Understanding this template is a priority for story or screenwriters. This is the template you must master if you are to succeed in the craft.
[The terminology is most often metaphoric and applies to all successful stories and screenplays, from The Godfather (1972) to Brokeback Mountain (2006) to Annie Hall (1977) to Lord of the Rings (2003) to Drugstore Cowboy (1989) to Thelma and Louise (1991) to Apocaplyse Now (1979)].
THERE IS ONLY ONE STORY
THE HERO'S JOURNEY:
a) Attempts to tap into unconscious expectations the audience has regarding what a story is and how it should be told.
b) Gives the writer more structural elements than simply three or four acts, plot points, mid point and so on.
c) Gives you a tangible process for building and releasing dissonance (establishing and achieving catharses, of which there are usually four).
d) Gives you a universal structural template upon which you can superimpose your situational story. This is why stories such as Alien (1979), Gladiator (2000), Midnight Cowboy (1969), American Beauty (1999), The Graduate (1967) and many others (all deconstructed at the URL below) appear to be different but are all constructed, almost sequence by sequence, in the same way.
HERO'S JOURNEY TIP OF THE DAY: EVERY GOOD HERO EXPERIENCES A PERIOD OF DESOLATION
Post the Call to Adventure comes the Refusal, the Interdictions and the Hawk and Dove debates etc. Resistance still exists post the meeting with the Supernatural Aid and his or her guidance. This period of uncertainty and inertia is known as a Period of Desolation and is an intrinsic and explicit part of successful stories and screenplays.
The Period of Desolation is actually an extension of the Hero's original State of Frustration. It is the Hero's destiny (Dharma) to embark on the Journey, to Transform, to be the Carrier of the Changing. By resisting this destiny, the Hero finds himself (or herself) desolate. This applies whether the Hero is willing or unwilling.
In The Incredibles (2004), Mr Incredible finds himself desolate and frustrated - he is unable to continue in his natural role of SuperHero.
In Star Wars (1977), Luke finds himself looking out at the two suns, yearning for change and to fulfil his destiny.
In Alien (1979), Ripley is de facto desolate when Dallas gives Ash authority over her.
Go to http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....