The most expansive, science-based instruction on the heroic journey and how it applies to your writing.

September 11-13, 2020
Nashville, TN & Virtual



Story Grid’s Upgrade of The Hero’s 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 andpitch-perfect example of The Heroic Journey that encompasses all storytelling genres.

Your Mentor for the Journey

Shawn Coyne

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.

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.

What You Will Learn in the
Fantastic Heroic Journey 2.0


Science and Story

Everything You Need to Know about Science to tell a Story that Works.


The Agent in the Arena & How We Apply Our Agency

Everything You Need to Know about Human Behavior to tell a Story that Works.


Origins of The Heroic Journey Monomyth

A Crash Course in Carl Jung’s Individuation Process and Joseph Campbell’s Theory of the Hero’s Journey


Updating and Upgrading the Monomyth

Rescuing the valuable aspects of the Monomyth and revising its archaic language so that it’s relevant to our changing contemporary world.


The Boundaries of Story

How three story forms--Action, Worldview, and The Heroic Journey 2.0—can be integrated into a whole, creating the emotional catharsis readers are looking for.


A Comprehensive Look at a Masterwork

A breakdown of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz across multiple levels of analysis to show exactly how the Action, Worldview, and The Heroic Journey 2.0 blend into an inexhaustible, transformational work of art that transcends time.


Epic Fantasy—The Ideal Realm for The Heroic Journey

J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit becomes a perfect case study for testing The Heroic Journey 2.0 framework. Why do we love epic fantasy stories so much? (Hint: They’re all about coping with the fact that we’re all going to die.)


Understanding the Reality Leaf on Story Grid's Five Leaf Genre Clover

Learn the differences among Realism, Factualism, Absurdism, and Fantasy. And yes, we’ll cover Magical Realism, too.


The Story Grid Heroic Journey 2.0

Shawn will introduce a brand new infographic, visually clarifying and amplifying The Heroic Journey 2.0.

Bonus Materials Provided to All Participants



A scene-by-scene breakdown and analysis of The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, and Hamilton.



We are professionally filming the 3-day event and you will have access to the recording.



You will receive the Story Grid Spreadsheets, Foolscaps, and Infographics along with Shawn's slides and other training material.



Access an exclusive forum where you can interact with other participants and ask questions throughout the event.

Who Should Attend This Event?

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.

Daily Schedule

All times in the Central (CDT) timezone.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

9:00am - 10:30am  

Session 1

10:30am - 10:45am


10:45am - 12:00pm  

Session 2 and Q&A

12:00pm - 1:00pm  


1:00pm - 2:30pm  

Session 3

2:30pm - 2:45pm


2:45pm - 4:30pm

Session 4 and Q&A


We are offering two options for attending this seminar.


Join us in Nashville, TN to experience the seminar live.

  • Experience the training live, in-person with Shawn Coyne and fellow participants.
  • Providing a chat room for all in-person and virtual participants to interact.
  • Ask questions throughout the training.
  • Providing all materials printed ahead of time for you to use during the training.

907 Gleaves St Nashville, TN 37203



Join us virtually to watch live and participate remotely.

  • Live streaming the full seminar — all training and Q&A.
  • Providing a chat room for all in-person and virtual participants to interact.
  • Providing a "proxy" to ask questions and provide feedback live on behalf of virtual participants.
  • Providing all materials used in-person to be printed ahead of time.
  • Provide virtual breakout rooms to work with other participants on in-seminar exercises.

Two Ways to Join Us

With the current pandemic, we wanted to offer two ways of joining us live for the seminar.

In-person Ticket

Join us in Nashville, TN at the amazing Wellspire event center. Lunch every day will be provided.

Once you sign up, we will send you the details on the event along with the logistics and recommend lodging options.

687/mo for 4 months

- or -


Virtual Ticket

Join us virtually and take part in the daily sessions and Q&As.

Once you register, we will send you information on how to access the event and digital logistics.

$344/month for 4 months

- or -



What are you doing in regards to COVID-19?

We are taking full precautions for those that choose to attend in-person. This includes:

  • Providing a hand sanitizing station for use by each participant before entering the venue
  • Providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue, including in the venue lounge, boardrooms, bathrooms and common areas
  • Disinfecting surfaces with antibacterial cleaning solution throughout event days
  • Requiring venue staff to wear masks and gloves while preparing, serving, and/or touching any food or beverage item
  • Minimizing staff. A maximum of two venue staff members will be present on site at any one time.
  • Temperature screening venue staff before entering the venue 
  • Restricting catering partners from entering the venue. All food and beverage will be dropped off and individually packaged and/or wrapped. 
  • Restricting self-serve food, coffee and water. All food will be individually wrapped and beverages will be individually canned or bottled. 
  • Requiring professional cleaning and disinfecting at the end of each event day.
  • Providing signage throughout the venue labeling safety measures and best practices.
  • Setting the room in accordance with suggested social distancing protocol (i.e. chairs eight feet apart in any direction).
  • Providing temperature screenings for every team member and guest attending.
  • Participants will be required to wear masks while moving in the venue and providing masks to those who arrive onsite without them.

How will this work for those attending virtually?

While we cannot recreate the full experience of attending in-person, we are working to provide the best virtual experience possible. This includes:

  • Live streaming the full seminar — all training and Q&A.
  • Providing a chat room for all in-person and virtual participants to interact.
  • Providing a "proxy" to ask questions and provide feedback live on behalf of virtual participants.
  • Providing all materials used in-person to be printed ahead of time.
  • Provide virtual breakout rooms to work with other participants on in-seminar exercises.

Will we get a recording of the event?

Yes! We are having the event professionally filmed and recorded. You will get access to the full recording in November.

What is your refund policy?

Because of the cost and timing of the event, we are not offering refunds. However, we allow for ticket transfer up until one week before the event.