Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vogler's Hero

While working as a story consultant for Disney in the mid-eighties, Christopher Vogler wrote a seven-page memo intended to help screenwriters develop heroes for Disney movies. He based his analysis on Joseph Campbell’s work and titled the memo “A Practical Guide to The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” Later he turned this effort into a book, The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers (ISBN 978-1-932907-36-0), which is widely regarded as a must-have reference for all fiction writers. He currently works as a Hollywood development executive as the President of the company, Storytech Literary Consulting, and teaches his techniques all over the world in leading Masterclasses.

Found at
The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers assumes that most successful stories are comprised of a series of common narratives and character archetypes.

In Vogler’s Hero's journey, the stages are as follows:

  1. Ordinary World - Vogler starts story with a view of everyday life before the adventure.
  2. Call to Adventure - This is the hook.
  3. Refusal of the Call - The hero should resist change at first.
  4. Meeting with the Mentor- Hero stories always have someone who shows the way. This is where the hero gets the knowledge, confidence and special weapons needed to win.
  5. Crossing the Threshold into the Special World - This is the Trigger/start of the Adventure where the hero overcomes his reluctance.
  6. Tests, Allies and Enemies - Crisis and Struggle
  7. Approach to the Innermost Cave - This is Vogler’s Epiphany.
  8. The Ordeal with Death and Rebirth - This is Vogler’s Plan and the Climax.
  9. Reward - The hero achieves a reward for surviving death.
  10. The Road Back - This is Vogler’s ending, everything that happens after the climax.
  11. The Resurrection - The hero has changed as a result of his adventure.
  12. Return with the Elixir - Happy ending.

In my next post I’ll put the two approaches together for a comprehensive approach to developing the character arc of a hero.

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


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