the newer styles and I seem to be better at a longer book than a short story. Writing is also a very intense "priesthood" where personality often matters more than quality. This is not completely true, for you have to be of a certain calibre to even start submitting for publication, but I often ran into editors who asked me to rewrite books and stories with a main character who was like myself. This was amusing and infuriating because I had done this, but my personality is .03 percent of the population, so to do what the editors want I have to mimic another personality. My mother, who had a more common personality had none of this trouble and blamed me for my failure. This did not stop me, and I have written many stories and books with a wide variety of personalities. I have many articles on character construction for those of you who want variety in your characters.

An example of this (see the above illustration) is a character that reacts to life-threatening situations with fear. This is a common reaction of a common personality (about 60 percent in this country) but there are those of us who have no fear. I've heard people say that anger is a fear-based reaction, but there is counter phobic anger and there is outrage, which is not a fear-based anger. My character here in this picture, is not a fear-based character and so he reacts to being captured with outrage. He is furious that he, a noble of his country, would be treated in such a demeaning way. He thinks nothing of the threat to his life, but only of the outrage to his position.  READ MORE:



Professor Tolkien

I have a very easy-going personality, but, as you may guess, I am extremely opinionated. I taught my son to be passionate about his ideas, but not to be attached to them. I often get into passionate arguments with people who think I have gone crazy and may attack them. I'll back off because I don't want to hurt feelings, but I have my opinions because I'm brilliant, observant, and I have not stopped reading or thinking or questioning. If you have a questioning mind, you have to become brilliant over time, it's just inevitable! Well, another of my passions is poetry and I don't mean modern poetry, but ancient forms of poetry that were used as mnemonics or ways to convey huge bodies of text orally. I also like some modern poets, but I have a love of structure and form in poetry that isn't at all modern. My nephew is passionate about modern poetry, just as opinionated, and we may never agree on anything! But, wow, I love talking to him.

In these articles, I talk about Tolkien's poetry and the Anglo-Saxon styles; I talk about Rilke and poetry in translation and about Celtic poetic forms.  READ MORE:

© 2018, A.R. Stone