Friday, March 30, 2007

188 Stage Hero's Journey (Monomyth)- The Road of Trials Should be the Road of Transformations

The Hero's Journey (also known as the Monomyth) is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. It is upon this structure that situations are superimposed. This is why stories such as Alien (1979), Gladiator (2000), Godfather (1972), American Beauty (1999), Annie Hall (1977) and many others (all deconstructed at appear to be different but are all constructed, almost sequence by sequence, in the same way.

The following blockbusters have all been structured around the Hero's Journey template: Titanic, 1997 - grossed over $600,000,000; Star Wars, 1977 - grossed over $460,000,000; Shrek 2, 2004 - grossed over $436,000,000; ET, 1982 - grossed over $434,000,000; Spiderman, 2002 - grossed over $432,000,000. So how come you don't know it inside out?

For a number of very valid reasons, if you want to write (and sell) successful stories, whether they're Hollywood blockbusters, Indie successes, novels or other story forms, you need to master the Hero's Journey in a very detailed way...


The Road of Trials should be known as the Road of Transformations. That is the purpose of the Trials - to incrementally transform the Hero from an Old Self to a New Self; to dissolve away the Old Self. This is a deeper transformation than that which occurs during the First Threshold.

This is a huge and often favourite part of many stories and is achieved using distinct and focused techniques and processes - knowing the patterns that this stage can follow makes writing successful stories a whole lot easier. Patterns include:

Pulling away from the Old Self. In An Officer and a Gentleman (1983), Zach accepts Paula as his girlfriend - he's never had a girl before.

Demonstrating suitability to the New World and the New Self. In City Slickers (1991), Mitch is at home around the campfire and takes on Curly - someone whom he's afraid of.

Demonstrating deep Transformation. In The Godfather (1972), Michael decides to marry Apollonia - a Sicilian marriage was something he would not have considered previously.

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