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Citations & Online Sources for The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Technically speaking this is for listeners of the Heroine’s Journey audio book. I didn’t want to force you to go through my narrator, Starla, reading you a bunch of citations and such, so I am including them here instead. These appear in the print and digital editions of the book.

Blog Headers Heroine's Journey Citations

Here’s a sample of the audiobook:

Quick Pull: Online References

Primary & Main Sources

“Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there. All she has to do is realize that she’s the place people are trying to get to.” [source]

Articles

Citations & References Explained

I intentionally chose not to write my references as footnotes or endnotes, because frankly, that kinda sucks in these days of ebooks.

Instead, I have broken these down into two sections. I’m trying to make them fun enough that you read even this bit.

Citations

Citations include those documents, archaeological fragments, and publications that I refer to in focused detail and directly quote in this book.

  • First, I’ve structured the citation as it actually appears in the text.
  • Then I’ve included a few additional notes so that you better understand why I chose it.

Hopefully, this makes it easy to find if you want to read more (and to check my work or draw your own conclusions).

(Because I read stuff both on paper and electronically, some of my direct citation points are LOC. This is a location code, the digital version of a page number. Because digital content can be reformatted, page numbers are flexible and consequently meaningless in digital. LOC is based on a percentage completed of the total word count in a book.)

References

In the second section, References, I did encyclopedia-style blurbs for the pop culture stuff I talk about in the books, which is listed by franchise/common name or title.

I’ve included information I feel is relevant to this book, and I’m being sublimely flippant.

Citations for Heroine’s Journey

Anonymous critic. (1966) “Extracting Emily,” Time, 22 April 1966.

Budge, E. A. Wallis. (1911) Osiris and the Egyptian resurrection. (Digital source so referenced by LOC #). Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge (1857–1934) is widely considered the father of Egyptology in the UK. His work is colored by a conflation of opinion and fact, biased Victorian notions of how the universe worked, and a telling belief in the occult. However, his translations of Egyptian myth had great impact on western culture at the time, and therefore on any resulting societywide knowledge of these myths that resulted.

Budge, Ernest Alfred Wallis. (1960) The Book of the Dead: The Hieroglyphic Transcript of the Papyrus of ANI, the Translation into English and Introduction by E. Wallis Budge, Late Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in The British Museum. Bell Publishing, New York. I’m particularly interested in Budge’s English translation of a hieroglyphic text that was first translated into French in 1879 in Les monuments égyptiens de la Bibliothèque nationale, Plates XXI-XXVII, Paris.

Budge, Ernest Alfred Wallis. (1895) Original publication of The Book of the Dead is in the public domain and available online via this redirect gailcarriger.com/HJ_Budge1895

Burkert, Walter. (1985) Greek Religion. Harvard University Press. Comprehensive guide with secondary references to the Demeter myth, first published in German in 1977. Uses archaeological evidence, ancient philosophies on the subject, and Linear B inscriptions (amongst other things) to reconstruct religious beliefs, rituals, festivals, temples, practitioners, and cults of the Minoan-Mycenaean age. Attention is paid to contested academic analysis and parts of the historical record that are still opaque.

Carpenter, Julia. (2019) “Romance Novelists Write About Sex and Pleasure. On the Internet That Makes Them Targets for Abuse” article for Glamour Magazine online June 25, 2019. Available online via this redirect: gailcarriger.com/HJ_Carpenter

Campbell, Joseph. (1949) The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Published by the Bollingen Foundation through Pantheon Press. A work of comparative mythology describing the journey of the hero (as archetype) found in various myths and Campbell’s theory behind its structure. His analysis relied on Freudian concepts, Jungian archetypes, unconscious forces, and rites of passage rituals (e.g., Arnold van Gennep’s Separation, Initiation and Return).

Corelli, Marie. (1855–1924) English novelist and literary success (1886 through World War I) who wrote hugely popular Gothic-influenced romance novels that also incorporated occultism, mystery, and Christian morality. She has been largely ignored by history and literary critics, despite the fact that at the time she roundly outsold her male counterparts.

Homer. Homeric Hymn to Demeter translated by Gregory Nagy (no date given). Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University. One of the most commonly used translations of this myth. Made available online via Harvard University via this redirect: gailcarriger.com/HJ_Nagy

Larsen, Stephen and Robin Larsen. (2002) Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind. Inner Traditions. The authorized biography of Joseph Campbell covers his life and a personal perspective through the voices of friends and colleagues. Written by two of Campbell’s students who had access to his notes and journals.

Murdock, Maureen. (1990) Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness. Shambhala Publications. A student of Joseph Campbell, Murdock published The Heroine’s Journey partly as riposte to his Hero with a Thousand Faces. Murdock, a Jungian therapist, saw the Heroine’s Journey as primarily a therapeutic process in a search for the whole self, the story format of which remained structurally similar to the Hero’s. More can be found online, here’s a redirect: gailcarriger.com/HJ_Murdock

Plutarch. (1936 translation by F. C. Babbitt) De Iside et Osiride and Moralia. Vol. v: Isis and Osiris (transl.) London and Cambridge, MA. Can also be found online as Plutarch’s Morals, Theosophical Essays, Isis’s quest, section 18 translated by Charles William King (1908). More can be found online, here’s a redirect: gailcarriger.com/HJ_Plutarch

Rogers, Deborah D. (1994, editor) The Critical Responses to Ann Radcliffe. Greenwood Press, Connecticut and London. Collection of historically documented opinion and critical review of Radcliffe and her work during and just after her lifetime, plus modern essays and analysis. Seems somewhat positively biased and intentionally avoids negative reviews.

Radcliffe, Ann. (1764–1823) English author and pioneer of Gothic fiction, the most popular writer of her day and highest paid writer of the 1790s. Her best-known work is The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) later parodied by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey (1817). She influenced a generation of romantic authors who would eventually spawn the romance genre as we know it today.

Schmidt, Victoria Lynn. (2001) 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters. Writer’s Digest Books. Draws strongly on both myth and fairy tale foundations to analyze character archetypes and discusses Inanna and the Heroine’s Journey.

Scott, William Stuart. (1955) Marie Corelli: The Story of a Friendship. Hutchinson, London.

Siculus, Diodorus. (1933 translation by C. H. Oldfather) Library of History: Book 1. London and New York.

Shaw, Garry J. (2014) The Egyptian Myths. Thames & Hudson. Secondary source gathering multiple Egyptian myths; care is given to source and conflicting accounts.

Watt, Ian. (1957) The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding. Los Angeles and Berkeley, University of California Press.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1993) Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row. Compilation of translated archaeological fragments plus essays on interpretation from multiple authors. Based on evidence collected by two separate universities around the turn of the century.

Heroine's Journey Box Ad 1 Shadow Yellow

References for Heroine’s Journey

Batman character. Superhero character from DC Comics, created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. He first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, he’s had a live action kid-focused TV show (1966–1968), as well as animated TV series, multiple movies, and video game adaptations over the years.

Gail’s assessment: Usually portrayed as a classic Byronic hero.

Battlestar Galactica TV series. (2004–2009) Science fiction TV series space opera developed by Ronald D. Moore. A reboot of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica TV series created by Glen A. Larson.

Gail’s thoughts: Notorious for its popularity at the time, yet criticized for a shabby final season. I believe this is partly the result of a conflict between Heroine’s and Hero’s Journeys.

Black Panther movie. (2018) Superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It’s technically an origin story, although it doesn’t have the typical tropes one expects of discovery and self-expression.

Gail’s analysis: This movie has elements of a Hero’s Journey in that victory is nested in an expression of physical violence and defeat of an enemy one on one. There is also the dead father/mentor figure and death (not once but twice). On the other hand, it has Heroine’s Journey tropes as well in that loss of allies and isolation results in risk and near death; help is required to revive the main character; the allies who search are family (mother, sister, lover); Black Panther’s strength is reborn through networking; and he trusts in his friends to defend him. Also, the movie has lots of elements of group action, infiltration, exchange of useful information, and spying (particularly in the first half) – the hallmarks of a caper. Black Panther ends with community outreach, but the final shot is solitary. To top it all off, the male fighters are given defensive supernatural abilities, the women offensive. Honestly, I’m including it here because it was so confusing and I want to at least give voice to that. An example of a successful work of popular culture that, in the end, uses neither the Hero’s nor the Heroine’s Journey as its solo chassis. Remarkable.

Captain Marvel movie. (2019) Superhero film based on a Marvel Comics character of the same name written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Gail’s analysis: Buddy cop comedy meets Heroine’s Journey.

Children of the Corn book by Stephen King. (1977) A short horror story first published in Penthouse magazine, and later collected in Night Shift (1978). Turned into a film (1984) by New World Pictures, and then a franchise (1992–2018), remade for TV in 2009 by Fox 21 Television for the Syfy network.

Gail’s reaction: Scary.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series. (2000–2015) Procedural investigative crime drama TV series that aired on CBS for fifteen seasons.

Gail’s thoughts: Example of a hero leading a group in a Heroine’s Journey and changing into a heroine over time.

Dangerous Liaisons movie. (1988) Period-set dramatic film written by Christopher Hampton as an adaptation of the 18th-century French epistolary novel Les liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. This original work is so iconic it has been adapted into plays, operas, ballets, and seven films: Les Liaisons dangereuses (1959), Une femme fidèle (1976), Dangerous Liaisons (1988 – my favorite), Valmont (1989), Cruel Intentions (1999), Untold Scandal (2003), and Dangerous Liaisons (2012).

Gail’s assessment: Excellent example of repackaging Gothic archetypes into a historical melodrama.

Deadpool movie. (2016) Superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name with a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Gail’s thoughts: Deadpool is a classic Byronic antihero on an even more classic Hero’s Journey. That lovely girlfriend was never gonna make it.

Die Hard movie. (1988) Action thriller film with screenplay by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart (based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever).

Gail’s analysis: Iconic example of the Hero’s Journey and destined to define the beats of trapped location suspense and disaster storylines.

The Divergent Series (book series 2011–2013) and movies (film series 2014–2016). Three YA dystopian science fiction adventure novels (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) by Veronica Roth, turned into three feature films of the same names.

Gail’s assessment: The main character, Tris, engages in a tragic Hero’s Journey that ends with her death as an act of self-sacrifice and was polarizing for readers. Could be seen as a tragic Heroine’s Journey, depending on analysis, which might explain some readers’ sense of betrayal.

Dune franchise. Science fiction space opera franchise originating with the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (1965). Dune is arguably the bestselling science fiction book of all time, and has been adapted into films (1984 and 2020), TV miniseries (2000), and games.

  1. Gail’s thoughts: The books employ multiple POVs and many narrative elements of the classic Hero’s Journey.

ER TV series. (1994–2009) Medical drama TV series (with procedural elements) created by novelist and doctor Michael Crichton that aired on NBC.

Gail’s analysis: Example of different heroes and heroines leading a group in what is most likely a Heroine’s Journey. Hard to define successful outcome with something this long running.

The Expanse TV series. (2015 ongoing) Science fiction political space opera TV series based on The Expanse novels by James S. A. Corey.

Gail’s thoughts: Example of a multiple-POV narrative featuring different heroes and heroines on what could be either a Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey chassis. Hard to tell without knowing the ending.

Firefly TV series. (2002–2003) Space opera meets Western TV series, created by writer, director, and executive producer Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label.

Gail’s analysis: Cancelled early, but when taken into consideration along with the follow-up movie, Serenity (2005), this most likely has a Heroine’s Journey chassis.

Game of Thrones TV series. (2011–2019) Epic fantasy TV series that aired on HBO created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, multiple-POV politically driven epic fantasy series. Widely believed to be based on various historical events, including the Wars of the Roses.

Gail’s note: The book series was unfinished at the time of this writing, but the TV show gives some insight into journey patterns and intent. This is an example of a multiple-POV narrative featuring different heroes and heroines on what is arguably a Hero’s Journey chassis.

Girls Trip movie. 2017 comedy film directed by Malcolm D. Lee and focused on travel and female friendship.

Gail’s note: This movie depicts power in groups in the form of female friendship and platonic relationships as well as heterosexual romances with men. It’s a Heroine’s Journey.

Harry Potter character. The titular character in the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, 1997–2007. There are seven books in the series, the first of which is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. There are eight movie adaptations (2001–2011) that follow the same narrative arc. In the text, I usually refer to this collective of both books and movies as the Harry Potter franchise.

Gail’s thoughts: I use this as an example of the Heroine’s Journey for a reason.

House M.D. AKA House TV series. (2004–2012) TV medical drama on the Fox network featuring Dr. Gregory House, a medical genius who leads a diagnostic hospital team.

Gail’s assessment: This is a doctor version of Sherlock Holmes on a medical procedure chassis. (Yeah, his tolerant BFF is named Wilson… I see what you did there.) Exactly like Holmes, House is clearly a hero, but because of the waffling nature of a long-running procedural without overarching story, it’s nearly impossible (and basically unnecessary) to apply a journey chassis to this show.

The Hunger Games trilogy (books 2008–2010) and The Hunger Games movies (film series). Three YA dystopian science fiction adventure novels: The Hunger Games (2008), Catching Fire (2009), and Mockingjay (2010) by Suzanne Collins, turned into four feature films of the same names (the third book split into two parts).

Gail’s assessment: The main character, Katniss Everdeen, engages in a Heroine’s Journey that includes many tropes and archetypes endemic to the journey and to coming of age YA narratives. These include love triangles and themes of partnership, delegation, and redemption. The initial prompting for her actions is the threatened removal of her sister, Primrose.

Iliad poem. Ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer, set during the Trojan War.

Gail’s note: Features the ultimate emo hero Achilles and his BFF/lover/foil Patroclus.

James Bond character. (1953 ongoing) Iconic example of a hero within the spy suspense genre, includes books, movies, radio plays, comics, TV shows, video games, and more. All of these focus on fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming. Fleming wrote twelve Bond novels and two short-story collections. After his death (1964) eight other authors picked up the torch (or should I say, gun?). The Bond movies (of which there are 26) form the longest continually running film series in history.

Gail’s note: Bond is a classic, even archetypical, hero.

Jack Reacher character. (1997) Fictional character in thriller suspense books written by Lee Child, at a rate of approximately one per year since 1997. Main character is a former American military policeman who wanders (mostly) the United States taking odd jobs, investigating suspicious activities, and getting into danger. Adapted into two movies (2012, 2016) starring Tom Cruise.

Gail’s analysis: Wildly popular example of a hero on Heroic Journeys within the thriller genre, where he usually fits nicely.

Jeeves character. (1915–1974) Fictional character in a series of comedic novels and short stories by P. G. Wodehouse adapted to film and stage on multiple occasions. Has entered the cultural lexicon as a word used to mean butler or servant.

Gail’s thoughts: Jeeves is the brilliant, competent valet of wealthy, idle imbecile Bertie Wooster. He spends his time saving Wooster and his equally idiotic friends from a series of relationships and other scrapes. He is a perfect example of the wise servant archetype.

Law & Order TV series. (1990–2010) Police procedural meets legal drama TV series created by Dick Wolf that aired on NBC and ran for twenty seasons.

Gail’s analysis: Carries similar issues as other long-running procedurals like House M.D., ER, and CSI in terms of analysis of story journey (when there really isn’t one over the long haul), although we can spot hero and heroine archetypes at play.

The Lord of the Rings book. (1937) High fantasy novel in three volumes written (1937–1949) by J. R. R. Tolkien, turned into movies (2001–2003) as three films: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). One of the most popular books of its day. Tolkien is widely regarded as the father of high fantasy.

Gail’s thoughts: There is a lot of Tolkien analysis out there; this book/series is multiple-POV and complex, but comprises multiple heroes (and a few heroines) on various journeys, one of the hallmarks of broad-scope fantasy.

Leverage TV series. (2008–2012) Heist/caper drama TV series with a comedic bent.

Gail’s feels: I adore this show. It follows a five-person antihero team and uses a Robin Hood narrative device. It’s multiple POVs but does have an underlying sort-of story that strongly indicates Heroine’s Journey.

Love, Simon movie. (2018) Romantic teen comedy-drama written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, and based on the YA book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015).

Gail’s thoughts: Good example of a well-executed Heroine’s Journey in a modern setting with standard teen romance tropes in play.

Men in Black movie. (1997) Science-fiction buddy cop comedy film written by Ed Solomon. Titular characters are tasked with supervising extraterrestrial life on Earth, based on a comic book series of the same name, but which had a much different tone.

Gail’s thoughts: Iconic combination of science fiction and buddy comedy featuring one hero and one heroine on a Heroine’s Journey chassis.

Sherlock Holmes character. (1887) The titular character of many books, movies, and TV shows. Arguably the world’s best-known fictional detective. Invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first appearing in print in 1887. Doyle is often talked of as the father of cozy mysteries, with Agatha Christie as the mother.

Gail’s analysis: Most Holmes mysteries are told by his roommate Watson using a frame narrative technique and activating the explanatory sidekick plot device.

Spider-Man character. (1962) Superhero character from Marvel Comics created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). He’s had a number of movies, television shows, and video game adaptations.

Gail’s thoughts: Possibly the primary example of a YA coming-of-age narrative in the comic book world.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie. (2018) Animated superhero film featuring the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man.

Gail’s thoughts: Typical example of a coming-of-age Hero’s Journey YA narrative (AKA the action version of the emotional, psychological, and moral journey undertaken in most Bildungsroman). Includes multiple friend/mentor characters, evil uncle, violent victory in one-on-one combat, and results in typical messages of finding inner strength and the burden of adult responsibility.

Star Trek: The Original Series TV series. (1966–1967) Science fiction TV series created by Gene Roddenberry.

Gail’s analysis: Mainly a buddy comedy/drama only with one hero and two foils (Bones representing the feminine, and Spock the wise fool archetype). Series was canceled but also was distinctly episodic, so difficult to tell which journey was ultimately intended.

Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series. (1987–1994) Space opera TV series created by Gene Roddenberry and featuring an ensemble cast.

Gail’s thoughts: Egalitarian follow-up series to Star Trek: The Original Series with the captain as more of a delegating character. The TV series (at least) appears to be a Heroine’s Journey.

Star Wars movie. (1977) AKA Star Wars original or Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Science fiction film written and directed by George Lucas, and the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy, followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Gail’s note: Widely known as an intentional representation of the Hero’s Journey.

Star Wars prequel movie. (1999) AKA Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Science fiction film written and directed by George Lucas, and the first film in the second Star Wars trilogy, followed by Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Gail’s note: I honestly don’t have much to say about these except that, for various reasons, they are pretty roundly vilified.

Supergirl TV series. (2015 ongoing). Superhero TV series based on the DC Comic book character Supergirl (created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino) and set in the Arrowverse franchise.

Gail’s thoughts: As of this writing, the series still seems to be mainly a classic Heroine’s Journey.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book (2014) and movie (2018). Text refers to both the 2014 YA romance novel by Jenny Han and the 2018 film directed by Susan Johnson.

Gail’s analysis: A Heroine’s Journey and classic romantic teen comedy that employs many of the tropes and archetypes of the YA romance genre: fake boyfriend, secret crush, miscommunication and reconciliation, complicated family dynamics, dead parent, public humiliation, self-discovery, and coming of age.

The Twilight Saga movie franchise and book series. (2005) Text refers to the four romantic fantasy YA novels by Stephenie Meyer (2005–2008) and the five adapted films from Summit Entertainment (2009–2012). The individual titles are Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn (this last was broken into two parts for the movies.)

Gail’s note: This franchise is a Heroine’s Journey and was hugely commercially successful.

Waiting to Exhale book and movie. (1992) Text refers to both the 1992 novel by Terry McMillan and the 1995 film directed by Forest Whitaker.

Gail’s note: Both book and film depict power in female friendships and platonic relationships as well as, and in some cases instead of, heterosexual romance. It’s a Heroine’s Journey.

Wolverine character. (1974) Fictional antihero superhero from Marvel Comics first appearing in print in 1974, created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and John Romita Sr. and drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine has appeared in animated TV series, video games, and films.

Gail’s thoughts: Possibly the best well-known iteration of a Byronic hero in modern times.

Wonder Woman movie. (2017) Superhero film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg, based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

Gail’s note: One of the best recent examples of a classic Hero’s Journey.

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Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture Special Extras

Posted by Gail Carriger

My very first nonfiction book is out in the world! Although, I should add it is very much OF this world.

This is, I have to say, more nerve wracking than fiction. Anyway, I hope if you’re intersted in why you enjoy my books and comforting books like them, you’ll give this a try.

The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers and Fans of Pop Culture offers up an alternate model of story telling to the Hero’s Journey that applies to books, TV, movies, and much more. I designed this book to give you a foundation, history, and guided step-by-step process to understanding the Heroine’s Journey. It will train your eye to spot it, but also how to write it, or fix your story with it. Also it explains why it’s so critically disenfranchised.

You can see why it took a whole book?Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

Anyway, the content laid out so you can skip to whatever part is most relevant you and your desires. But it’s also a fun read cover-to-cover.

So as it’s already an informative book, what extras could I offer? Here’s what I came up with:

Special Extras!

Here is a sample of the Heroine’s Journey audiobook:

Praise Quotes

Heroine's Journey Review Quote Twitter

“The first book on writing structure that’s ever truly resonated for me and made sense of the way my favorite stories work. I’ve thought back to this book so many times since reading it, and I know I’ll be reading it again!”

~ Stephanie Burgis, Author of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

“A lot of educators are going to be very interested in this. The heroine’s journey narrative structure aligns with positive parenting and the anti-bullying programs’ goals and techniques. Their preferred stories emphasize team building and non violent conflict resolution. Understanding that this is a long standing historical and culturally relevant narrative structure will help them find more stories that resonate with their programs, and help defend the programs from more patriarchal critics. ”

~ Janis Wright

“Okay, look…I’m not sure how you can just rewire my brain to see the heorine’s jouney like this and then expect me to make coherent, thought-out comments about the text when all I want to do is hold it in my twisted little grip while I shove it at people screaming like a madman and pointing at passages, but I guess that’s what I’m going to do. ”

~ Author Beta Reader

“I knew that my stories didn’t neatly fit the mold of the Hero’s Journey, but it wasn’t until I read this excellent resource on the Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger that I finally understood why. Now I understand not only how to reliably write in this form, but also how to better position my stories for readers and agents. ”

~ Ethan Freckleton, Author & Host of The Fearless Storyteller podcast

The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger is a game changer for genre fiction. Using dozens of examples from books and movies, Ms Carriger carefully and convincingly divides these into two distinct story camps based on the character arc of their protagonists: the lone wolf and the team player.”

~ The Blood-Red Pencil

Yours,

Miss Gail

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The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture

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My first non-fiction book! How to use ancient story structure to understand and crack bestselling genre fiction.

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I would like to add:

Faen (Thai) – Gender neutral lover/partner/special someone. Faen is more significant than a boyfriend/girlfriend but also not as legally binding as spouse.

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Sample That Tasty Book: The Heroine’s Journey Table of Contents & Introduction

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Dearest Gentle Reader,

Those of you who know me well, know that I like to give out a sample of forthcoming books to tempt readers’ appetites. Nonfiction is a pretty alien beast for me, but I still thought you might like a look-see.

Heroines Journey TOC Introduction

So here, without further ado is the Table of Contents of The Heroine’s Journey. Sample follows.

(I am reliably informed that the TOC is Very Important when one is writing nonfiction.)

The Heroine’s Journey TOC

Introduction

CHAPTER 1: APPROACH

  • Why did I bother?
  • Why should you bother?
  • Pop culture is a weakness

CHAPTER 2: DEFINING TERMS

  • It’s all about sex & gender
  • Read this bit!
  • Writing terms & terminology

CHAPTER 3: HERO’S JOURNEY BEATS, THEMES, & MESSAGES

  • Things to notice
  • Hero’s Journey example 1: Wonder Woman
  • Hero’s Journey example 2: Star Wars
  • Additional examples of the hero
  • Hero’s Journey hidden messages
  • Hero’s Journey narrative structure

CHAPTER 4: BASIC STRUCTURE & FOUNDATIONAL MYTHS

  • The Myth of Demeter
  • The Myth of Isis
  • The Myth of Inanna

CHAPTER 5: HEROINE’S JOURNEY BEATS, THEMES, & MESSAGES

  • Notation of absence
  • Things to notice
  • Heroine’s Journey example 1: Harry Potter
  • Heroine’s Journey example 2: Twilight
  • Additional examples of the Heroine
  • Heroine’s Journey hidden messages

CHAPTER 6: HEROINE’S JOURNEY GETS DEVALUED

  • Heroine’s Journey out of focus
  • Hero’s Journey in focus
  • Repercussions of being devalued
  • Why did this happen?
  • Also, blame Gothics

CHAPTER 7: GENRE COMPLICATIONS

  • Gothic archetypes & the Heroine
  • Gothic tropes & the Heroine
  • Gothic side effects

CHAPTER 8: NARRATIVE VARIATIONS

  • Tragic journeys
  • Additional narrative elements
  • Whose journey is this?
  • Buddies & sidekicks
  • Foils & dualities
  • Multiple POV narratives

CHAPTER 9: READER EXPERIENCE

  • Reader expectations
  • Emotional hooks & writer’s block
  • Avoiding reader betrayal

CHAPTER 10: HOW TO WRITE LIKE A HEROINE

  1. Give your heroine companions
  2. Define & join a group
  3. Write appropriate villains
  4. Put side characters in power
  5. Dialogue is your friend
  6. Let help be a strength
  7. Portion out achievement
  8. Give your characters humor
  9. Use Gothic tropes to indicate genre
  10. Use Gothic archetypes to surprise readers
  11. A counseling session
  12. Be the heroine

Epilogue

Citations & References

Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

The Heroine’s Journey Introduction

The Heroine’s Journey is a separate narrative structure from the Hero’s Journey. It exists. It has always existed. It is not derivative of, nor sourced in, the Hero’s Journey. I thought, for a really long time, that everyone knew this.

I was wrong.

Which is how I (a fiction writer) have ended up writing this nonfiction book.

They say that the oldest trick for nonfiction is threefold:

1. Tell them what you’re doing.

2. Do it.

3. Tell them what you did.

Truth? Exactly the same thing works for dirty talk, if you’re writing a sex scene… or just in life. (See what I did there? Now you know what kind of book this is.)

So I shall tell you, right up front, the basics of the Heroine’s Journey and how it compares to the Hero’s Journey. Then I’ll provide evidence for those basics using ancient myth and modern pop culture. Then I’ll break them all down so you can use them yourself. Finally, I’ll remind you of what I told you from the get-go. Knowledge: the best kind of dirty talk.

To get us started on the right path, so to speak:

Here is the Hero’s Journey in one pithy sentence:

Increasingly isolated protagonist stomps around prodding evil with pointy bits, eventually fatally prods baddie, gains glory and honor.

Here is the Heroine’s Journey in one pithy sentence:

Increasingly networked protagonist strides around with good friends, prodding them and others on to victory, together.

Don’t worry, more (considerably less flippant) definitions of both of these are yet to come.

However, I have been told not to be coy and to just lay it out there for you from the beginning.

Consider it laid.   

~~~

Essentially the Heroine’s Journey is different from the Hero’s Journey in five significant storytelling ways (also known as the Five Key Ingredients):

1. Purpose

The goal or focus of the journey is different. A hero is usually concerned with defeating an enemy or retrieving a boon of great import – think classic video game quests.

A heroine is looking for reunification with someone who was taken from her. She is concerned with networking, connecting with others, and finding family.

2. Approach

A hero acts on the offensive most of the time. He is active in his pursuit of his goal and will kill or (in the case of Odysseus) trick his way to victory. His enemy is stasis.

A heroine goes about achieving her goals through communication and information gathering. She is not a conqueror. She is a builder and a general – she sees the skills and strengths in others and knows how best to apply them. She is a delegator, which is great for storytellers because it’s easy to build vibrant, supportive, extremely appealing side characters. Also, this humanizes the protagonist, who is self-aware enough to know what she is good at and when someone else can do it better.

Her enemy is loneliness or isolation.

3. Strength

A heroine’s definition of strength is materially different from that of the hero. A hero must eventually go it alone; the journey usually climaxes with a one-on-one defeat of his enemy. For him, asking for help is a sign of weakness. He must shed the restrictions of civilization and family in order to succeed on his own.

A heroine is the opposite. Requesting aid is a sign of strength. It does not diminish a heroine to seek and receive assistance on her journey. In fact, the more companions she has, the stronger she is.

(And if that concept makes you wince, perhaps you might consider your own personal definition of what strength means and how the narratives around you have influenced that.)

4. Power

As a result of all the above, when a heroine has her most powerful narrative and iconic moments, these will occur with others. They are usually characterized by intense communication and unity in the context of sex, romance, friendship, or familial relationships.

When the hero is at his most powerful, he is alone, because his quest is one of self-reliance and solitary achievement against overwhelming odds. His iconic moments will be ones of intellectual or physical superiority over someone else.

5. Ending

A hero, because of his need to self-isolate, has sacrificed too much for his goal, so the end of his journey is bittersweet. Iconography often depicts him alone, with the slow pan-out sequence and a sense of profound pathos. He has either grown too powerful to fit back into the world he has saved, or he has changed too much into a solo version of himself and can no longer exist in a group.

Poignancy typifies the end of a heroic narrative – lonely death, hard drinking, a hermit’s existence.

The heroine is more likely to get a happy ending, surrounded by friends and family, with an implication of continued safety.

~ ~ ~

Follow-ups to the Five Key Ingredients

The above are some broad brush strokes, but I’m giving you the essentials before we tunnel into specifics. In other words, these are the five explanations I trot out at cocktail parties. (Yes, I go to the type of gatherings where we chat about the Heroine’s Journey.)

One important note:

Biological sex characteristics are irrelevant to whether a main character is a hero or a heroine.

In other words, women, female-identified, and nonbinary characters can be heroes. Men, male-identified, and nonbinary characters can be heroines.

And one note of caution:

We humans have a tendency (once we know the two different journeys) to want to pigeonhole and fit every story we encounter into one model or the other. We like the binary; it’s simple and fun. Things are rarely that black and white – for readers or creators.

~ ~ ~

My idea is to teach storytellers a basic understanding of the two models, so you learn when to obey the narrative beats and when to break them, in order to better manage reader expectations.

Similarly, I hope to educate the consumers of such stories, so they can better understand their own desires.

Please, try not to use these two journeys to pigeonhole every piece of pop culture you encounter. Therein lies madness.

Yes, many stories do fit into one journey or the other, but not all of them (I’m looking at you, Black Panther, 2018). I’ll be talking about the havoc that swapped point of view narratives, buddy dramas, and ensemble casts can play with fitting comfortably into one or the other journey later on in this book.

To be clear, you’ve read the Heroine’s Journey in its many forms before. You’ve watched it. You just might not have realized that. More fascinating, perhaps? There’s a good chance that you love it, even yearn for more.

I intend to show you how to activate your own version of this narrative, whether as a writer of fiction, scripts, and games; as a parent thoughtfully choosing books for a child; or as a reader trying to better understand your own tastes and preferences.

This book will leave you with a solid working knowledge of how to read, identify, and understand what makes a Heroine’s Journey, and from there, how to write a good one.

Heroine's Journey Box Ad 1 Shadow Yellow

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The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture

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Heroine’s Journey Cover Art

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Something different today, Gentle Reader!

A little while ago I released the Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture for preorder.

Shall we talk about the cover? This time nonfiction?

The thing about covers is they need to do a ton of work for a book.

A fiction cover needs to signal genre, tone, voice, and author brand, as well as be appealing to the right reader. I talk a lot about fiction covers here.

Nonfiction covers need to do something different. They need to indicate what question they are answering, mood, style of approach, and subject matter.

Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

Despite the fact that Starla doesn’t normally do nonfiction, she agreed to work with me on this one, partly for the challenge of it.

Prior to reaching out to her I did a TON of research looking at comparative titles and trends in non-fiction in all the nonfiction categories I though this book would satisfy. Here’s a sample of three of those categories:

Okay, while I was doing that I also looked at price points and color profiles and other exciting things (spreadsheet time!)

Starla and I came up with two possible images for the covers and put those to a private vote on various different private online forums, this one was by far the winner:

The Image

I wanted an image that was evocative of both ancient, feminine, and journey. I’ve been collecting inspirational images on Pinterest for a while now. (Starla and I usually start of with a shared private Pinterest board.)

We started with a path instead of stairs, but that looked a bit too snake-like (and I don’t talk about Medusa in this book) so we went to a spiral staircase instead.

I’m generally a big fan of the spiral stair. I had one in my old office, and I always take pictures of them when I encounter them in the wild.

Starla applied and ancient stone treatment to the stair and the face.

In the final cover, I had the image shifted up and around in order to accommodate and centralize the title treatment and to show the neck and collar bone – as an indication of openness.

The Title Treatment

I chose a sans serif soft rounded font for the title.

  • San serif because this is nonfiction and for visual clarity when in thumbnail view.
  • Rounded for the circularity of the journey.

Also this kind of font and treatment is common in older pop culture posters and comic books. I wanted to indicate the pop-y nature of my discussions, subject matter, as well as the lightness of tone in the writing style. (Read: NOT academic or dry.)

Heroine's Journey Box Ad 1 Shadow Yellow

The Color

The yellow color was the most contentious part of this cover.

Some of my dearest friends strongly objected to the yellow. Frankly, I don’t consider myself a yellow person either.

However, it was the best option by far. Why?

  • Yellow on black is very popular in How To books and writing guides.
  • I liked the cheerfulness of yellow juxtaposed against the moodiness of the image.
  • Orange looked too Halloween.
  • Red on black is hard on the eyes, and kinda “bloody.”
  • Pink made this look too much like women’s fiction.
  • Green is uncommon in any of the non-fiction topics/subjects/categories I wanted to hit.
  • Blue made this look too much like a memoir.
  • Purple almost won, but again it’s really uncommon in nonfiction of the type, and it didn’t carry the happy/upbeat aspect I wanted.

HJ Heroines Journey ARC Couch

So there it is, that’s how we ended up with this cover. Lots of other things were considered like how it looks in black and white. Also the spacing of the fonts on the cover, the font of the sub-headers, and the placement of all the different elements on the page.

Starla was very patient with me it took about 3x longer than normal.

Luckily, I love this kinda thing and I think we ended up with a pretty fantastic cover.

Yours,

Miss Gail

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Heroine’s Journey is Up for Preorder

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Something different today, Gentle Reader!

A little while ago I released the Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture to my newsletter, the Chirrup. And then quietly posted it online for preorder.

COMING OCTOBER 1, 2020

Since I was already working on getting The Enforcer Enigma published, I was pretty quiet about this.

Anyway so here it is, officially coming out into the world.

Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

Cover by Starla of Designed by Starla.

Preorder digital from you vendor of choice!

GIMME!

Or buy directly from me:

.mobi (Amazon Kindle) | .epub (everyone else)

Will there be PRINT? YES! Where is it?

Will there be AUDIO? YES! Where is it?

Here’s the listing description:

BLURB

  • Tired of the hero’s journey?
  • Frustrated that funny, romantic, and comforting stories aren’t taken seriously?
  • Sad that the books and movies you love never seem to be critically acclaimed, even when they sell like crazy?

The heroine’s journey is here to help.

Multiple New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a clear, concise analysis of the heroine’s journey, how it differs from the hero’s journey, and how you can use it to improve your writing and your life.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • How to spot the heroine’s journey in popular books, movies, and the world around you.
  • The source myths and basic characters, tropes, and archetypes of this narrative.
  • A step-by-step break down of how to successfully write this journey.
  • What do Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, and Nora Roberts all have in common?
    They all write the heroine’s journey. Read this book to learn all about it.

From Harry Potter to Twilight, from Wonder Woman to Star Wars, you’ll never look at pop culture the same way again.

With over a dozen NYT and USA Today bestsellers, and over a million books in print, popular genre author and former archaeologist Gail Carriger brings her cheeky comedic tone and over a decade of making her living as a fiction author to this fascinating look at one of the most popular yet neglected narratives of our time. The presentation she does on this subject sells for hundreds of dollars.

“I’m not sure how you can just rewire my brain to see the heroine’s journey like this and then expect me to make coherent, thought-out comments about the text when all I want to do is hold it in my twisted little grip while I shove it at people screaming like a madman and pointing at passages.”
~ Author Beta Reader

Gail Carriger uses the heroine’s journey to produce bestselling, critically-acclaimed books that genre blend science fiction, cozy mystery, young adult, urban fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and alternate history. In this non-fiction book she uses her academic background and creative writing skills to bring to life the archetypes, tropes, story beats, themes, and messages inherent in the heroine’s journey. Part treatise on authorship, part feminist literary criticism, part how to write guide, Carriger uses mythology, legend, and Gothic victorian 19th century literature to explore movies, screenwriting, books, and audience desires.

This is an excellent reference guide for genre fiction authors seeking to improve their craft or for readers and pop culture enthusiasts interested in understanding their own taste. It is the perfect counterpoint to The Hero with a Thousand Faces not to mention Save the Cat, Women Who Run With The Wolves, and The Breakout Novelist.

BACK COVER

Here’s the working back cover copy for the eventual print edition:

What is the heroine’s journey? How is it different from the hero’s journey? What makes Harry Potter different from Star WarsTwilight from Wonder Woman?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gail Carriger uses her comedic style to explore the mythological foundation of one of the most joyful and powerful narrative structures we have access to as storytellers. She teaches you to identify, write, and utilize the heroine’s journey to recover from writer’s block.

FIX YOUR STORY

Explore hidden messages. Learn hacks and tips to improve your writing and make it more commercially viable. Gain insight into under-studied story arcs, tropes, characters, archetypes, and modern market desires.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Guaranteed to make you look at plot structure in books, video games, movies, and TV differently for the rest of your life.

Take control of narrative while redefining notions of strength and identity. This book will change how you write, read, watch, interact, and think about genre fiction and the world around you.

Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

I’ll talk more in an upcoming blog post about how we came up with this cover. It was a fun and fascinating process.

QUOTES

And finally here are some early pull quotes from my first readers.

“The first book on writing structure that’s ever truly resonated for me and made sense of the way my favorite stories work. I’ve thought back to this book so many times since reading it, and I know I’ll be reading it again!”

~ Stephanie Burgis
Author of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

“A lot of educators are going to be very interested in this. The heroine’s journey narrative structure aligns with positive parenting and the anti-bullying programs’ goals and techniques. Their preferred stories emphasize team building and non violent conflict resolution. Understanding that this is a long standing historical and culturally relevant narrative structure will help them find more stories that resonate with their programs, and help defend the programs from more patriarchal critics. ”

~ Janis Wright

“Okay, look…I’m not sure how you can just rewire my brain to see the heorine’s jouney like this and then expect me to make coherent, thought-out comments about the text when all I want to do is hold it in my twisted little grip while I shove it at people screaming like a madman and pointing at passages, but I guess that’s what I’m going to do. ”

~ Author Beta Reader

“I knew that my stories didn’t neatly fit the mold of the Hero’s Journey, but it wasn’t until I read this excellent resource on the Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger that I finally understood why. Now I understand not only how to reliably write in this form, but also how to better position my stories for readers and agents. ”

~ Ethan Freckleton
Author & Host of The Fearless Storyteller podcast

Righty’o, that’s all for now!

Yours,

Miss Gail

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The Enforcer Enigma, third the in San Andreas Shifters series.

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AB: A town in Oregon has voted to name a park “Exploding Whale Park.”

Gail: Have we learned nothing from Boaty McBoatface?

Oh no, here we go again.


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