Calling all storytellers mushing magazine

The Hero’s Journey Storytelling Project

Thank you for your willingness to participate in our Q&A program. The questions are based on a time-honored story telling technique described by Joseph Campbell.

Joseph Campbell‘s storytelling process is often referred to as the “Hero’s Journey.” This is a narrative framework that Campbell identified as a common pattern in myths, legends, and stories from various cultures around the world.

The Hero’s Journey typically consists of several stages that a hero or protagonist goes through on their quest for growth, transformation, and self-discovery.

Many movies follow this storytelling technique (we have even included links so that you can watch them beforehand) including Star Wars, Rocky, Men in Black, The Matrix, Finding Nemo, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

Here is a brief overview of the key stages in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey:

  1. The Ordinary World: The hero starts in their familiar environment before the adventure begins. This stage establishes the hero’s normal life, routine, and relationships.
  2. The Call to Adventure: The hero receives a call to action or adventure that disrupts their ordinary world. This could come in the form of a problem, challenge, opportunity, or revelation.
  3. Refusal of the Call: The hero may initially resist the call to adventure due to fear, doubt, or reluctance to leave their comfort zone.
  4. Meeting the Mentor: The hero encounters a mentor, guide, or helper who provides wisdom, advice, or tools to assist them on their journey.
  5. Crossing the Threshold: The hero commits to leaving their ordinary world behind and embarks on the adventure, crossing into the unknown or unfamiliar territory.
  6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies: The hero faces challenges, meets allies, and confronts enemies as they navigate the trials and obstacles of their journey.
  7. Approach to the Inmost Cave: The hero prepares to confront a significant challenge or ordeal, often symbolized by an inner conflict or deep-seated fear.
  8. The Ordeal: The hero faces their greatest challenge, undergoes a transformation, and experiences a symbolic death and rebirth.
  9. The Reward: After overcoming the ordeal, the hero receives a reward, treasure, knowledge, or insight that they can bring back to their ordinary world.
  10. The Road Back: The hero begins the journey back to their ordinary world, but they may face final tests, temptations, or obstacles along the way.
  11. The Resurrection: The hero faces a final test or challenge that demonstrates their growth, transformation, and mastery of their newfound abilities.
  12. Return with the Elixir: The hero returns to their ordinary world with the elixir, a boon, or a gift that has the power to benefit their community, society, or the world.

These stages are not always linear, and variations can occur depending on the story being told. The Hero’s Journey is a powerful framework that continues to influence storytelling, literature, film, and other forms of narrative expression.

Ideally this project would be best if it relates to one experience (ie. The desire to run a big race like the Iditarod, or planning for a big expedition, etc.). Please read through all the questions first so that you will have an idea of the outline of the project from beginning to end.

We are excited to see what you come up with. Our goal is to use these stories in upcoming issues of Mushing Magazine and our other media. If we use yours, we will reach out to you on how we can compensate you for the submission.


These are available as a .PDF if you would like to download and print to make it easier to follow along.

  1. The Call to Adventure: – Can you share an experience where you felt drawn to a new challenge or opportunity that pushed you out of your comfort zone?
  2. Refusal of the Call: – Have you ever faced self-doubt or hesitance when presented with a significant decision on the trail or in a race? How did you overcome it?
  3. Meeting the Mentor: – Who has been a significant mentor or role model for you in your experience as a dog musher, and how have they influenced your development?
  4. Crossing the Threshold: – Describe a time when you took a significant step forward in your personal growth. What was the experience like, and how did it impact you?
  5. Tests, Allies, and Enemies: – Can you discuss a challenging situation in a race or on the trail where you had to navigate complex relationships with colleagues, or others? How did you handle it?
  6. Approach to the Inmost Cave: – Share an example of a time on the trail or race that required you to confront a major obstacle or fear. How did you prepare for and address this challenge?
  7. The Ordeal: – Tell me about a time when you faced a major setback or failure in your time on the trail or in a race. How did you handle it, and what did you learn from the experience?
  8. The Reward: – Reflect on a significant achievement or success in your time on the trail or race that you are particularly proud of. What was the impact of this accomplishment on your professional journey?
  9. The Road Back: – How do you approach setbacks or obstacles in on the trail or in a race? Can you provide an example of a time when you had to regroup and move forward after facing a setback?
  10. The Resurrection: – Describe a situation where you were able to transform a difficult or seemingly impossible challenge into a successful outcome. What strengths or qualities did you rely on during this process?
  11. Return with the Elixir: – How would you bring value back to the others after overcoming challenges or achieving success? Can you provide an example of a time when your experience or insights had a positive impact?
  12. Reflection: – Looking back on your journey so far, how has your personal growth and development been shaped by the challenges and successes you have experienced?


Thank you! Please submit your story to We cannot wait to see what you come up with.

By the way, if you are interested in learning more about storytelling techniques, may we suggest: Unleash The Power of Storytelling, or if you want to go really big and get started on writing that first book check out: Write Your First Novel or Write Your First Non-fiction Book.