Story, Scriptwriting, and the concept of the Monomyth
ozoneocean at 9:13AM, March 5, 2012
How to use the Monomyth story structure template to improve your stories and make them more appealing to the reader, along with many other great writing tips!
Story and scriptwriting.
This tute comes from Quackcast 67
- http://www.drunkduck.com/quackcast/episode-67-journey-to-the-centre-of-the-story -
This is all by Kroatz!
Monomyth, what is the heroes journey. We describe every stage and give a
short example of where the stage is in movies like Star Wars and The
Lord of the Rings. The Heroes Journey is an analysis by Joseph Campbell
from the year 1949, it was first written in “The Hero with a thousand
faces”. Originally it was meant as an analysis of how stories were
built. By combining hundreds of stories from myth, the bible and other
sources he ended up with a few basic steps that almost every good story
follows. In 1992 it was adapted by Christopher Vogler into a more
accessible book, no longer meant to just inform the public but meant as a
formula for writing Hollywood movies.
The steps are:
I. The Ordinary World - Establishing scenes that show our hero is a regular person leading an ordinary life.
2. The Call to Adventure - The hero is presented with a challenge that disrupts their ordinary life.
3. Refusal of the Call - The hero makes excuses about why he can't go on the adventure.
4. Meeting with the Mentor - Some wise figure gives advice, training, or aid.
5. Crossing the Threshold - The hero leaves the ordinary world (often under pressure) and enters the adventure world.
Tests, Allies, Enemies - The hero faces minor challenges, makes allies,
confronts enemies, and learns the workings of the adventure world.
7. Approaching the Cave - The hero encounters setbacks and needs to try something new.
8. The Ordeal - The hero faces a peak life or death crisis.
9. The Reward - The hero survives, overcomes their fear, and gets the reward.
10. The Road Back - The hero returns to the ordinary world, but the problems still aren't all solved.
11. Resurrection - The hero faces a still greater crisis, and has to use everything he has learned.
Returning with the Elixir - The journey is now well and truly complete,
and the hero's success has improved the lives of everyone in the
- How to use the Monomyth.
How to use the monomyth in writing a story and, more importantly, how to not use it.
improve a story by knowing in which step of the monomyth your are and
how you can continue the story to a next step in a logical way.
Use the monomyth as a strict guideline. It is meant as a help, not as something to copy.
Aristotle said there are three different kinds of conflict, use all three in your
stories. The steps in the heroes journey do not have to be literal,
most of them can take place inside someone’s mind.
Man vs Nature.
Crossing a mountain, battling the elements. Lowest level, only gives some emotional response.
Man vs Man.
Fighting an opponent, loving someone, talking to someone. Mid level, gives a larger emotional response.
Man vs Himself.
Fighting your own insecurities, battling one’s own feelings. Highest level,
gives a very large emotional response, makes your protagonist seem more
You can't go full awesome, all the time. And how is that incorporated into any great story. Scott Pilgrim, Good music, everything needs to be built up, reach a peak and slowly be brought down.
Break from existing patterns, do not let the reader predict what you're planning to write in five pages. Add plot twists. Example watchmen, the bad guy is a hero, the comedian is a father, Rorschach dies. This keeps it exciting, there are some narrative devices that can help.
-Raise the stakes.
The story needs to matter to both the protagonist and the reader, The protagonist's entire world needs to be in danger if he fails (Doesn't have to be the planet, could just be his personal relationships). Star wars is multiple galaxies, LOTR is the entire country, Scott Pilgrim is just his relationship, but it´s SUPER
-Stick to what you know.
Don't write a comic about stuff you know nothing about. Use examples from your real life. By sometimes using lines from your real life, and places you’ve really been, it can become more than just another story.
-Reward your reader.
If you reward your reader with new information, beautiful pictures or cool plot developments every few pages that will increase the joy they get from reading (And make the story better).
-Stretch time to your liking.
You d not have to show your reader every boring little thing your character does. You can show twelve years inside of four frames or show four minutes and take forty pages.
-Use foreshadowing to keep your readers interested.
Don’t give too much away. By saying things like: I wish I had known back then… Or: I didn’t think anything could go wrong… Or: She didn’t know how right she was… You can change a simple story to become more interesting.
-Use coincidences when you need to.
If two kids are kissing that is
interesting but if they are kissing and the girl’s father happens to
come in, that makes it super interesting. Do not wait too long before
using this though, that makes it look like a cheap way out of bad
- Switch up relathionships.
If people do not get along, make them interact.
f people do get along, create conflict.
- Let the reader know things the characters don't
By telling the reader things that the protagonists do not know yet you
can make the reader feel more connected. They will instinctively want to
help the protagonist, this makes them like the characters better.
Make your characters reflect on what is yet to come. If they talk about
their uncertainty then the reader will think it’s more exciting to see
what happens as well.
- Forshadowing and easter eggs.
Plant something interesting and do not tell what it means until later
in the story. This ties several, possibly completely unrelated,
story-arcs together. Someone finds a key and opens a door with it at the
end of the story. Someone is seen staring at a graveyard and doesn’t
tell his story for forty more pages. A zombie climbs out of the dirt but
doesn’t reach the protagonist for two more books.
Tie the challenges together. Every solution the characters find are nothing more than a setup for the next few challenges.
- Change the vantage point.
Show the same events from the point of view
of someone else and reveal things that were not revealed the first time
around. This makes possible bad guys seem more human and it might give a
darker view on your own characters if well written.
- Use time bombs.
Races against time are always interesting. Even if it’s
just some mundane thing as getting to school in time or bringing a
block of ice home before it melts.