To prepare for National Novel Writing Month, member Richard Pulfer covered the hero’s journey at the October In Print meeting and walked members through a writing exercise. Joesph Campbell opined that most myths around the world could be boiled down to a monomyth, a common set of story elements. Screenwriter Chris Vogler boiled this down in his book The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.
- Ordinary World – This is the opening where we meet the hero living a normal life.
- Call to Adventure – Something from outside of the hero’s normal experience appears.
- Refusal to Call – Initially the hero does not want to leave the regular world.
- Meet with a Mentor – The hero meets with someone who provides important information that will prove vital in the journey they’re about to take.
- First Threshold – The journey begins.
- Test Allies and Enemies – Along the way, the hero meets people that will either help or hurt their cause.
- Approach to the Inmost Cave – This is the darkest time with the highest peril for the hero.
- Ordeal – The hero has to survive a set of tests.
- Reward – Once successful, the hero receives a reward – either physical or spiritual.
- The Road Back – The hero escapes.
- Resurrection – This doesn’t have to mean a literal resurrection. Often the hero is able to “resurrect” a part of their spirit, lost until the journey.
- Return with Elixir – The hero returns to the ordinary world as a changed person with the ability to change those around them.
It was Vogler’s assertion every successful movie follows this story arc. We hope so; In Print members took inspiration from news reports and wrote story outlines that conformed to the list. For example: A man discovers he’s been declared legally dead and through his journey to reclaim his life, he overcomes addiction and regains his wife and family. Hollywood should give us a call!