A Heroic Journey Update for the 21st Century

A 16-week training covering the most expansive, science-based instruction on the heroic journey and how it applies to your writing.

Heroic Journey 2.0



Story Grid's Update to the Heroic Journey

If you’re interested in storytelling at all, you know there’s an ancient roadmap underlying all stories, something like the source code in a piece of software. Across time and cultures, all humans understand this code, even if we can’t quite explain it.

This invisible map or code helps your characters navigate and find meaning in their world, and it connects you intimately with your readers, providing them with the emotional catharsis they’re looking for in a Story that Works.

The shorthand writers and editors use for this code is called The Heroic Journey. You’ve seen it on the screen in Star Wars and Black Panther and on stage in Hamilton. You’ve buried yourself in thousands of pages of it, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to The Hobbit to the many adventures of Harry Potter.

The Heroic Journey has been powering our stories for millennia, but no one started to investigate how it worked until psychologist Carl Jung parsed the complexity of character archetypes in the 1930s and Joseph Campbell revealed how key features of the Journey crossed time and cultures in The Hero with a Thousand Faces in the 1940s.

What have we learned since then? How has the code for our stories’ software been upgraded in the past 70 years?

Glad you asked.

A Next Generation Heroic Journey For a New Generation of Storytellers

There’s no doubt that we are living through an extraordinary moment in the human journey. A moment when we need to understand heroism and anti-heroism as we never have before. As storytellers and as citizens of the world, we face environmental, economic, and social change at a breakneck pace. We need powerful new stories to survive our trials and continue our journey. 

If we don’t understand the whole story, we’ll fall for only half of one.

Since the publication of The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know in 2015, Shawn Coyne has taken a fresh look at Jung and Campbell, the original hackers of the Hero’s Journey; immersed himself in cognitive science and philosophy; and explored multicultural approaches to Story. What has emerged is a new approach that fits the moment we’re experiencing now, blending insights from the arts and humanities with cutting edge revelations from the sciences.

The result is an updated Heroic Journey 2.0 for today’s writers, an upgraded method for navigating your way from the beginning to the end of your story, including a “Journey to the Bottom of Existence” that sheds light on the anti-heroic journey.

Inspired and Informed by Master Storytellers of the Past and Present

In developing the framework for this course, Coyne revisited and analyzed timeless masterworks to pinpoint the patterns and ideas they share. As participants, you’ll join Shawn in examining L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit as case studies that illustrate how to use Story Grid tools and methods and The Heroic Journey and The Anti-Heroic Journey to enrich your own work.  

Together, you and Shawn will dig deep into Hamilton—a contemporary theatrical masterpiece and pitch-perfect example of The Heroic Journey that encompasses multiple storytelling genres.

The Hero's Journey 2.0 Seminar greatly exceeded my high expectations.

I expected to develop a deeper understanding of the hero's journey. The team delivered that and a whole lot more. I didn't expect the life-affirming and potentially life-changing nature of the message tying the work of story into creating meaning and helping people make their way through turbulent times.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of the content so I'm sure my words aren't doing it justice.

It was extraordinary.

Scott Bohnert

Your Mentor for the Journey...

Shawn Coyne is the creator and founder of Story Grid. He has worked in the publishing industry for 30 years, including 25 as an editor at Big Five publishing houses, an independent publisher, and a literary agent—both at a major Hollywood talent agency and at his own agency, Genre Management, Inc. His projects have grossed more than $150 million in North America alone.

Shawn Coyne

In early 2015, he published The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know, and later that year started the Story Grid Podcast with writer and book marketing expert, Tim Grahl.

Here is a partial list of authors whose works he has either acquired, edited, published or represented:

James Bamford, John Brenkus, James Lee Burke, Barbara Bush, Dick Butkus, Harlan Coben, Nellie Connally, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Ben Crenshaw, Catherine Crier, Brett Favre, David Feherty, John Feinstein, Tyler Florence, Jim Gant, Col. David H. Hackworth, Jamie Harrison, Mo Hayder, William Hjortsberg, Stephen Graham Jones, Jon Krakauer, David Leadbetter, Alan Lomax, David Mamet, Troon McAllister, Robert McKee, Matthew Modine, Bill Murray, Joe Namath, John J. Nance, Jack Olsen, Scott Patterson, Steven Pressfield, Matthew Quirk, Anita Raghavan, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Jerry Rice, Giora Romm, Tim Rosaforte, William Safire, Dava Sobel, Michael Thomas, Nick Tosches, Ann Scott Tyson, Minette Walters, Betty White, Randy Wayne White, Steven White and Don Winslow.


Join Heroic Journey 2.0

$1490 or $409/mo

Heroic Journey 2.0


Inside the Heroic Journey 2.0...

You will learn how to apply the heroic journey structure of storytelling to your own work in progress.

Shawn will walk you through history from the first emergence of story, through Socrates, Plato, Jung, Campbell, and other foundational figures in our understanding of how stories work.

Along the way, you will dive deep into three brilliant stories including The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda to see how the heroic journey works in today's and yesterday's masterworks.

Shawn will share his infographics, videos, and checklists along the way.

The Hero's Journey 2.0 is a comprehensive seminar that dives into the concept with deep insight and application. Shawn's immersive style will give you a whole new outlook on structure and character development to tell engaging, meaningful stories.

Maria Rodgers O'Rourke, author and speaker

What you'll learn inside of Heroic Journey 2.0...


First Principles

All you need to know about the building blocks of stories that work, down to the most basic elements.


Plato, Kant, & Jung

A crash course in human behavior and the way our minds create and process stories.


Heroic Journey 1.0

Back to basics: Exploring Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Hero’s Journey monomyth.


Origin of Story

Our first human ancestors were storytellers. A look at how stories define our species.


Integrating Cognitive Science

Contributions of cutting-edge brain science to understanding stories that work.


Heroic Journey 2.0

Rescuing the best aspects of Campbell’s monomyth and updating it for our contemporary world.


Integrating Heroic Journey 2.0

How the Action and Worldview story forms support and integrate with the Heroic Journey 2.0.

Included in the Heroic Journey 2.0
2023 Spring 16-Week Semester


Every Sunday, starting February 12th, you will receive access to new training to study.


Use these worksheets to solidify and deepen your understanding of the week's training.


Included in the worksheet are writing exercises and prompts to apply the training to your own writing.


Join Story Grid CEO Tim Grahl on weekly live groups to discuss the week's training.

Who is Heroic Journey 2.0 for?

This seminar is for any writer at any level in their career.

Beginner Writer

If you are at the start of your writing journey, understanding the foundational monomyth and how it applies to your story will save you years of floundering.

Seasoned Storyteller

Taking the time to dive into a deeper understanding of the heroic journey will upgrade your storytelling for the rest of your writing career.


Learning to look at your client's books through the lens of the monomyth will give you the ability to provide more insightful and useful feedback to your authors.

Heroic Journey 2.0 is deep and intense and absolutely fascinating. I can't recommend it highly enough.

— Ray Greene

Here's how this works:


Join the Heroic Journey 2.0 Seminar by clicking here.


The first week's training, worksheet, and writing exercise will be sent to you on Sunday, February 12th.


Follow along with 16 weeks of instruction and weekly discussion groups.


Implement the ideas to write the best story you've ever created!


Join Heroic Journey 2.0

$1490 or $409/mo

Heroic Journey 2.0


This seminar is mindblowing in the most grounded yet out-of-body way. You'll learn the origins of the Heroic Journey and the 2.0 version that integrates with what you've learned within the Story Grid framework.

This seminar will challenge your inner-hero and help you to emerge as a better writer (and person).

Ja'Nese Dixon, USA Today Bestselling Author of Play to Win


A's for your Q's

How long do I have access to the seminar?

You have forever access that never expires, even after the 16-week semester. You'll be able to log in at any time to access the material and come back long into the future for a refresh.

Will the pricing change?

We are currently offering a discount to join this 16-week semester that begins February 12th.

On Friday, February 10th at midnight, the price will go up 33%.

How do the weekly discussion groups work?

Each week on Friday at 2:00pm Eastern time, you will have the opportunity to join Story Grid CEO Tim Grahl on a live Zoom call that will be an open discussion of the week's training.

If you are not able to make it live, you will have the opportunity to submit discussion topics ahead of time and access the recordings.

I'm a Guild member. How do I get my discount?

If you are a member of the Story Grid Guild, you get a 20% discount on all of our training. Simply log in to your account before checking out and the discount will automatically be applied.

Is this seminar a good fit for me?

This seminar is for anyone that wants to tell better stories (or help others do the same). Shawn Coyne dives deep into the origins of where story comes from and walks you all the way through the practical application of the Heroic Journey 2.0 for your own story.

What resources are included in the seminar?

There are 82 lessons and over 30 hours of training all professionally recorded. Along with the video training, we include multiple infographics Shawn created for the training, his full slide deck, and 3 Story Grid Masterwork Analysis Guides to The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, and Hamilton.


Join Heroic Journey 2.0

$1490 or $409/mo

Heroic Journey 2.0