Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Structure of the Monomyth

Joseph Campbell based his work on Greek hero stories like the Illiad. Christopher Vogler designed his process for writing Disney stories. By combining both approaches and fitting them into a standard three-act play structure, a comprehensive approach emerges.
ACT I: Departure

1. Ordinary World Start the story with a view of everyday life before the adventure.

2. Call to Adventure This is the hook.

3. Refusal of the Call Hero should resist change at first.

4. Supernatural Aid/Meeting the Mentor Hero stories always have someone who shows the way. Could be the character that represents purity/balance. This is where the hero receives knowledge, confidence and special weapons needed to win.

5. Crossing the Threshold to the Special World This is the Trigger/start of the Adventure.

6. The Belly of the Whale Exploring the new world.

ACT II: Initiation

7. The Road of Trials Crisis

8. The Meeting with the Higher Power The hero must interact with the purity/balance character.

9. Temptation This is the Struggle.

10. Atonement Epiphany

11. Ordeal, Death & Rebirth This is the development of the Plan to beat the enemy (acting on the Epiphany)

12. Reward/Seizing the Sword This is the Climax.

ACT III: Return

13. Refusal of the Return The hero resists all change, even going home.

14. The Magic Flight Something drives the hero to return home.

15. Rescue from Without A final assist from the mentor proves to the hero that the mentor is no longer needed.

16. Resurrection The hero has changed as a result of his adventure.

17. Crossing the Return Threshold The hero is hailed by his family/friends.

18. Master of Two Worlds The hero has changed as a result of his adventure but is still a part of his original world.

19. Freedom to Live Happy ending.
Vogler goes on to describe the hero’s inner or emotional journey, which he calls the Character Arc. He maintains that even though there is something the character wants from his adventure, there may be some cathartic experience that he actually needs to become a true hero. In my next blog post I’ll take a look at Vogler’s Character Arc.

All of the brainstorming exercises described in this blog series can be found in my Scrivener template on Google Drive at
For non-scrivener users, Personal Noveling Assistant (PNA) pages are at

For more about my stories, check out my author page at

No comments:

Post a Comment