Posted in For the Promptless, On Writing, Post a Day/Week

Monomyth: The Plot Line of Life


For this week’s Prompt for the Promptless I wasn’t sure what to write. At first I was thinking about writing a fairy tale or myth. I even wrote up a nice little fairy tale that went so far off the mark that I don’t feel comfortable posting it for this prompt.

Monomyth: Also known as the Hero’s Journey is a concept coined by Joseph Campbell. The monomyth argues that every story follows the same basic plot line.

English: This image outlines the basic path of...
“Hero’s Journey”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not going to argue the concept of the Monomyth because I do believe that the majority of plots follow the same idea.

  • Something happens
  • A hero, who is usually reluctant, accepts the challenge of fixing the problem
  • Along the way, more things happen
  • The hero, who may have help, deals with the conflicts
  • The hero comes across the biggest challenge and has some trouble overcoming it
  • The hero eventually triumphs over the challenge and is usually awarded something (treasure, king’s daughter in marriage, the sacred sword of Swinter)
  • The hero returns home (and often faces challenges along the way)

Does this plot line seem familiar? It should because most stories will fit into this plot line. In fact, life seems to fit well into the monomyth plot line as well.

Life is all about conflict and challenges. It is about overcoming these obstacles just like the hero in the monomyth. And, as most writers take inspiration from life, a lot of stories have the monomyth plot line.

Would it surprise you to know that The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien follow this base plot line? What about Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling? Criminal Minds and Castle follow this base plot as well.

Can you think of any stories that follow the monomyth? How can you make the Monomyth better? Does your life follow the monomyth?


Before you go check out the other blogs that responded to the call of the Promptless:

Journey Called Life – Just a Regular Savior

One Starving Activist – Conversion

Mama Bear Musings – Monomyth

This Typing Makes Me Look Busy – The Adventures of Wrendolyn

Serendipity – The Cardinal and the Cat

Blog of the Imaginator – Delusions of Grandeur

Posted in On Writing, Post a Day/Week

Plot Lines

I love plot lines. I even have a notebook where I collect my favourite plot lines. I only have 70 plot lines mapped out but I am always making more.

The funny thing is that I don’t always use the plot lines that I’ve collected. Occasionally I will use the more well-known fairy tale plot lines or I may do a rewrite of a myth. However, the point of me collecting the plot lines is not specifically to use them.

The reason why I love plot lines is because I love how you can take one plot line and have 100 stories attached to it. Every writer would write a slightly different version of a plot if it was given to them. Well known examples of this phenomenon are found in every fairy tale remake.

For me, plot lines become more than just an idea of what to write, they become a challenge of how to make my stories stand out.

How many things can you include in your remake that aren’t in other versions? What can you change without changing the plot line? Maybe you think that Snow White should have been adopted or perhaps you think that Hercules got his super human strength from steroids.

Or maybe you tweak the plot to bring it more in line with the present. Sleeping Beauty wouldn’t have pricked her finger on a spinning wheel but she could have narcolepsy or a drug problem. Maybe Red Riding Hood takes the subway to Grandma’s house.

By already knowing how the plot will progress, you can worry more about the details and less about where the story is going.

Are there any plot lines you love to use? Or do you prefer to start your stories completely from scratch?