How to put the Hero at the heart of your story (and your life)
An eight-part course on the most effective story template ever developed
Jan wanted to tell the story of his own heroic quest to recover the family silver, buried eighty years before in a remote corner of what was then Poland as his family prepared to flee the invading Russian army. He signed up for our inaugural Hero’s Journey course. This helped him hammer out a sturdy and workable structure for his tale of derring-do and adventure.
“The course,” says Jan, “helped unravel a set of jumbled thoughts and systemise them into a cohesive and gripping real life story.”
The Hero’s Journey Writing Course
The Hero’s Journey gives you greater insights into story structure and character than you’ve ever enjoyed before
The course helps you erect the “tentpoles” of your story
Personal and instant feedback during “live” Zoom sessions helps bed each lesson down
Life-long access to our notes and resources give you a permanent archive you can turn to whenever you need to refresh your understanding of this essential story tool.
How The Hero’s Journey Writing Course works
Every week we send you precise notes and links to a variety of online resources several days in advance of the Zoom session.
You work their way through them, and jot down any questions you have, or points you’d like to make in the Zoom session which will take place every Wednesday evening.
We will start with a short explanatory recap of the issues raised in the notes, and then invite participants to put questions. The Hero’s Journey is applicable to writing for the page and the screen – and is also very much part of our lives, however “unheroic” he think ourselves – so there’s always lot’s to discuss.
Then we give you an exercise to write, and thirty minutes to write it in. You each read these back to the group, we invite comments from your fellow-writers, and then give our feedback.
These are exciting sessions, full of invention and positive reinforcement of the best features of your ideas and your writing.
The Hero’s Journey Writing Course outline
The Hero’s Journey consists of twelve discrete steps which we communicate across eight modules. Here’s a brief description of the twelve stages of the Hero’s Journey:
The Ordinary World
We see the hero’s normal life at the start of the story before the adventure begins.
The Call to Adventure
The hero is faced with an event, conflict, problem, or challenge that prompts or invites them to begin their adventure.
The Refusal of The Call
The hero initially refuses the adventure because of hesitation, fears, insecurity, or one of any number of other issues.
Meeting the Mentor
The hero encounters a mentor that can give them wisdom that prepares them for the journey ahead.
Crossing the Threshold
The hero leaves their ordinary world for the first time and crosses the threshold into adventure.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
The hero learns the rules of the new world and endures tests, meets friends, and comes face-to-face with enemies.
Approach to The Inmost Cave
The initial plan to take on the central conflict begins, but setbacks occur that cause the hero to try a new approach or adopt new ideas.
Things go wrong and added conflict is introduced. The hero experiences more difficult hurdles and obstacles, some of which may lead to a life crisis.
The Reward (Seizing the Sword)
After surviving The Ordeal, the hero seizes the sword — a reward that they’ve earned that allows them to take on the biggest conflict.
The Road Back
The hero sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but they are about to face even more tests and challenges.
The climax. The hero faces a final test, using everything they have learned to take on the conflict once and for all.
Return with The Elixir
The hero brings their knowledge or the ‘elixir’ back to the ordinary world.
Who are your course designers and facilitators?
Michéle Rowe is a scriptwriter who has worked primarily as a head writer and story originator for television and film. Projects Michéle has originated, written or directed have been nominated for or won various awards, including an Oscar documentary and an International Emmy nomination. At present she works as a script editor, teaches screenwriting and is completing her third novel for Penguin. She has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.
Richard Beynon is a story consultant and an award-winning film and television scriptwriter with a long and accomplished career in the industry. He has written for – or headed the storytelling teams of – many of country’s most popular soaps, dramas and comedies. These include S’gudi snaysi, Going Up, Soul City, Isidingo, Scandal, Rhythm City and Isibaya. A former journalist for the Rand Daily Mail, he has conceived, shaped and written scores of documentaries. He has lectured on writing for film and television at Wits.
With Michéle and Richard’s many decades of professional writing, film industry and teaching experience you’ll be in very capable hands.
Money back guarantee
We’ve seen our students get results time and time again so we’re proud to stand behind our courses. But your satisfaction is important to us, which is why we offer a 14-day refund period. To be eligible for a refund, you must complete the first two modules of the course and attend both virtual sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you serious that the Hero’s Journey is the most useful paradigm for stories? What about all the other models?
The Hero’s Journey is the result of the most painstaking research conducted by Joseph Campbell over decades. It is not a theoretical or prescriptive model – but a descriptive one. It lies, in one form or other, at the heart of all story structure. It fits into the familiar notion of story’s three-act structure, elaborating on the links between acts, and the creation of tension and suspense.
Will we be given full feedback on every assignment we do?
The Hero’s Journey Course is structured as a series of virtual workshops. In advance of each course we’ll send you notes and resources to consult. When we meet, we’ll ask you to write an assignment and we’ll give you instant and positive feedback.
Can the Hero’s Journey be learned?
Absolutely it can be learned. It is a supple and practical measure of story, and our course takes you through its steps in an incremental way that is guaranteed to help it stick. We guarantee that, once learned, you’ll start spotting the Hero’s Journey in everything you read – and, indeed, in your own life passages!
Will I be able to apply the lessons I’ve learned to my own writing?
Absolutely you will. This is not a theoretical or academic exercise. It’s a practical guide designed to help you solve the problems of story and character in your writing project.