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The hero and heroine's journey and the writing of Loy

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Christopher Vogler suggests an essential humanity beyond gender and sexual difference lies at the heart of the Hero's Journey archetypal paradigm which he presents in The Writers Journey (2007), yet he still advises readers to go elsewhere for alternative theories on the woman's journey, recommending key Jungian feminist theories including Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey (1990), and Clarissa Pinkola Estes's Women Who Run With The Wolves (1992). Through the practice of writing a screenplay Loy, a biopic based on the life of modernist poet and artist Mina Loy (18821966), I questioned to what extent is the Hero's Journey useful as a metaphoric aid in supporting the development of a screenplay with two female protagonists, and to what extent does the paradigm have a masculine bias? This article first sets out the principles of Vogler's Hero's Journey and Murdock's Heroine's Journey cycle. I then explore the strengths and weaknesses of both models as creative aids during the development of my screenplay, with particular reference to the development of character, structure and theme. Turning to the notion of archetypes as a creative system for characterization, I discuss how I used archetypes in the development of Loy's protagonists. Finally, I draw on Clarissa Pinkola Estes's myth of the Skeleton Woman as an effective metaphoric aid for the development of narratives where relationships are central. I conclude that while the Hero's Journey has key strengths, models from Jungian feminism are particularly rich for screenwriters developing female-led stories.
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Keywords: Jungian feminism; Murdock; Pinkola Estes; Vogler; archetype; journey paradigm

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of the Arts, London.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • The Journal of Screenwriting aims to explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook. The journal will encourage the investigation of a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches to studying the scriptwriting form, in particular: the history of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, the relationship of scriptwriting to the production process and how the form can be considered in terms of culture and society. The journal also aims to encourage research in the field of screenwriting, the linking of scriptwriting practice to academic theory, and to support and promote conferences and networking events on this subject.
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