See Also: Chart Comparing Different Versions of the Hero’s Journey

If you ask any twenty people why they enjoy stories, you”™re likely to get a hundred answers. Another, closely related question: what is a story? Another hundred answers. From all that mess (with few exceptions) will arise some common themes about what stories are and why they drive us to spend so much time with fictional characters in made-up universes. The common elements of good stories: character, plot, setting.

We knew that. Characters doing things in a time and place. The way those elements are constructed, the dance they weave around each other, separates forgettable tales from timeless classics. There are other important elements: voice, tone, motifs, themes, and the rest. But these stand on the shoulders of our three basic pieces to every good story puzzle.

The Hero”™s Journey is one way to weave characters, plot, and setting. It is not the only way. It may not be the best way. The magic of the Hero’s Journey arises from its primality; its universal basicness. Joseph Campbell spent his lifetime investigating myths from all around the world, distilling patterns he found from all civilizations into some common principles. Carl Jung, a prominant psychologist, built upon this these patterns by likening this journey to facets found deep in the human psyche and cultural memories.  This isn”™t some kooky metaphysical idea, it”™s basic psychology.

In coming installments of this series, we will explore the basic elements (character, setting and plot) through the lens of the Hero’s Journey, and a simple one at that. We will discover why this framework is so universal and powerful, see how it can apply to any genre or storyform, and most importantly, learn how to use it.

Series Contents

  1. Series Home
  2. The Plot (Setup, Journey, Climax)
  3. The Characters (Major and Minor Archetypes)
  4. The Hero’s Three Worlds
  5. First Review
  6. Examples From Popular Storytelling
  7. Let’s Take a Journey I
  8. Let’s Take a Journey II
  9. Let’s Take a Journey III
  10. (Six) Tips for an Interesting Journey
  11. (Six) Tips for a Memorable Journey
  12. (Six) Tips for a Personal Journey
  13. Second Review

Advanced Topics

  1. Psychology and the Journey
  2. Variations on a Theme
  3. More Examples from Popular Storytelling
  4. Chart Comparing Hero’s Journey
  5. More Resources and Next Steps
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Chris Michaels

Storyteller. Researcher. Coder. Innovator. I seek to push the boundaries of storytelling and education.
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