Proponents of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth argue that this basic pattern underpins most narratives and that when writers deepen their understanding of this structure, they are often better able to craft their own stories. Grasping monomyth empowers writers to tinker around with it as well, questioning the traditional order of events and even experimenting with new and unexpected forms.
Interested in establishing a foundational understanding of the hero’s journey with very young writers? The tools below were designed to support this work.
I love to explore contemporary movies as mentor texts for monomyth. Kids light up when they begin to realize that the characters they adore experienced their own journeys. The example I share in the tool below is based on Pixar’s Despicable Me. I think it’s important to examine multiple mentor texts, though. This helps writers develop varied perspectives, points of view, and ideas. When I use single models, they tend to copy the model.
When we use the organizers below, writers typically brainstorm by doodling or jotting ideas on sticky notes and placing them over the dimensions provided on each page. Often, we brainstorm on white boards, in our notebooks, on tables, and on paper scrolls though. The writers I work with typically use diverse tools, and they prefer to move. Enabling this is important.
I also thought I’d share this video. It makes for a wonderful unit launch!