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The Hero's Journey





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Why did I write these pages?

Welcome dear reader and fellow adventurer,

    This is your friend and humble Narrator.  What follows in these timid pages is exactly what the title says, a cursory glance at the Monomyth story structure.  I will get to that, gentle reader, but first I need to say a few things.  The majority of the content that follows can be found primarily within two sources.  The first is The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.  The second is The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters by Christopher Vogler.  Both books are readily available at most fine booksellers and, failing those, there is always Amazon (I know they have them).    I am not affiliated with either of the two works cited above.

    The main reasons I decided to put up these pages were to enlighten people about The Hero's Journey.  When I was writing my first screenplay (nothing I've written has been published yet...so take what I have to say with a grain of salt) I didn't have a clue about the Hero's Journey or the Monomyth.  In fact, most people don't.  What most people can tell you though, is which stories they like, and what, in their opinion, constitutes a good story.  Ask enough people those questions and very quickly you'll find that most people's opinions on what makes a good story will be quite similar.  Even stranger, you'll probably find that most of these stories fit the Monomyth structure of the Hero's Journey.  (There I go again...and I haven't told you what it is yet...patience young Padawan...it's coming.)

As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself, I wrote a screenplay.  Someone who read it (May the Lord smile eternally on their soul.) hinted that I might want to take a gander at Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces.  It was her polite way of saying, "This script ain't got it, kid.  Keep your day job."  Well, I decided to do what I always do when confronted with new information -- I hit the internet.  Although, I found a lot of pages that talked about the Monomyth and about Joseph Campbell, I didn't find any that described what the Monomyth was.  So, I went down to the local B&N and snatched up a copy of the two books mentioned above (Glad I did too).  After I read them, I re-read my screenplay.  To my chagrin, I became instantly aware of its myriad shortcomings.  I understood now what had gone wrong so I fixed it.  (It still didn't sell, but that's another story.) The new version was a lot better.  So, like the new convert I had become, I felt I had to spread the news.  But most people will not wade through Campbell's voluminous work, nor are they apt to buy Vogler's book, because as had been quoted to me in the past, "That's for screenwriters! I write short stories!"  They are missing the point.  But people like a taste of the material before they commit to it...a sneak preview perhaps?  And here we are.


I caution you dear Reader, take heed.  These meager pages merely skim the surface.  They are here to merely whet your appetite.  To give you a peek at the light so that you may catch a glimmer of what you are missing.  There is NO SUBSTITUTE for actually reading THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. It's a little rough going at first, but I know you can do it.  If you can't, Vogler's THE WRITER'S JOURNEY distills the information in a neat and organized manner and also includes a discussion of Jungian archetypes as viewed through the Monomyth model.

I hope these pages are useful and I hope that you will be inspired to read these pivotal works.  I thank you, and remember, it is just the tip of the iceberg.