Storytelling and Creative Writing Using Structure and the Hero’s Journey

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Structure is valuable to creativity on a number of levels:

a) Short term goals (incremental productivity) produce more output than a “do your best” approach. With specific regard to creative writing, writing four pages a day completes a words-on-paper first draft screenplay in one month. A “do your best” or “waiting for inspiration” approach can take months or years. Witness the untold number of people with unfinished manuscripts under their beds.

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b) Simply being prolific improves performance and quality. The single best creative product tends to appear at that point in the career when the creator is being most prolific.

c) Techniques such as separating creative from critical thinking increase the quality and quantity of the idea pool: they allow the production of a large number of ideas and a large number of diverse and novel ideas.

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d) Sustained engagement in the endeavour increases the incidence and frequency of problem identification and thus the incidence and frequency of insight.

But before you use structure, you need to know WHAT TO WRITE. This is where the Hero’s Journey comes into its own. The Hero’s Journey is THE template upon which the most successful stories are based – ALL of the Academy Award winners (Best Film) of the past fifteen years (at least) are based upon it.

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The Hero’s Journey allows you to construct a story from the ground up using at least 17 macro stages and more than 188 micro stages and gives the writer more structural elements than simply three or four acts, plot points, mid point and so on – it works because it attempts to tap into unconscious expectations the audience has regarding what a story is and how it should be told.

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The Complete 188 stage Hero’s Journey and FREE 17 stage sample and other story structure templates can be found at

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Kal Bishop, MBA


You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author’s name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. His specialities include Knowledge Management and Creativity and Innovation Management. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached at

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