The Course covers the twelve chief stages of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey distilled into just eight modules.
The Hero starts his Journey in the “Ordinary World” – and completes it, mission accomplished, with his Return Home with the Elixir. But between those two points, comes the adventure, the Hero’s encounter not only with his antagonist, but also with his own deepest fears and doubts. See below for a more detailed look at the twelve stages of the Hero’s Journey.
How does the course work?
- The Hero’s Journey is the most useful story template ever devised, reflecting the underlying structure of story, and giving you important cues about character and motivation.
- We present the course in eight two to two and a half hour, virtual sessions.
- Notes will be sent to you in advance, together with excerpts from short stories, novels and works of non-fiction, plus links to video clips and scripts available online.
- You gather on Wednesday evenings via a Zoom link where either Richard or Michele will run over the highlights of the module, invite questions and promote discussion. They will then give you prompts to write a scene which enables you to explore, in dramatic fashion, the week’s primary lesson.
- You’ll first comment on each other’s work, before Richard or Michele gives their feedback.
- By the end of the course, you’ll have learned the route through the Hero’s Journey and be able to apply your understanding to your own writing projects.
How will you benefit?
- You will learn techniques to make your stories more dramatic and more appealing to readers.
- You will learn to motivate your character’s crucial choices and decisions.
- You will learn to recognise when a crucial element of your story is missing.
- You will learn how to mislead your readers, how to build to the sort of climax that pays off dramatically and psychologically.
- You will learn to write better stories.
Here are the twelve stages of the Hero’s Journey. The hero is either male or female, animal or even mineral. (Yes, robots can also be heroes.)
- 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 him, or her, 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 who can give him advice, wisdom, information, or items that prepare him 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.
- The Ordeal
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 she’s earned that allows her to take on the biggest conflict. It may be a physical item or piece of knowledge or wisdom that will help her persevere.
- The Road Back
The hero sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but he are about to face even more tests and challenges.
The climax. The hero faces a final test, using everything she has learned to take on the conflict once and for all.
- Return with The Elixir
The hero brings her knowledge or the ‘elixir’ back to the ordinary world.