Introduction

The Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State (also known as the Monostory or Monomyth) pattern is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. Our detailed deconstruction of hundreds of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters has revealed more than 2000 stages of the Hero's Journey that you need to know about...

The framework is based on core, indisputable fundamentals, including:

Without exception, every successful story involves physical journey. Visual stories, expecially Hollywood and novels targeting that market, accentuate the journey element. There is distinct physical movement between locations with specific functions implemented at those locations.

Without exception, every successful story involves transformation. There is always a start-state and an end-state and lots of in-between change-states that incrementally lead to the target. We can call this psychological journey. Transformation is arc is change - when not overt, transformation is covert through arcs, readiness, wholeness, repair, accessibility to home, awakenng and similar concepts.

Without exception, every successful story takes archetypes through a New World or New State, which involves particular process and has certain functions. New Worlds are physical manifestations of emerging or established new psychological states. Sometimes a New World is literal (a new planet or a new city), but most commonly it is a change of location (or a change of location within a location) with specific functional purpose. Commonly, the New World or State is cloaked / disguised to make it seamless. You need to learn to distinguish between the major and minor worlds. One function of the New World / State is to discover Who You Are.

To understand the above process, buy the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State

"...so to roll out successful stories and screenplays, superimpose your situation over this 2000+ stage structure."

"...what you're doing is using the structure to pull the hero through his (or her) journey..."

"...it is the pulling through the journey that induces the hero's transformation......a story is transformation..."

"...by pulling your hero through this journey, you cause him (or her) to detach from the Ordinary World and Ordinary Self and attach to the New World and New Self. And then to detach from the New World and New Self and become the Mature Self..."

"...this structure is the process of transformation. There is a psychological journey that is mirrored by a physical journey. That is why you often see darkness, rain, thunder and lightning during the stage of the Near Death Experience, for example. By pulling the hero through a physical experience, you are stimulating a psychological transformation. In the beginning the hero will be dressed one way, after being pushed through some stages of the journey, the psychological change will reflect in clothing, behaviour, attitudes and beliefs."

"...it is the undergoing of the journey that provides the hero with the capacity to conquer those challenges that were previously unconquerable..."

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Monostory (EVERY story)

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2000+ Hero's Journey Stages Not Unreasonable

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Basic Story, Screenplay Architecture

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Rigid Structure, Precise Story Arc

One of the least understood aspects of successful storytelling is the very high degree of rigid structure involved, especially in Hollywood screenwriting and bestselling fiction novels (the Harry Potter books are a perfect example). It roots to transformation, which is intricately stage-gated using physical journey and physical new worlds.

The most successful movies and bestselling novels definitely, without doubt, indisputably follow the same, precise story arc (there is really only one way to do it) - they all take their archetypes on a journey through a New World or State in a rigid, process driven manner, where transformation and capacities result in resolution of the initial imperfection (and the result is not unoriginal, as all Academy Award Winning Best Films demonstrate). If this is your field, then you must familiarise yourself with this process. More about this here.

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Situation Over Structure (Monostory, Monomyth)

There is really only one story. Every story you have ever seen or read is essentially an alternate situation superimposed, with individual style, over the same structure. Also see Monostory EVERY story.

The King's Speech (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2010)
The Hurt Locker (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2009)
Slumdog Millionaire (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2008)
No Country For Old Men (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2007)
The Departed (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2006)
Crash (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2005)
Million Dollar Baby (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2004)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2003)
Chicago (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2002)
A Beautiful Mind (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2001)
Gladiator (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2000)
see Academy Award Winner List

...and every other successful story you have ever seen or read are all one and the same - various situations superimposed over the same structure. Every successful story you will ever see or read will be one and the same - various situations superimposed over the same structure. The structure is what a story IS.

Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, Coppola, Cameron all use this structure. Shakespeare used this structure. Stories in the Bible, the Vedas, the Torah and the Koran use this structure. You should use this structure. Also see The Value Of Structure and for other creativity management issues, see Creativity And Time Pressure and Improve Your Creativity.

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The following images show how detailed the mapping of situation over structure [of successful and effective stories] can be. Further, the technique does not diminish character and story quality:

Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh) and Mowgli (The Jungle Book)

Mowgli (The Jungle Book) and Arthur (The Sword in the Stone)

Elephants in The Jungle Book and Robin Hood

Maid Marion (Robin Hood) and the Duchess (Aristocrats)

Snow White and Maid Marion (Robin Hood)

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Priority

Understanding this template is a priority for screen and story writers.

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Critical Competency

Understanding this template is a critical competency for screen and story writers.

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Success Prerequisite

You cannot write a successful screenplay without understanding this template.

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Advantages

The advantages of attaining a truly deep understanding of the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State:

You learn to write stories quickly and effectively. You don't waste months trying to figure out what to do. If you work in TV, you'll be asked to produce effective stories very quickly - within a week, for example. You get the ability to quickly produce many first draft screenplays and then decide which stories you like and which ones you want to work further with and which ones you want to sell.

A script editor or agent may say "we are seeking this type of story." You will be able to quickly write it and sell them it. Or you may think that the next academy award winner is going to be "Slumdog Millionaire in Somalia." You will be able to write the first draft of a story like that quickly.

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Master Extrapolation Process

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Use The Process To Pull Your Hero/ine Through

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The Hero/ine Is A Focal Point

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Story, Screenplay Law

From the above, you should begin to see the emergence of rules and process you MUST follow if you want to write a successful story / screenplay. In others words, they are what a story IS. You MUST apply them no matter what niche of literature your story targets (if you want to be successful).
Also see Monostory EVERY story. We expand on Story Law here.

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Series, Episodes

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First Caveman Storyteller Scenario

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Subplots / Ensemble Cast

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Limited Locations (Sitcoms, TV Shows etc)

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Tragedy, Final States Of Imperfection

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Situational Questions (Genre, Comedy etc)

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Basic Deconstructions

Below are a few hundred basic, first-draft, highly simplified story deconstructions.

IMPORTANT: These are very rough and general deconstructions meant to simply illustrate that the story follows the pattern described in the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State. For other basic deconstructions, you may also want to search our youtube channel .

DO NOT attempt to write a story by following these deconstructions they contain inaccuracies, critical stages have been omitted and they do not benefit from the latest insights; if you need an accurate deconstruction of this story, place an order at http://www.clickok.co.uk/CustomServices.html#deconstructions

These basic, first-draft, highly simplified story deconstructions illustrate that:

All these stories have the same structural core: there in only one story and that is the pattern of the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State

The Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World fit.

The rigid structure that all stories conform to.

The diversity and novelty that can be derived from a core template.

In all of the deconstructed stories:

There is a movement between Worlds.

A Transformation occurs.

There is Detachment and Attachment. See the Advanced Worksheets.

There is the Gaining of Capacities.

All the mandatory stages of the journey process are passed through. Though the story may not directly pass through an optional stage, elements / references of that stage may be present.

12 Angry Men (1957)
40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
48 Hours (1982)
127 Hours (2010)
A Man For All Seasons (1966)
A Team (2010)
Adjustment Bureau (2011)
Alien 3 (1992)
Alien (1979)
Aliens (1986)
All About Eve (1950)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
All The King's Men (1949)
Amadeus (1984)
Amazing Spiderman (2012)
American (2010)
American Beauty (1999)
American In Paris (1951)
American Pie (1999)
American Reunion (2012)
Analyze This (1999)
Animal Kingdom (2010)
Anna Karenina (2012)
Annie Hall (1977)
Another Year (2010)
Apartment (1960)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Argo (2012)
Around The World In 80 Days (1956)
Artist (2011)
Avatar (2009)
Avengers Assemble (2012)
Back To The Future (1985)
Bad Teacher (2011)
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Beautiful Mind (2001)
Ben Hur (1959)
Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Big Lebowski (1998)
Biutiful (2010)
Black Swan (2010)
Blue Valentine (2010)
Bourne Legacy (2012)
Brave (2012)
Braveheart (1995)
Breathless (1960)
Bridesmaids (2011)
Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
Broadway Melody (1929)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Captain America First Avenger (2011)
Cars 2 (2011)
Casablanca (1942)
Casino (1995)
Cavalcade (1933)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Chicago (2002)
Chronicle (2012)
Cimarron (1931)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Cocoon (1985)
Crash (2004)
Crazy Stupid Love (2011)
Croods (2013)
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Dark Knight (2008)
Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Death of a Salesman (1985)
Deer Hunter (1978)
Departed (2006)
Descendants (2011)
Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Dirty Dozen (1967)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Django Unchained (2012)
Dororo (2007)
Dr Seuss The Lorax (2012)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
English Patient (1996)
Erin Brockovich (2000)
ET the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
Expendables 2 (2012)
Fame (1980)
Fast & Furious 5 (2011)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Fight Club (1999)
Fighter (2010)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Forrest Gump (1994)
French Connection (1971)
From Here To Eternity (1953)
Gandhi (1982)
Gangster Squad (2013)
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Get Him To The Greek (2010)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Gigi (1958)
Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Gladiator (2000)
Godfather (1972)
Godfather Part II (1974)
Going My Way (1944)
Gone With The Wind (1939)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Great Escape (1963)
Great Gatsby (1974)
Great Ziegfeld (1936)
Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
Green Hornet (2011)
Green Lantern (2011)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Halloween (1978)
Hamlet (1948)
Hangover (2009)
Hangover Part II (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010)
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2
Help (2011)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Hobbit (2012)
Horrible Bosses (2011)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Hunger Games (2012)
Hurt Locker (2008)
Hustler (1961)
Ides of March (2011)
Immortals (2011)
In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
Inception (2010)
Incredibles (2004)
Ipcress File (1965)
Iron Man (2008)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Jason And The Argonauts (1963)
Jungle Book (1967)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Karate Kid 91984)
Kick Ass (2010)
King's Speech (2010)
Kramer vs Kramer (1979)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Larry Crowne (2011)
Last Emperor (1987)
Last King of Scotland (2006)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Legally Blonde (2001)
Liar Liar (1997)
Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Limitless (2011)
Lincoln (2013)
Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Lord of the Flies (1990)
Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Lord of the Rings Return of the King (2003)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Lost Weekend (1945)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Major Dundee (1965)
Marnie (1964)
Marty (1955)
Matrix (1999)
Me Myself And Irene (2000)
Meek's Cutoff (2010)
Men In Black III (2012)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Midnight In Paris (2011)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011)
Moneyball (2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Mrs Miniver (1942)
Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)
My Afternoons With Marguerite (2010)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Nacho Libre (2006)
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Oblivion (2013)
Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Oliver (1968)
On The Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975)
Ordinary People (1980)
Out of Africa (1985)
Pale Rider (1985)
Patton (1970)
Pineapple Express (2008)
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides (2011)
Platoon (1986)
Potiche (2010)
Predator (1987)
Predators (2010)
Priest (2011)
Prince Caspian (2008)
Prometheus (2012)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Puss In Boots (2011)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Rain Man (1988)
Rango (2011)
Real Steel (2011)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebecca (1940)
Red (2010)
Rio (2011)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Rock of Ages (2012)
Rocky (1976)
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Scarface (1983)
Schindler's List (2003)
School of Rock (2003)
Scrooged (1988)
Shakespeare In Love (1998)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Sherlock Holmes (2011)
Sideways (2004)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Skyfall (2012)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Social Network (2010)
Sound of Music (1965)
Source Code (2011)
Spartacus (1960)
Spiderman (2002)
Splice (2009)
Star Trek Wrath of Khan (1982)
Sting (1973)
Super 8 (2011)
Swingers (1996)
Taken 2 (2012)
Team America World Police (2004)
Ted (2012)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Them! (1954)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Thor (2011)
Titanic (1997)
Tom Jones (1963)
Top Gun (1986)
Tower Heist (2011)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Tree Of Life (2011)
Tron Legacy (2010)
True Grit (2010)
Twilight Breaking Dawn 2 (2012)
Twilight Breaking Dawn I (2011)
Twilight I (2008)
Ugly Truth (2009)
Unforgiven (1992)
Unknown (2011)
Unstoppable (2010)
Untouchable Intouchables (2011)
Untouchables (1987)
Up In The Air (2009)
Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Wag The Dog (1997)
Wall Street (2012)
War Horse (2011)
Water For Elephants (2011)
West Side Story (1961)
What Happens In Vegas (2008)
Wings (1927)
Withnail and I (1987)
Wizard of Oz (1939)
Wolfman (2010)
Wrestler (2008)
X Men First Class (2011)
You Can't Take It With You (1938)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010);v
Zach and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

All Academy Award Best Films

Six Core Challenges

One or more characters conquer a number of challenges. There are six core challenges: a) the Inner Challenge, b) the Romantic Challenge, c) the Outer Challenge and d) the Greater Antagonism, e) to find out what the fifth and sixth core challenge are (you can't write a complete, successful story without knowing this), please buy the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State.

In Titanic (Academy Award Winner Best Film 1997; No. 1 All-Time USA Box-office with receipts of over $600,000,000), Rose's Inner Challenge is to overcome her commitment to her mother as well as Jack's lower status, her Romantic Challenge is Jack, her Outer Challenge is Cal and the Greater Antagonism is escaping the sinking ship.

In American Beauty (Academy Award Winner Best Film 1999), Lester Burnham's Inner Challenge is to feel good about himself, his Romantic Challenge is Angela, his Outer Challenge is his marriage with Carolyn and the Greater Antagonism is Col. Frank Fitts, US Marine Core.

In Top Gun (1986, receipts of $176,000,000), Maverick's Romantic Challenge is Charlie, his Inner Challenge is his personal and father's story, his Outer Challenge is getting over Goose's death and the Greater Antagonism is becoming Top Gun.

The Six Core Challenge categories can be viewed as classes:

In Tootsie (Academy Award Nominee Best Film 1982), Michael's Romantic Challenge is Julie, his Inner Challenge is represented by his penultimate line "I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man...I just gotta learn to do it without the dress...", his Outer Challenge is Ron [symbol of male condescension] and the Greater Antagonism is his problem that the network and fans thinks he's really a woman. But within the class of the Inner Challenge is Sandy and within the class of the Romantic Challenge are the attentions of Les and Van Horn.

It is common for major characters other than the Hero [most often the Romantic Challenge, Supernatural Aid, Shape Shifter] to have their own challenges:

In Gladiator (Academy Award Winner Best Film, 2000), Proximo and Lucilla both have their own demons to overcome.

Our 2000 stage Hero's Journey incorporates the SIx Core Challenges; you do not have to figure out how they map onto the journey.

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Telling Two (or more) Stories

At the simplest level, you're telling two stories, which we can call the outer and inner stories. The outer story is a physical representation of the inner story. It is through the outer story that the inner story is told and resolved.

  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana is battling to find the ark but also to get over his losing streak against Belloq.
  • In Skyfall (2012), Bond is trying to find Silva but also get over his antagonism against M.
  • In The Godfather (1972), Michael has to vanquish the threat against his Family but also overcome his resistance to turning out like his father ("I thought you weren't going to become a man like your father. That's what you told me").

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Hero Archetypes

There are various types of Hero: Willing Heroes (Luke in Star Wars, 1977), Unwilling Heroes (Andy in The Shawshank Redemption, 1994), Unknowing Heroes (Raging Bull, 1980), Antiheroes (Goodfellas, 1990) and so on.

Nevertheless, their stories all mirror the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State template. The difference between Hero, Antihero and other variations simply lies in situation over structure. See Advanced Archetypes and Advanced Worksheets.

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Who or What is the Hero?

Common misconceptions abound (for example, that a Hero/ine is some type of alpha person who strides forth confidently, brushes obstacles aside etc... )." 99.99% of you don't know what a Hero/ine is.

These are some of the common responses to this question, with our comments below:

a) The Hero is the person with the most screentime - the person who has the most attention of the camera.

There are many excellent films / stories where screentime is shared (When Harry met Sally (1989), Pulp Fiction (1994), Red River (1948) etc). So this answer is not quite satisfactory.

b) The Hero is the person that changes / transforms the most.

This is inaccurate. In Back to the Future (1985), George McFly is the person who changes most. In Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Rosewood changes the most, not Axel Foley.

c) The Hero is the person who has his or her challenges resolved.

This is also incorrect as other characters also have their challenges resolved. In Back to the Future (1985), Doc and Marty's family all have their challenges resolved.

d) The Hero is the person who holds true to his / her deepest values.

This is incorrect as the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State is about Transformation: it is usual, in fact it is common, for the Hero to change his or her deepest beliefs.

e) The Hero is the person that passes through the stages of the Hero's Journey.

The Hero does not always pass through [all or some of] the stages of the Hero's Journey (Red River (1948), Pulp Fiction (1994) etc). In ensemble movies, various archetypes share the functions.

f) The Hero is that person with whom we empathise with most.

Not necessarily. In Blade Runner (1982), we empathise most with Roy, not Deckard.

g) The Hero is that person who does good, who is most altruistic.

This ignores Antiheroes, Unwilling Heroes and other Hero archetypes.

h) The Hero is s/he who makes a sacrifice.

Again, this is not quite satisfactory. Mentors, Shape Shifters commonly make a sacrifice (Obi Wan, Star Wars (1977) etc...).

i) The Hero swaggers about and sorts things out.

This is probably the most inaccurate answer and ignores archetypes found in movies such as Annie Hall (1977).

The Hero/ine should be thought of as a focal point (see the video above), but there is more to it. To find the correct answer, Buy the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State.

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Screenplays versus Novels

Every successful fiction novel follows the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State - they HAVE to follow story law (see the video above). Successful bestseller examples include:

A Tale of Two Cities
The Lord of the Rings
The Hobbit
And Then There Were None
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
The Da Vinci Code
The Catcher in the Rye
The Alchemist
Lolita
Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning
Anne of Green Gables
Black Beauty
The Name of the Rose
Charlotte's Web
The Ginger Man
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Angels and Demons
War and Peace
The Adventures of Pinocchio
Kane and Abel
The Diary of Anne Frank
To Kill a Mockingbird
Valley of the Dolls
Gone with the Wind
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Thorn Birds
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Sophie's WorldThe Kite Runner
The Bookseller of Kabul -- by Asne Seierstad

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What is a [Hollywood / Blockbuster / Bestselling] Story?

A Hollywood / Blockbuster / Bestselling story is one that follows the pattern of the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State; all our examples are from Hollywood blockbusters and Academy award winners / nominees. In essence, there is an almost rigid structural process followed, which includes:

  • Movement between a number of Worlds.
  • Transformation.
  • Detachment and Attachment
  • Gaining of Capacities
  • One or more archetypes conquer a number of challenges.
  • There are at least Six Core Challenges.
  • There is a distinct process of story closure. That is, multiple catharses close a story.

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Multiple Final Catharses

Stories do not simply end. There is a very distinct process of catharses distribution. Successful stories end with four, five or more catharses and each is separate and distinct from the Six Core Challenges. This process is explained in the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State

  • In Die Hard (1988), there are many catharses, including: John rescuing his wife, defeating Hans and then Karl. Argyle also has his moment.
  • In Star Wars (1977), Vader is diverted, Luke strikes the shot, the Death Star explodes, Ben's voiceover comforts etc.
  • In Knocked Up (2006), Ben becomes assertive, neutralises Debbie, makes up with Alison etc.

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Ordinary World

An aspect of the Ordinary State.

  • In Bridesmaids (2011), Annie unhappy at home and at work.
  • In War of the Worlds (2005), a selfish Ray Ferrier at work and at home.
  • In Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Axel is a cop in Detroit.

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Call To Adventure

Covers a number of functions. Generally, encouragement out of the Ordinary World.

  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1984), Indy is sent to find the Ark.
  • In Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Axel with Mikey in the bar.
  • In Back to the Future (1985), Doc tells Marty to be at Twin Pines Fall.

Refusal

Various types of restraint inhibit forward movement.

  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Marcus warns Indy about the dangers of the Ark.
  • In Get Carter (1971), Carter's boss warns of the northern gangs.
  • In The Incredibles (2004), Elastigirl wants Mr Incredible to knuckle down to his day-job.

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Supernatural Aids (Meeting Mentors)

Guidance and direction.

  • In Million Dollar Baby (2004), Maggie needs Frankie to start winning.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Ben tells Luke to go see Yoda.
  • In Raging Bull (1980), Vickie lures Jake away from his wife.

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Crossing The (First) Threshold

Entering a Major New World and State.

  • In Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Lawrence gains the King's trust.
  • In The Matrix (1999), Neo learns martial arts.
  • In Raging Bull (1980), Jake and Vickie become an item.

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Belly of the Whale

Covers a large range of functions. Generally, the drive deeper into the New World and State.

  • In The King's Speech (2010), the Duke doesn't want to talk about his personal life. But will have to.
  • In The Godfather (1972), Michael doesn't want to have to get involved, but will have to.
  • In Chinatown (1974), Gittes doesn't want to give it up.

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Road of Trials / Tests, Allies, Enemies

Various trials are engaged in at various parts of the cycle in order to acquire various in/tangibles. Allies and enemies perform specific functions.

  • In Goodfellas (1990), Karen meets the wives.
  • In Educating Rita (1983), Rita transforms into a student.
  • In Scarface (1983), Tony establishes himself as a dope dealer.

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Approach To The Inmost Cave

Forms of pull toward the Monster.

  • In Halloween (1974), we enter Myer's house.
  • In Aliens (1986), we're drawn to the nest.
  • In Priest (2011), we're drawn to the nest.

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Ordeal

Covers a large range of functions. Generally, the obstacles to the Goddess/ Reward / Sword.

  • In Scarface (1983), Tony's got to win Sosa over to make a deal, so he can become his own boss.
  • In The King' Speech (2010), the Duke warns Lionel not to commit treason.
  • In Chinatown (1974), obstacles to acquring the records.

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Meeting With The Goddess / Reward / Seizing The Sword

Covers a large range of functions. Generally, encouragement toward tangibles which represent intangibles.

  • In The Godfather (1972), Michael marries Apollonia and becomes a de facto Sicilian.
  • In A Fistful of Dynamite (1971), Juan takes out the bridge and becomes a de facto rebel.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Aragorn's sword and kissing Arwen.

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Woman As Temptress

A misleading metaphor. Covers a large range of functions. Generally, encourgement to physical and psychological containment.

  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), pushed to the mines of Moria.
  • In The King's Speech (2010), a weeping, incapable King.
  • In Aliens (1986), trapped in the compound.

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Atonement With The Father

Confronting guiding and limiting forces.

  • In Dances with Wolves (1990), John reveals all to Kicking Bird.
  • In Out of Africa (1985), Karen wants Denys not to keep disappearing.
  • In Casablanca (1943), Victor talks to Rick about sacrifice.

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Apotheosis

Transcending guiding and limiting forces.

  • In Casablanca (1943), Rick makes a sacrifice.
  • In The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Andy escapes Shawshank.
  • In Scarface (1983), Tony transcends Frank.

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Ultimate Boon

Magical Gifts and Capacities from the New World / State. One manifestation is synergy.

  • In The Dirty Dozen (1967), the men work as a team.
  • In Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Axel, Taggart, Rosewood and Bogomil work as a team.
  • In Alien (1979), Parker and Lambert fall into line under Ripley's command.

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Escape With The Boon

Simplistically, fleeing with valuable in/tangibles.

  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indy flees with the Ark.
  • In Skyfall (2012), Bond flees with M.
  • In Anna Karenina (2012), the Count flees with Anna.

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Refusal of the Return

Limitations in various form.

  • In Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Jamal will never trust Salim again.
  • In The Godfather (1972), the Don has made a promise.
  • In Y Tu Mama Tambien (2000), the boys sleep together.

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Magic Flight, Road Back

Covers a large range of functions. Generally, supernatural movement to / making of a New Dawn.

  • In The Godfather (1972), Michael tries to set up in Vegas.
  • In Knocked Up (2007), the boys go to Vegas.
  • In Ali (2007), Ali runs through the village and sees the images of himself.

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Rescue from Without, Resurrection

Generally, overcoming limitations and pull back into the Monster's Cave.

  • In A Wonderful Life (1946), Clarence shows George Bailey a world without him.
  • In Spiderman (2000), the Green Goblin kidnaps Mary Jane.
  • In Thelma and Louise (1991), Hal and the FBI catch up with the girls.

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Crossing The Return Threshold

Confronting limitations to liberty is one manifestation.

  • In Annie Hall (1977), Alvie confronts Annie.
  • In Gladiator (2000), Commodus and Maximus battle.
  • In When Harry met Sally (2007), Harry runs to tell Sally he loves her.

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Master of the Two Worlds

Integrating the Older and Newer Worlds and Selves.

  • In The Godfather (1972), Michael integrates Kay into his Sicilian thing.
  • In Educating Rita (1983), Rita recognises Bryant's contribution to who she now is.
  • In The Hangover (2009), the boys become masters of Vegas and their LA world.

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Returning Home

The hero's journey / monomyth is implicitly a cast out of and then eventual return to home. Home is a metaphor for the Loss of the State of Perfection.

  • In Argo (2012), Tony Mendez is separated from his wife and hardly sees his son (he is not allowed back home). In the final scene, he returns home (specifically, the journey has resulted in him being allowed back home).
  • In Skyfall (2012), James Bond (a classic hero archetype) is cast out of home and then returns to it.
  • In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dorothy doesn't appreciate home but then eventually does.
  • In War Horse (2011), Joey is separated from his mother - Parent Separation is a classic symbol of loss of home and loss of the State of Perfection.

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Readiness

Readiness is one of the fundamental arcs. Upon entry into the new world and state, archetypes are not ready. Upon exit from the new world and state, they are. The process of journey through the new world and state is implicitly a process of becoming ready.

  • In The Dirty Dozen (1967), when Reisman and the men enter the woods, they are not ready. When they exit the woods, they are.
  • In Anna Karenina (2012), when Anna and Count Vronski first meet / arrive, Anna is not at all ready to leave Alexei (liberate). At the exit from the new world / state phase, she is.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bruce Wayne is not ready to tackle Bane. When he returns from the imprisonment, he is.

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Wholeness

The hero's journey / monomyth is implicitly a loss of wholeness and then a return back to it.

  • In The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bruce Wayne does not start off whole, as his physical injury indicates. As he progresses through the journey, so his physical injuries dissolve away and he becomes whole.
  • In Skyfall (2012), James Bond does not start off whole, as his physical injury indicates. As he progresses through the journey, so his physical injuries dissolve away and he becomes whole.
  • In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dorothy doesn't start off psychologically whole - she doesn't appreciate or value home. The journey repairs this psychological flaw.

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Repair

The hero's journey / monomyth is implicitly about repairing that which has been broken. Commonly, some repair metaphor is evident.

  • In Bridesmaids (2011), Rhodes keeps telling Annie to fix her tail-lights.
  • In The King's Speech (2010), the Duke repairs the toy airplane as he tells Lionel about his childhood nurse and the birth of his stammer.
  • In Educating Rita (1983), the door handle is broken.

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Awakening

The hero's journey is implicitly a process of awakening.

  • In Pulp Fiction (1994), Jules awakens. He "cannot go back to sleep again."
  • In Groundhog Day (1993), the bedside clock stage-gates Phil's awakening.
  • In Back To the Future (1985), clocks signify that it is time to awaken.

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Who You Are

The hero's journey is implicitly a process of self-discovery; to discover that which is inside; finding out who you really are (which may not necessarily be pleasant).

  • In Memento (2000), Leonard finds out who he really is.
  • In Bourne Identity (2002), Jason is trying to find out who he is.
  • In Superman (1978), Clark Kent finds out who he really is.

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Goodbyes

Usually seamlessly inserted into dialogue at various points, goodbye, like death, is a form of stage-gating progress. As you move forward, so you say goodbye to the older self and state. It is a form of benchmarking. This is not to be confused with other functions, such as departure or loss of transcendental aids etc.

  • In Dances With Wolves (1990), John Dunbar waves goodbye to the Sioux.
  • In Silent Running (1972), Freeman says goodbye to the droid.
  • In The Sound of Music (1965), the children sing, "So Long, Farewell."

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Flaws

Flaws, most commonly understood through character flaw concepts, are external symbols of the lack of readiness, wholeness, repair, accessibility to home and similar concepts. They are external symbols of the state of the arcs.

  • In The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bruce Wayne's early physical injury indicates the bottom end of the arc.
  • In Skyfall (2012), James Bond 's early physical injury indicates the bottom end of the arc.
  • In The King's Speech (2010), the Duke's stammer indicates the bottom end of the arc.

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by Kal Bashir