The Hero’s (Animated) Journey

June 25, 2013 § 7 Comments

heroI’m always surprised when writers tell me they don’t know what the Heroic Cycle is. It’s fundamental to storytelling and has been pretty much since storytelling was invented, and when I hear that a writer hasn’t heard of it, I urge them to go buy their own copy of Joseph Campbell’s classic The Hero with a Thousand Faces as soon as possible.

I still recommend that if you, too, don’t know what the Heroic Cycle is. But now I can also point you to this excellent TEDtalk video that summarizes it in just a few minutes:

Not every story has every stage of the journey, and some jumble the stages, but overall, it’s a great pattern to keep in mind when you’re plotting out your story. And if you’ve got a story that isn’t working, see if it fits into this mold. It could be that you’re missing a stage, and figuring out how to include it might just resolve that plot problem you’ve been having.

Do you keep the Heroic Cycle in mind when you’re plotting your stories?

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