Read or Die

Review of Kim Hudson’s THE VIRGIN’S PROMISE

The Virgin’s Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual and Sexual Awakening by Kim Hudson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book came as a recommendation from my YA novel mentor. And I appreciate that he sent it in my direction because the Hero’s Journey has always had faults when I’ve attempted to apply it to some of my writing. (Nothing against Joseph Campbell) How to account for those plot lines where most of the growth occurs internally? Where your character doesn’t take on an epic journey?

Ms. Hudson outlines the complement to that swashbuckling journey everyone’s so familiar with. And while she admits it works equally well with a feminine or masculine character, the underlying message is that we’re dealing with the princesses out there. It’s the fairy tale side of the coin. (Perfect for so much of my writing) And the crucial points of those changes and milestones are provided. It softens and modulates the baddie bashing and sword chasing that simply doesn’t apply when you’re focusing on a character who spends most of their existence in their mind.

But it needed more focus on novel writing and less on screenplays. Or at least needed that clarification made in the title. The entire second half of the book is devoted to screenwriters, which – while adaptable – doesn’t easily translate to those of us working in the medium of short story and novel. The pacing is different, as is the order in which you tackle the milestones of the Virgin’s journey. And the worksheets in the back need additional modification to be usable in a plotting exercise.

It would also have been nice to address those instances where the two journeys combine. (Sometimes the princess has to save herself, after all) Ms. Hudson kept the two separate and almost opposed. But there’s room for overlap, particularly in this modern age. I wanted to see examples of where that occurs and how to adapt that kind of writing.

Perhaps that’s in another book.

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