2010 The Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell was Professor

A thousand times

180/Monomyth/ LOGO/1908 Monomyth logo, symbolising the heroes journey and the pre and post climatic tension.

Campbell’s premise is that all stories encompass essentially the same plot, which has been interpreted and reinterpreted by many people. Since his ideas were used successfully in Star Wars there have been many versions of the basic hero’s journey. There are versions which have as few as 9 steps and other versions with as many as many as 501!


Something New

The Writers Journey Michael Wise Productions IBSN 978-1-932907-36-0I should mention that it is typical of the writing fraternity that recently there is a reaction against The Hero’s journey. Suggestions are being made that we should abandon Campbell’s and try “something new”. I personally can see no reason why utilising “something new” cannot be added to the hero’s journey rather than replacing it it

After a number of experiments I have settled on the 18 step version (close to but not identical to that used by Christopher Vogler) which gives a number of useful prompts to the story structure without  any stultifying constraints resulting from the application of voluminous supporting notes.The essential features of the resultant plot are given in the following topics.


The Unknown World

slide15 In it’s most basic form the hero’s journey requires the hero to visit an unknown world where challenges, both physical and emotional must be faced. A football player transfers to a new team, a young couple is invited to an “A” list dinner, a young man is invited to meet his girlfriends parents.

There is always a return to the “normal” world and the hero always brings something back.  Sometimes it is only an appreciation for everything the normal world has to offer, though more usually, new skills and contacts mean that, for the hero at least, the “normal” world will never be quite the same.

In the New World

167/Hero's Journey/ The unknown world/1581 The essential part of any hero's journey. the visit to the unknown world.Campbell has a series of sub steps which he has given mystical names ( one of them is “the belly of the whale”). the purpose of such ambiguous is allow for the creative instincts of the author in interpreting the meaning of each sub step in their own unique story.

I have struggled to find meaning in some of Campbell’s teaching but at the same time I sympathise with the overall concept.

To aid comprehension I have limited my first view to only five essential steps. Each one is then given sub steps but in truth, every author could prefer a different title for each sub step. 

Visit to the unknown world

167/Hero's Journey/ Leaving/1582 Sub events of leaving the normal worldThe sub steps I have chosen are:-

The call to adventure –  This is the initiating event which launches the quest.

Refusing the call – The internal torment of self doubt or inertia. This makes the character more appealing not only to the reader but to the writer as well.

Gatekeepers and mentors – Gatekeepers counsel against action or actively take steps to prevent the action. Mentors on the other hand  and or who provide support, instruction and inspiration.

Crossing the threshold – The action commences. the decision is taken ( or forced upon the hero) to move forward despite apprehension and or foreboding.

Develop new skills

167/Hero's Journey/ Develop new skills/1583 Sub events of first interaction with the new world and the developing of skills.

In the new world the hero experiences many challenges and by coping with the challenges gains new skills.

The sub steps I have chosen are:-

Acceptance of the new world – Commitment to face challenges. Objectives are set.

Trials, Allies and Enemies –  A realisation of the risks which must be taken. Who will help  and who will hinder overcome the obstacles?

The test

167/Hero's Journey/ surviving the test/1584 Sub events of surviving the testThe hero is faced with the ultimate test, which is not necessarily a single event.

The sub steps I have chosen are:-

Meeting the soulmate – An experience of love which brings substance and legitimacy to the quest.

Temptation- The return of self  doubt. Consideration of abandoning the quest

Ordeal- Courage is not the absence of fear or despair but the strength to overcome them.

Obtaining the Prize – the result of having faced the ordeal and survived,  which can be  material possessions, emotional development or spiritual insights.


167/Hero's Journey/ return with the prize/1585 Sub events of returning with the prize

Escape From the Unknown World.

Others desire the prize and continue to plot to obtain it. All heroes return to the normal world with a prize . It may be material or magical possessions or even a new self awareness.For this the sub steps i have chosen are:-

Refusal of return- the third encounter with self doubt. A desire to remain in the unknown World

The Magic flight – The escape strategy which ignores risk and requires good fortune.

The Rescue – The external, unexpected help which makes the escape strategy achievable.

The Return Threshold – Acceptance that a return to the real world is not only unavoidable but necessary.

Return to the normal world

167/Hero's Journey/Return/1586 Sub events of rejoining the normal worldAt the end of the journey the hero, changed by the experience, returns to the real world which is unchanged . It is by no means certain that the normal world will look favourably on the change or be prepared to benefit the hero’s new possessions or enhanced skill sets.

The sub steps I have chosen are:-

Mastering two worlds –  successfully rejoining the real world overcoming opposition and sharing the prize.

Freedom to live – a moment of stability and contentment before accepting the next challenge.


167/Hero's Journey/ Array/ 1587 full array of sub events for the hero's journeyMy intention is to now merge this version of the Hero’s Journey with a structure of acts to allow control of tension and story development. To do this it is necessary to display all the sub steps around the periphery.    

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.