I opened the parcel and there it was, after all the long effort it had taken to get here, I couldn’t believe I was actually holding my book in my hands.
It was only a brief moment of celebration because I’d already started a second book and wanted to complete that; it was the book I really wanted to write.
It had been a long road though because setting out to write my first book, every time I researched something I wanted to write about, I was led to something else that led to this other thing that led to this other thing and on and on it went. After many months of doing it this way I had so much information piled up I thought, ‘you know I’m going to have to write another book first as an introduction to this subject before I can start to write the book I want to write.’
So that’s how Big Brother Big Banker came to be, it was written as a forerunner to Scientific Slavery. I won’t lie to you that these two books took nearly five years to write and get published. And I can tell you that at times it felt like they were going to take forever to write, their seemed ‘no end in sight’ to finishing them.
It wasn’t easy.
Sometime after completing them I looked at both of them and was thinking about how the format of the books had turned out, the information was chronological, both books referenced sequences of events over a long period of time. What’s interesting to me about that is I never planned for it to be this way, I didn’t really have a structure in place and just kept writing until they were finished.
I was writing a third book at the time as a follow-up, but I was beginning to think there must be a better way to write books because these two had taken so long and were quite difficult to write to say the least. I seemed to be writing and then just stop when I thought the book was done.
I was thinking about all the music I’d created over the years and how I understand the structure of music and when I start to put a song together, I know where to put all the pieces of music in the right places. So I’m quite familiar with music structure and also with creating and structuring information products, but for some reason I hadn’t made the connection to applying some sort of structure to writing a book.
But I thought there’s got to be a better way to write a book because I was making it way too difficult for myself, which is when I started to look for and consume absolutely everything there was out there related to story writing, story structure, book writing and all the rest of it.
I must have bought and consumed hundreds of DVD’s and books over the years, but in the beginning I felt I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. I knew there was a structure out there to writing good books and stories, but I just hadn’t found it yet.
Now, at the time I had a book by Joseph Campbell that I’d had for quite a while called The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell studied mythology and found that all myths, legends and stories throughout time and place have a similar story format.
Campbell originally defined the classic sequence of events or a story structure as the ‘Monomyth,’ the idea that all stories are based on one story. As we’ll see every successful story you’ve ever seen, heard or read are all one and the same story with different situations superimposed over the same story structure. The ‘Monomyth’ has come to be known as the Hero’s Journey,
The basic story architecture of the Hero’s Journey is all about a hero going on an adventure who comes up against all kinds of obstacles and events, eventually battling with a dragon and then comes home a changed man who is TRANSFORMED by the experience. The many forms of media in the entertainment culture we know today are all influenced by the Hero’s Journey structure.
It wasn’t until I discovered Christopher Vogler’s book The Writers Journey that everything really clicked into place for me. Vogler had taken Campbell’s work and updated the Hero’s Journey to give it a much more contemporary feel, appealing to a more modern audience.
The Writers Journey made sense to me because it was referencing and analyzing story structure from a Hollywood movie perspective. Good movies are adaptations of stories of the human condition that have persisted throughout history for millennia. From there I discovered the whole world of screenwriting and the discipline of writing scripts for Hollywood movies and fell head first down that rabbit hole. When I’m into something I go all the way, sometimes going too far and losing track of where I am and have to backtrack my steps. But I started to understand story structure from a screenwriting standpoint and how they put movie scripts together, especially the big Hollywood screenwriters.
What Does All That Mean?
What I learned from all this is that the fundamental element of all stories that have ever existed is that they’re all stories of TRANSFORMATION. Understanding this idea is the key to understanding the concept of modern story architecture. EVERY movie you’ve ever watched or going to watch conforms to the Hero’s Journey, all these movies reveal a Transformation of the Hero. If you analyze movies you’ll see they all follow a story structure that has been used throughout all time and all ages. So it should come as a relief for you to know that you don’t have to learn and study a thousand different things about story telling, you only have to learn ONE story structure if you want to tell YOUR story. You can write and be the Hero of your own story with this ONE story architecture.
The unique story that you can tell about your journey, the personal transformation about how you came to be where you are today can be based on the Hero’s Journey structure.
Let’s look at Vogler’s 12 Step Hero’s Journey process in action so you can see what I’m talking about.
The Hero’s Journey is usually described as ‘circular’ because the journey begins in the ORDINARY WORLD of the Hero who then progresses through the SPECIAL WORLD, returning back to the ORDINARY WORLD having undergone some form of Transformation.
I’ll run through the Hero’s Journey structure quickly and then give you a couple of examples. The Hero starts out living in the their day-to-day Ordinary World and then something happens to break through into his or her reality, which ‘Calls them to Adventure.’ There is a Refusal of the Call until they meet a Mentor who gives them knowledge and wisdom to undertake the journey, which leads to Crossing the First Threshold into the Special World.
Once inside the Special World the Hero will be tested, make new friends and Allies and also make a few Enemies. That’s when we Approach The Inmost Cave to face The Ordeal. Once the Ordeal has been overcome the Hero receives their Reward. Now we take the Road Back to the Ordinary World where we have a Resurrection leading to the Elixir.
At the start of the journey we see a young farm boy Luke Skywalker in his Ordinary World yearning for a more exciting life.
Call To Adventure
Luke is ‘Called to Adventure’ from a recorded message from Princess Leia hidden inside the droid R2D2.
Refusal Of The Call | Mentor
The Mentor Obi Wan Kenobi rescues Luke from the sand people and explains to Luke about The Force, Jedi Knights and Luke’s father, he also gives him a light-Sabre. Luke refuses ‘The Call’ because he doesn’t believe he’s anything other than just a farm boy and must help with the harvest.
Crossing The Threshold
Luke eventually decides to Cross The Threshold with Obi Wan because when he arrives back home he finds his grand parents have been deep-fried extra crispy. So he leaves Tatooine and makes the journey to Mos Eisley spaceport, which is the new Special World for Luke.
Tests, Allies and Enemies
Luke gathers Allies to the cause, recruiting Han Solo and Chewbacca. Here the testing phase or the Road of Trials begins as the crew prepares to leave the planet, but they’re pursued by Enemy Stormtroopers when trying to leave for Alderaan.
Approach The Inmost Cave
On the way Luke makes preparations for the events ahead as Obi Wan teaches him the ways of the Force.
The Ordeal is the test the Hero must overcome… Luke and company draw on their skills to rescue Princess Leia from the Death Star.
The Reward for Luke’s bravery is he joins the Rebel Alliance as a pilot, which readies him for the next part of the journey.
The Road Back
On the Road Back we find Luke is going to help destroy the Death Star.
The Rebel Alliance launches an attack on the Death Star, everything is at stake because if Luke fails the Rebels will be destroyed and the Empire will rule the galaxy. From the experience of destroying the Death Star Luke has undergone a Transformation, trusting the Force enabled him to take his first steps towards becoming a Jedi.
The Elixir represents the success of the journey and Luke succeeds at making a difference that matters.
You can see from Luke’s journey that he didn’t believe in himself when starting out, but passing through all the new worlds and emotional states he was transformed by the experience to believe in himself and become a Jedi knight.
Let’s look at another; let’s look at The Hunger Games
Call To Adventure
Katniss is ‘Called To Adventure’ at the yearly reaping when her sister is drawn to be a contestant in the Hunger Games. Katniss doesn’t want to see her sister suffer a grim fate so she volunteers herself as a tribute.
Refusal Of The Call
Because of the given circumstances Katniss isn’t given any opportunity to ‘Refuse the Call’ to be a tribute in the Hunger Games although an internal fear of having to kill people may be present.
Katniss gets on the train and meets alcoholic Haymitch, a previous winner of the Hunger Games assigned to be her Mentor.
Crossing The Threshold
Crossing the Threshold is the point in the journey where the Hero crosses over from the Ordinary World into the Special world. Katniss is taking the train from District 12 to the Capitol.
Tests, Allies and Enemies
In training Katniss is tested for her combat skills. Her only Ally is Peeta from the same district, although the tribute Rue from District 11 becomes an Ally later in the games. Katniss is also aware some of the other districts are very well trained in combat, which makes them dangerous enemies. Other enemies include the gamemaker and President Snow.
Approach The Inmost Cave
Approaching the Inmost Cave is Katniss and Peeta’s participation in the Hunger Games where Katniss and Peeta both become badly injured.
The Ordeal is they make a mutual suicide pact to rob the Capitol of its victor.
Katniss and Peeta both win the Hunger Games and can now return home to District 12.
The Road Back
Katniss and Peeta’s actions of rebellious love in the games have consequences. President Snow doesn’t like the fact two tributes left the games… their actions embarrassed the Capitol.
At the beginning of the journey Katniss was fiercely independent… Haymitch advises her to proclaim her love for Peeta on the TV show. Although just an act she says she couldn’t imagine life without Peeta.
The Elixir that Katniss and Peeta bring back to the Ordinary World is hope.
What Can You Take From This?
In your life you’ve been through many journeys of your own. If you’re a coach, consultant, therapist or small business owner and want to turn your unique personal story into a profound book that matters, then the Hero’s Journey story format can be used for your unique personal story of transformation.
The only problem with the Hero’s Journey is that the whole universe of screenwriting is vast, it’s a discipline you could potentially lose yourself in and spend the rest of your life studying and perfecting and still need another lifetime to understand it all. Like many other disciplines there is always more you can learn to develop and improve your craft.
In this universe there are many different authors, writers and specialists that talk about the concepts of screenwriting and use different terminology to explain the same things – it can get confusing because you could be led to believe there are a million different things to learn.
That’s why I developed the Clients Journey, which reveals how Small Business owners can write and develop their own unique personal story using the Hollywood 12-step Story Architecture without having to learn all the intricacies of screenwriting.
The idea for the Clients Journey is a means for you to tell your unique personal story about how you arrived at where you are today, so your audience can understand why you do what you do. The Clients Journey can help establish you as a credible authority in your field.
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through in your life, the Clients Journey is a structure you can use to map out your unique personal journey, a guide another person can use to retrace your steps to see what you’ve been through and what it really takes to do what it is that you do.
The Clients Journey is an online course I’ll be releasing soon, but if you would like my help developing your unique personal story for your book, then go here.