The Hero’s Journey: Elements and Application in Nonfiction

Date(s): August 05, 2017 09:30 AM – August 05, 2017 12:30 PM
Cost: $65/$55 WLT/SCBWI Member. To pay via check, e-mail [email protected]
Faculty: Cynthia Levinson
Maximum Class Size: 15
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The narrative arc known as The Hero’s Journey, which was teased out by Joseph Campbell from his study of thousands of powerful myths from around the world, has become a classic format for novels and movie scripts. But, it’s not just for fiction. It can be applied to nonfiction as well. And acclaimed author Cynthia Levinson will show us how.

Join us for this eye-opening and insightful half-day class to learn how the study of the hero’s journey can help you organize your nonfiction project, select and highlight key events from your subject’s complex trajectory (while downplaying others), and move your true story from an intriguing opening through heightened tension to a satisfying resolution.

Topics to be covered:

  • Visualizing The Hero’s Journey as a map
  • Tracing your story onto the map’s plot points
  • Choosing main character(s) and “sidekicks”
  • Enhancing key scenes
  • Figuring out the endpoint
Who should take this course:
  • Writers who are working on a narrative nonfiction project and need help picking their way through their research
  • Writers who have an idea for a narrative nonfiction project and don’t know where to start
  • Nonfiction writers who aren’t sure if their project is narrative or not
  • Nonfiction writers of picture books through YA
Bring a nonfiction idea or WIP and your questions! We will do exercises and handouts will be provided.

Cynthia Levinson
is the author of five nonfiction books ranging from a picture book to YA. She has also written nearly two-dozen nonfiction articles for esteemed children’s magazines. One of these articles will serve as the basis for this class. Cynthia’s books have received starred reviews and state and national recognition, including IRA Young Adult Nonfiction Award, Jane Addams Book Award, SCBWI Golden Kite Honor, NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor, ILA Social Justice Award, and Bank Street Best Books. Visit Cynthia at and follow her on Twitter @cylev.