The hero with a thousand faces…
Writing epic stories like STAR WARS does not come easy, unless of course you know of The Hero’s Journey. In 1949 a writer by the name of Joseph Campbell published a book called The Hero with A Thousand Faces which explores the theory that significant myths surviving for thousands of years around the world share a fundamental common structure. This theory is what Campbell labelled the monomyth. Since the publication of this book, an enormous number of modern writers have consciously applied the theory into their works with the most noteworthy of them all being George Lucas who acknowledges his debt to Campbell in regards to the stories of STAR WARS.
But what is the Hero’s Journey? It is a basic pattern in the structure of stories created across the world. According to Campbell there are twelve main parts to a story’s structure, beginning and ending with a setting from the ordinary world. These parts can sometimes be moved around in a different order however, a beginner writer must first understand the chronological sequence of the hero’s journey.
Thus the boundaries of the ordinary world and the special world are crossed in a form of a circular loop. The hero begins and ends in the same setting whilst the bulk of the excitement and adventure occurs within the special world. The Hero’s Journey is definitely a structure which can be found in most stories and even films of today. Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces can then be classified as a form of blueprint which can help many writers in proficiently creating an effective story.
Campbell J. (2008), The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell). Third Edition. New World Library.
Vogler C. (2007). The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Third Edition. Michael Wiese Productions.