Are We Wired for Story?

AT MY RECENT PLOT-CLOCK PRESENTATION, we discussed how humans seem hard-wired to respond to certain story elements: the hero’s call to adventure; her failures leading to an all-is-lost moment; the changes she must make to face the challenges required of her.

We talked about mythologist Joseph Campbell’s discovery of an archetypal “hero’s journey” based on myths of many cultures and his book THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, which reveals the commonalities he found.

Writer Kathy Elbert mentioned Lisa Cron’s book WIRED FOR STORY, and Cron’s TED Talk. And we affirmed our gratitude to screenwriter Christopher Vogler, who refashioned Campbell’s ideas, in THE WRITER’S JOURNEY, making of them sturdy tools with which we can shape our work for greatest resonance with that story-instinct that seems embedded in our DNA.

And, too, we remembered Dorothy, who was compelled, as so many heroes are, to find—against steep odds—her own way home.

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