2000+ Hero's Journey Stages Not Unreasonable
How Is The 2000+ Stage Different From The 510+ Stage Hero's Journey?
There Are Alot Of Stages. Does Every Story Require You To Implement Every Stage?
Are Materials PDF Files?
Does The 2000+ Include Examples From Modern Film?
After Buying The 2000+ Stage, Do I Have Access To All The Knowledge And Materials On Your Website?
After Purchase, The Download Location / Details Didn't Automatically Appear On My Screen!
Questions Before Purchase
Why So Many Stages?
Precise Story Arc
Does This Pattern Apply To EVERY Story?
Why Can't I Just Write Whatever I Like?
Ask A Question, Speaking, Teaching Engagements etc
Can I Teach Your Material In Classrooms?
Are You Telling Us What To Write?
Is There A Difference Between A Hero And A Heroine?
Does The Pattern Apply To [Insert Genre Or Type Here]?
I Don't Like The Idea Of A Hero or Heroine
Is There Always A Journey?
Some Stories Take Place In A Few Rooms (e.g. Sitcoms)
Is There Always Transformation?
Do All Stories Arc?
Is There Always A New World / State?
Is It Really A Process? Why Do You View Story As A Process?
Shouldn't I "Write, Just Write."
Is There Really Only One Story?
I've Heard That There Are Seven Basic Stories or Ten Movie Plots Etc...
Does The Pattern Apply To Ensemble Movies?
Not All Stories Can Be Hero's Journey As Not All Stories Are Myths / Writing Non-Myth Related Stories
It Seems A Too Structured Approach - Not Very Creative
I Don't Like Using Roadmaps or Outlines / Should I Outline?
How Often Do You Update The Deconstructions On Your Website And Youtube Channel?
Do Movies Always End With A State Of Perfection?
Not All Stories Start With A State of Perfection!
You Cannot Loop Stories - It Just Doesn't Work
Can I Change The Pattern? Does The Pattern Evolve?
How Can I Be Original If I Have To Conform To A Structure?
You Say Shakespeare And Dickens Used This Pattern, Hundreds Of Years Ago?
This Pattern Applies To Fantasy Type Stories, Like Star Wars, Right?
This Pattern Applies To Quest Type Stories, Right?
What's My Biggest Obstacle To Understanding Story Structure And Writing A Successful Screenplay Or Novel?
Just Because Many Stories Fit This Pattern Doesn't Mean Every Story Does
I'm Shocked To See That Concept X Isn't Mentioned Here!
Why This Pattern?
What Do You Mean By Story Law? Why Do I Have To Jump Through Hoops?
How Does This Apply To A Series Or TV Episodes?
How Does This Apply To Sitcoms?
Is This A Formula?
Must My Story Include An Antagonist?
I Disagree That This Framework Applies to EVERY Story!
You Speak Too Fast In Your Videos / I Don't Understand Terms And References
I Don't Like The Cookie Cutter Approach
Does This Apply To Short Stories?
Can I Write Screenplays Through Stream Of Consciousness?
Same Structure = Same, Boring Stories
3/4/5/8/9/22 etc ACTS / Sequences / Beats etc
I Heard You Only Need Two Acts, Not Three
Why Must Every Story Be A Hero's Journey?
Inciting Incident vs Call To Adventure?
What Is Hero's Journey?
Start With A Theme?
What About Subplots?
2000+ hero's journey stages are perfectly reasonable once put into context. For easy context, think in terms of 100 major stages, each with an average of 20 sub-stages, which give you a range of implementation options. This may require a little more homework but you acquire robust knowledge. Please watch the video:
The 2000+ is a much more detailed pull through the process. There is much more definition and a greater range of sub-stages, which allow you to better navigate through the cycle. The 510+ stage version has now been retired (as has the 188+ and previous versions).
The following response applies to screenplays, blockbuster / academy award winning movies and bestselling fiction novels (not short stories, obscure story forms etc - where the principles apply but require more explanation):
Many of the major stages are set in stone. Many are options. For example, you will always Seize the Sword. However, you can choose to demonstrate the journey into that World or jump straight into it.
The sub-stages are various methods for performing your functions and delivering your messages. In sum, they tell you why that phase is important, how to construct sequences in that phase, what ingredients they contain, what world you're entering into and what in/tangibles need to be acquired there etc.
For example, the range of stages within the Ordinary World all give you options for executing it - you can choose to express it though Repression, Protection or a mix of these and the other alternatives. In other words, you will create sequences that express Repression, Protection or a mix of these and the other options:
In Meek's Cutoff (2010), Meek suggests staying between the mountains for protection. But this is also repressive under his dubious guidance.
In Superman (1978), Pa Kent advises Clark not to show off. He's doing it for his benefit (people will know you're not from around here) but this is simultaneously a repressive act - it doesn't allow Clarke to blossom.
In Hall Pass (2011), the boys talk about sex with other women all the time when they're away from their wives. Being husbands is simultaneously protection, comfort and repression.
In Schindler's List (1993), the Jews don't want to leave their homes, which are protection from the Germans outside and a much better option than the ghetto and camps.
Yes. All materials are pdf files.
Absolutely. Nearly every point is reinforced with an example from modern film..
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First, lets not confuse this answer with concepts such as theme, which are best understood through the lens of the Six Core Challenges.
There are lots of stages because stories communicate many messages. For example:
In the Ordinary World, there is Repression, Protection, Fear of Exit etc.
In the Call To Adventure, there is the Messenger, the Drive, the Urgency etc.
Just the journey to the First Threshold involves Foreboding Symbolism, No Turning Back, Bigger Wider World etc.
When you consider that, in blockbuster movies and bestselling novels, each of the above occurs in its own world, involves multiple archetypes etc and that there are many domains that need to be traversed, the sum of messages communicated is large. When you take into account a range of story (say, all the Academy Award Winner Best Films), then the sum increases quite quickly. In other words, what we're showing you is how it's done in ALL film; we're trying to show you the complete spectrum. By understanding the spectrum at each stage, you can wisely choose how to implement (construct sequences).
You need to understand what needs to be communicated before you can begin communicating (screenwriting, storytelling, filmmaking). Otherwise you really are like the monkey trying to write Shakespeare (Infinite Monkey Theorem).
One way of looking at the concept of rigid structure is from the point of view of the story arc. In Hollywood screenwriting and bestselling fiction novels, the story arc is implemented in a very precise manner. You move from the initial state to the target state by progressing very precisely through a series of physical locations where a set of specific functions are performed. In other words, the execution of transformation and evolution is not random or organic - it is rolled out in a certain way. If this is your field, you must understand this process .
Yes. For various reasons rooted in physical and psychological laws, it must apply to every story. This is what a story IS (see Story Law). It certainly applies to every successful Hollywood movie and bestselling fiction novel. For most experienced writers and storytellers, it's just common sense. It is not unreasonable to say that you will fail until you come around to this way of thinking.
If you must try to prove it wrong, then please don't produce some obscure fifteenth century poem. Stick to successful films and take our Open Challenge.
You can write whatever you like from a situational point-of-view. You create your original thought, points of view, worlds, characters and everything else.
What we're trying to show you is that successful stories are structured a certain way. They perform functions in a certain order. Which helps you build your story and attract an audience.
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No. We're guiding you through the structure that defines all successful stories. We're guiding you through a range of functions and an order of execution that defines all successful stories.
The content is totally up to you. For example, when we say that you have to enter a New World or a New State - the nature of that world or state is your choice.
For example: Does The Pattern Apply To Tragedy?
Genres and type are situational considerations layered above the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World.
Tragedy, comedy, romance etc are situational considerations ("in my story, people die and lose everything"). See Tragedy, Final States Of Imperfection on the main webpage and/or Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Common misconceptions abound (for example, that a Hero/ine is some type of altruistic alpha person who strides forth confidently, brushes obstacles aside etc... ).
The words are loaded - forget the loading, just look at a Hero/ine as a focal point. There are other aspects to consider - see the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World.
Journey does not necessarily mean "travel through geography."
Journey is the movement / string of actions or events which lead from the beginning to the end. These may be separated by varied geographical locations, physical movement through sets in a single house or room, the actions that are performed around a table or through the dialogue in conversations. If you look through the right lens, journey is detectable in the shortest stories.
The most successful stories demonstrate clear journey - clear physical movement, which mirrors clear psychological movement.
Physical journey is physical movement between worlds / domains / locations. It's perfectly feasible for this to happen within one room (and often does, even in film).
Think of it as a range of functions, which are being performed within a location (say, a room) and between locations (say, two rooms).
In a sitcom, for example, archetype A may be sitting in a restaurant waiting for a date, archetype B and C arrive and sit at another table and then invite A over while he's waiting. Different functions are performed at each location. Further, clever use of Border Symbolism allows you to implement multiple functions within the same location. In summary, the process still applies.
Journey is the physical separator - if you focus on the function, you'll see it.
If nothing changed, you wouldn't have a story.
Transformation IS story. That's what you're doing. You are trying to get your archetypes into a position where they are able to resolve their problems. You're moving them from an Ordinary Self to a New Self and beyond.
In the beginning, archetypes are not ready to resolve problems - they have to go forward and learn, grow, mature, gain capacities etc until they are able to confront and overcome them. You have to move them from a position of Unreadiness to Readyness. For example, in The Godfather (1972), Michael is not initially ready to confront his enemies and the other mafia Families. After the process, he is. All Academy Award winning stories involve transformation.
Transformation is viewed through various lenses. Here is a VERY BASIC visual of some of the process:
Learn more about the return and the third act here.
If you can't detect transformation in a film or story then you just don't know how to spot it. You need to learn to see or to look through another lens. You cannot write a successful story without understanding transformation.
Yes. All stories involve transformation and arc represents this change.
Successful stories may contain multiple arcs. For example, the limitation arc, the romantic challenge arc, the synergy arc, the capacities arc, the world arc and so on.
There is a major New World / State and then sub Worlds / States.
The physical New World is a manifestation of the psychological New State.
You canot write a successful story without a New World / State. It's as fundamental as transformation and journey - all are intertwined. You journey into the New World in order to become the New Self.
The visual below shows the link between these concepts:
First, lets separate out the writing process and the story structure process.
You already engage in creativity management techniques which help your writing process. For example, you may write a certain number of pages a day, you may roadmap your story beforehand or you may use some form of brainstorming technique when you have a problem (at its simplest, posting the problem on a social network).
With regard to story structure, think of it as an evolutionary process - where you start at a beginning state and end at a target state. You get to the target state by performing specific functions in specific order.
While this is useful on some level (as an idea generating tool, unblocking aid etc) there's a lot of mumbo jumbo suspect ideology wrapped up in it. You'll be more effective and successful if you get your head around story structure and then apply "write, just write." Also see Should I Outline.
Absolutely. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it's true. Anyone who truly knows story will tell you that there is exactly one theme. Moreover, anyone who truly knows story will tell you that there is only one process.
These are not root process. They are situational considerations and are usually better classified as drivers.
For example, classifications include rags to riches, tragedy or man vs. machines etc.
Using man vs. machine as an example:
The root structure is the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World which guides you from a classic beginning (State of Perfection) through the State of Imperfection and back to the classic ending (State of Perfection). You have to go through new worlds, detach, gain capacities, transform etc. Think of this as an underlying process or a set of hoops you have to jump through in all cases (see story law).
The man vs. machine is the driver and situation - the State of Imperfection is caused by machines taking over the world etc thus resulting in, for example, the Matrix (1999). The State of Perfection is returned to by containing those machines. In order to do so, the Hero/ine must go through the process of going through new worlds, detach, gain capacities etc.
Using rags to riches as an example:
Rags to riches is the driver and situation - the State of Imperfection is caused by low status and poverty and the State of Perfection is returned to by acquiring treasures and status. In order to do so, the Hero/ine must go through the process of going through new worlds, detach, gain capacities etc.
If you are thinking clearly, you will see that multiple classifications often apply (again, indicating that these are not root). For example, the Matrix (1999) is also a rags to riches story (Neo evolves from lowly employee to a leader of the resistance and superman).
The Matrix (1999) is a 2000+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World at its root with a specific situation superimposed upon it. The 2000+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World is the root of all successful stories and the various plots are specific situations, drivers and pathways superimposed upon it.
See denominators / principles / lenses or advanced plots.
Yes. In this case, the functions are distributed amongst the various archetypes. Please watch the video:
The hero's journey / myth relationship is only a small part of the greater picture. Think of hero's journey as a series of functions which apply to all story. Whatever type of story you write, you'll be applying these functions in a certain order. You need to get your head around the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey / Transformation / New World structure to understand this.
This is similar to the I Don't Like Roadmaps Or Outlines question.
Structure doesn't inhibit creativity - it foster, triggers, enables and enhances it. Structure in no way whatsoever inhibits originality - there is no link between the two.
Please watch the video:
This is similar to the Too Structured, Not Very Creative question. Also see Advanced Worksheets and Custom Services.
Successful storytelling involves a lot of precision and "arranging the puzzle pieces." Watch the youtube videos and see how they all follow the same outline.
A structural roadmap will help you ask the right questions in the right order (and therefore generate the right sorts of ideas in a useful order).
However, many people prefer to generate ideas from a blank slate and then use the structural roadmap to extrapolate / shape those ideas into an effective story.
Roadmaps and outlines are obvious once you appreciate just how much influence structure has on your story.
The deconstructions on the website and youtube channel are quite basic. If you want an advanced, usable deconstruction that doesn't contain inaccuracies and benefits from the latest insights then place an order at http://www.clickok.co.uk/CustomServices.html#deconstructions. It will be a very direct guide / roadmap to the kind of story you're writing. It's well worth it.
For a number of reasons, "State of Perfection" is the correct term. When the classic story cycle is absolutely completed, the State of Perfection is always returned to.
With regard to movies, if not a "State of Perfection" then look on it as equilibrium, catharsis, liberation, resolution, Id Containment or similar.
A better answer is this: whether the Superego (Hero) suppresses the Id (Antagonism) or vice versa, that which is sought is always gained. In Million Dollar Baby (Academy Award Winner Best Film 2004), though Maggie becomes disables and wants to be euthanised, "she got what she needed."
Whether we get to an absolute State of Perfection or not is irrelevant - the process around the cycle is always the same.
You also don't want to confuse story functions with a lack of a State of Perfection. For example, in lots of stories with a State of Perfection ending, there is death (which has story function).
The linear beginning is always a State of Perfection. But your story may start further along, once a State of Imperfection has been established (in other words, you may start with the problem instead of showing the problem come into being). The linear beginning / State of Perfection may or may not be referenced. For example, Kramer vs Kramer (Academy Award Winner Best Film 1979) starts with an unhappy Joanne, but she was happy during the first two years of the marriage (referenced in the court sequence).
When all is perfect there is no story. The story doesn't start until the problems begin. Then you're going through the process of trying to resolve them / revert to a situation where they no longer exist.
All stories loop from perfection and then back to it (though it may not seem so if you section it in a particular way or do not make certain aspects explicit).
From one point of view the statement is correct. You don't loop back to the same beginning/State of Perfection, you loop back to a new beginning /State of Perfection.
Modification revolves around trying to see whether the story works if you contract here, expand there, jump a step etc. Some stages are set in stone and others are more malleable (you have to know which is which).
Wholesale modification will result in you writing a poorer story / script. You really need to know what you're doing (have had some successes) before you attempt this.
Commonly, wholesale modification is the result of newbie writers trying to be "innovative." This is the WORST reason. You have to learn the rules before you can decide which ones to break. There's a fine line between innovation and stupidity. Experienced writers thank their lucky stars that they have this structure to work around.
As we keep saying, structure is in no way related to originality. Originality derives from your unique situation, characters, dialogue etc.
To be a successful rebel, you need to think of original situations, characters and dialogue which you superimpose over the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State.
Every successful writer MUST follow certain rules that are to do with what story IS and story law.
Even if writers have never heard of the pattern/rules, their subconscious trial and error with the craft will eventually result in them performing the functions in the correct order (it just takes much longer and more mistakes are made).
Shakespeare and Dickens definitely knew what they were doing and were aware of the pattern through other labels.
Try and understand why we think this way: 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State
If you view our youtube channel, you'll see that it applies to all story types. If you place an order on our advanced worksheets or custom services page, we'll show you how it applies directly to whatever you wish to write.
All stories are quests. You're always searching for something. If you place an order on our advanced worksheets or custom services page, we'll show you how it applies directly to whatever you wish to write.
What's My Biggest Obstacle To Understanding Story Structure And Writing A Successful Screenplay Or Novel?
With respect, most of the questions we get asked stem from a deep misunderstanding of story. Your own story prejudices and incorrect preconceived ideas which you won't let go of are the biggest obstacles.
Successful writers have a particular mindset - which you are probably working hard to reject. You need a new mindset, which the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State teaches you.
You're missing the point we repeatedly keep trying to make. Every successful story follows this pattern because the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State is an expression of what story IS; how story is structured; it is an expression of story law.
Every story performs a range of functions in a specific order. It MUST do. The 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State is an expression of that.
If a framework is flawed we won't mention it. Else, it may be referenced in other ways.
The 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State is an expression of story law - there is a process you must go through if you are to write a successful story.
Every story performs a range of functions in a specific order. It MUST do. The 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State is an expression of that.
To tell a story effectively and successfully, there are certain functions you must perform. The 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State is an expression of these laws.
The MOST SUCCESSFUL MOVIES AND BESTSELLING NOVELS DEFINITELY, WITHOUT DOUBT, INDISPUTABLY FOLLOW THIS FRAMEWORK - 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 understand this pattern.
Please watch the video:
With the Harry Potter series, for example, each story has an antagonism, the process is undergone and that antagonism is finally repressed or destroyed. In the final episode, the most potent antagonism is confronted, repressed or destroyed. Each story follows the same process - you're just passing through the loop many times (which is the nature of all story: repression, liberty and back to repression or liberty, repression and back to liberty).
With the Frasier series, for example, each story follows the process. Here, functions are performed within a limited set of locations. The Ordinary State or Problem State or Journey Driver may be expressed in the cafe, New World functions performed in the apartment and kitchen, change demonstrated back at the cafe etc.
It's a pattern which you need to be familiar with and the framework that all successful writers use to extrapolate an idea (even if they don't know they're doing it, which is easily explained by demonstrating the psychological process they're following).
It's the structure upon which you lay your situation. You still have to create your worlds and characters and motivations.
These archetypes perform specific functions (to provoke, to reflect limitations, to obstruct, to resist etc). If you think about it, they are the most potent supernatural aids and givers of the most fabulous magical gifts. They cause the hero to pull out that which is within, to change, to rise to the mature self. They are the ultimate provocateurs.
It's not that the story must include a monster, but that the monster is a useful tool.
There will always be a physical or psychological reflection of the antagonism, be it a monster like Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977), the boulder in 127 Hours (2010) or depression, such as that suffered by Miles in Sideways (2004).
Commonly, various versions of the antagonism are encountered, each having potency implications.
Fine (take our Open Challenge). But if you know anything about story at all, you will know that it applies to the vast majority of successful Hollywood movies and bestselling fiction novels. Simply from that point of view, you need to get your head around it.
The videos are there to show you that the movie follows the framework. They become easier to understand and follow once you get your head around the terms and concepts, which means getting your head around the 2000+ stage Hero's Journey And Transformation Through A New World / State. If you're going to spend any time writing screenplays, novels or making movies, this is something you will HAVE to do.
Short stories follow the framework too. If you look carefully, you will always see transformation, new states and movement. The stages that are included or excluded depend on how you shake the jar.
Stream of consciousness is good for generating ideas. But not ordering them. You need to understand how successful screenplays are ordered. You need to understand the process of moving through a New World or State, what happens, why you're going there etc.
All these potentially work. They're just methods of sectioning the cycle.
Each act has particular function; if you miss the third act then you do not complete all functions and therefore you do not complete the story. Beginning, middle and end is not an arbitrary expression.
There are solid reasons behind a third act, which include:
The first act involves pulling away from the Ordinary Self, the second act involves becoming the New Self and the third act involves pulling away from the New Self and merging the Ordinary with the New to become a Mature Self.
When you enter Act II, you are not ready, when you exit Act II you are ready. One function of Act III is to return and demonstrate capabilities gained / change by suppressing that which could not previously be suppressed.
Within Act II, limitations to your return exist. Exiting Act II, limitations to the return are overcome.
You transcend out of Act II physically (a hard break) or psychologically (a soft break).
A physical break will, commonly, involve exit from one world and entry into another world (these do not have to be completely new worlds, they may have been visited before - which may make the break appear seamless).
A psychological break will, commonly, involve exit from one-way-of-thinking / limitation or similar. This can also add to the illusion of seamlessness, if the break is not clear.
There are many more reasons why a third act must exist. You would be wise to learn about them.
This is not impractical, abstract theory, it tells you HOW TO WRITE YOUR STORY/SCREENPLAY. Consider The Godfather (1972). In Act I Michael is drawn away from his Ordinary Self. By the time he returns from Sicily he is a New Self, a young shadow of his father (limitations to his return have been removed due to the oath his father has taken). In Act III, Michael replaces his father. It is your duty, as a writer, to comprehensively understand what a third act is all about and what functions need to be performed within it.
The hero's journey is simply a set of labels which describe a set of functions. It's not that the story is a hero's journey, but that those underlying functions must be performed in a certain order. Some functions must exist (physical, story laws). Others add to story potency.
Also, use deductive reasoning. On a simple level:
If there is movement out of an Ordinary State, there must be a New State.
If there is a New State, then there must be a First Threshold.
Go here and watch the video below:
Most people's concept of Hero's Journey is completely inaccurate. When they hear those words, they think of some altruistic "hero" such as SUPERMAN who goes on a journey, such as VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER and finally ends up making the world a safer place.
Think of Hero's Journey as a large set of functions that are performed as you tell your story. The functions communicate specific messages.
Do that and you take out the "altruistic hero" dimension and see that it applies to all archetypes, be they good or bad, hero or not.
Do that and you take out the male vs female dimension. You see that it is gender independent.
Do that and you see that the functions can be assigned to various archetypes / characters, hence it applies to ensembles.
Do that and you begin to see how it applies to all story types - you are just implementing some or all of a range of functions. Annie Hall (1977) is just as much a hero's journey as Superman (1978). The Hangover (2009) is just as much a hero's journey as Crash (2005).
Do that and you begin to see that it is genre independent. The functions are applied whether you are writing a romcom or a western.
An even better definition is this:
Think of it as a large set of functions, which are performed as your archetypes journey through new worlds and transform themselves and those worlds. It's a problem resolution process.
No matter how you define theme, you will always have to roll it out into a story, which takes you right back to story structure. Comprehension of story structure will allow you start with a theme or develop it as you fill in some of the other boxes.
Theme is better understood in the context of the Six Core Challenges.
You insert the appropriate archetype and transform the character / relationship as you journey.
For example, one potential betrayal scenario:
For example, one potential romance scenario. Often, the labels around the cycle indicate the stage of evolution. For example, the Mystical Marriage can indicate the stage of the hero's / romantic challenge's union (though this is not its prime function).
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