Instructor: Nina Munteanu
According to Christopher Vogler (author of The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers) “all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies. They are known collectively as The Hero’s Journey.”
The Hero’s Journey is essentially the three-act structure of the ancient Greek play, handed down to us thousands of years ago. Drawn from the depth psychology of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the scholar and mythologist Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it duplicates the steps of the “Rite of Passage” and is a process of self-discovery and self-integration. To be a “hero” is to be on a journey “home”. The hero’s journey is the soul’s search for home, a journey of transformation we all take, in some form.
A truly compelling story resonates with the universal truths of metaphor within the consciousness of humanity. According to Joseph Campbell this involves an open mind and a certain amount of humility; and giving oneself to the story…not unlike the hero who gives her life to something larger than herself: “Anyone writing a creative work knows that you open, you yield yourself, and the book talks to you and builds itself….you become the carrier of something that is given to you from … the Muses—or … God. This is no fancy, it is a fact. Since the inspiration comes from the unconscious, and since the unconscious minds of the people of any single small society have much in common, what the shaman or seer [or artist] brings forth is something that is waiting to be brought forth in everyone.”
Time & Schedule: 2-day weekend course of two-hour lecture and discussion/workshop, with homework assignments. Includes handouts. Schedule for upcoming Semester TBA.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org [subject: Hero's Journey] for more information on the course and how to register.
“I was fascinated by Nina’s clear and extremely interesting lecture on the hero’s journey. Maybe all writers have a novel in their heads they want to write one day; the techniques Nina shared with us will help me when I get to that point. In fact, because of her, I may get there a lot sooner than I had planned.” — Zoe M. Hicks, author of Dream Catcher, the Power of Faith, GA
“Every quarter I use Nina’s … discussion on the Hero’s Journey.” — David Merchant, English Instructor, Louisiana Tech University
“You’ve shown me how to put soul into my books.” — Hectorine Roy, author of Lavendar & Acorns
“Nina has an astonishing gift of nourishing your intellect … She listens with her soul … Nina has taken me into a new threshold of learning. The workshop has given me a new world of confidence … She is a gift to her students well beyond the workshops she provides.” — Vanessa Rottner, author of The Diva Files, Toronto
“Nina inspires me to keep trying my best … She is a very thorough instructor and very nurturing and knowledgeable about her students work.” — Jana Hanna, Texas
The 2-day course consists of lectures with associated worksheets, exercises and discussion and feed-back on students’ own works and journey. Students are expected to provide their own works to study and discuss.
First Day: Structure, Promise & Journey (2-hours)
This session introduces the concept of the Hero’s Journey and how it integrates theme, character, setting and plot into a coherent story that resonates and compels. This includes knowledge of story structure and story promise, which incorporates premise with theme as related to the Hero’s Journey. We discuss reasons for its success with writers and readers; how it informs our lives and how we can become the heroes of our own lives through writing our stories. The basis and architecture of the journey are discussed within the 3-act play of “separation”, “transformation” and “return”. Various versions of the journey are explored from literal to spiritual and the 12-step journey of Joseph Campbell is introduced. Examples within ancient myths, religions and popular stories are used. Types of hero are described with consequent journeys and quests.
Student assignment: to explore their own works or another’s work to identify aspects of the journey, use of metaphor and other parts of storytelling within the hero’s journey 3-act structure. To understand and discuss, using pertinent examples, the transformative states of the hero’s journey in story.
Second Day: The Archetypes, the Journey Stages & the Journey Map (2-hours)
A review of the seven major archetypes (e.g., hero, mentor, herald, threshold guardian, shapeshifter, shadow, and trickster) using examples of characters and events in well-known stories are described. This includes extensive discussion of examples from ancient myth and stories to popular movies and books. Exceptions and oddities are included to better study the nature of “archetype” and role of characters in plot.
Archetypes and their roles within characters or other aspects of story are explored within the story-arc and the hero’s journey and quest; how they shape and challenge the hero’s quest and transformation are explored.
A detailed discussion of the 3-Act (twelve-step) Hero’s Journey Map makes use of extensive examples from books and movies. Each step is dissected for its relevance to story-arc and hero-development and transformation. Examples provide a wide range of hero type and scenario. Major discussions focus on the hero’s call to adventure, his initial refusal then meeting of the mentor and separation from “the ordinary world”, past the threshold into the “special world” where he is initiated and ultimately transformed through trials, ordeals and experiencing the “abyss” then the reward of revelation, resurrection and atonement, whereupon he returns with his gift.
This class reviews how students have applied the Hero’s Journey plot approach in their own works. How this plot approach integrates theme, character and setting within a truly integrated story-arc is reviewed and challenges discussed using discussions of students works with critical feedback for and by students.
Student assignment: to identify archetypes and their roles in characters and other aspects of story in their own works or another’s and discuss.