Every book we write is based on a myth.
Unfortunately it is almost impossible for most of us to see the mythic structure of our work. We are too close to it.
While waiting for the lunch truck at the Future of Story conference last month, I was talking to author Pamela Jaye Smith about mythic structure, and how it influences daily life, politics and the books we write.
I told Smith about a nonfiction manuscript that I've been struggling with for the past year.
As we waited for the chefs to fix sandwiches, I absently tossed off the question, "So what is the myth of my manuscript?" Her answer floored me.
"It's the myth of Job," she said.
I immediately saw what my manuscript was missing, and why it didn't work.
In the myth of Job, Job loses everything he has, through no fault of his own. Then he goes through increasingly awful problems, and is rejected by everyone. Eventually he regains everything he has lost and more.
My manuscript was missing the the final chapter in which the central character regains everything he has lost! (I am rewriting the book now, to include this chapter and appropriate foreshadowing.)
If you are writing a book, screenplay, or nonfiction book, call Pamela and schedule a consultation. She may be able to save you months or years of painful rewrite.
Pamela's contact info:
Pamela is the author of INNER DRIVES: How to Write and Create Characters Using the Eight Classic Centers of Motivation, THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE: Creating Great Villains and Dangerous Situations and SYMBOLS, IMAGES, CODES: The Secret Language of Images in Media.