Venturing Beyond the Hero’s Journey: Exploring the Paths of the Heroine, Healer, and Seeker with Kimberly Lee
START DATE: June 12, 2023
END DATE: July 16, 2023
DURATION: 5 weeks
LOCATION: Wet Ink Interactive Classroom
FEEDBACK: Detailed Instructor Feedback and Encouraging Peer Workshop
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Writers of both fiction and memoir are often told to study and adapt Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey as the structure for their stories. While this path can be useful, other moving and meaningful narrative arcs have been identified that go beyond it and are often more inclusive and collaborative. In this fun and interactive class, we will explore journey narratives such as the heroine’s journey, the journey of integrity, the seeker's journey, and the healer's journey, each encompassing distinct beats to their paths. For five wonderful weeks, we'll dive into each of these journeys through their appearance in literature, film, fairy tales from around the globe, and the lives of public figures, supplementing our study with stimulating poetry, videos, and podcasts. We’ll engage with a variety of writing prompts and interactive exercises designed to gain a deeper understanding of these journeys for use in our creative projects. Through our time together, we’ll come to realize that the hero's journey is not the only journey a well-written protagonist can take, it’s simply one of many.
Each engaging week will include brief readings, film clips, and podcast (made available online) as well as creative writing prompts, journaling exercises, and other imaginative activities related to the designated journey. Writers will have the opportunity to engage in thoughtful online discussions and receive uplifting feedback for the work they choose to share. By focusing on the specified narrative arc in literature, film, and the lives of public figures, participants will be encouraged to explore how they might incorporate aspects of these journeys into their projects, whether fiction or memoir.
I've enjoyed this class so much and am so sad that it's ending. The themes, the diversity of the materials, the creative processes, and the prompts have all engaged really me. I haven't written like this for years and it's just been great fun. — Danyelle O.
Thank you most deeply for this course. [T]his one has had a profound effect on me. You have a gift for finding and presenting information and thought-provoking materials that engage on a deep level. — Kaden S.
Kimberly has a very warm and delightful presence. Her creative writing workshop was filled with varied exercises. — Sinéad M.
Kimberly presented a variety of creative and original prompts, and I was motivated by her enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment of writing. Her manner was very encouraging and her responses reflected her knowledge of the process. — Carolyn J.
WEEKS AT A GLANCE:
Week One: The Heroine’s Journey & The Virgin’s Promise—Clever, Compassionate, Collaborative
During our first week together, we’ll explore the “Heroine’s Journey,” a narrative arc developed by Maureen Murdock and Victoria Lynn Schmidt in response to Campbell’s work. The journey to individual wholeness as well as the use of smarts, strength, and a collaborative spirit to effect change characterize this path. We’ll also look at distinct story structures from around the globe.
Assignment: We’ll use a fun mapping exercise to explore the power of place, then write to excavate this location’s impact on our own journey or that of a character. (500 words or less)
Week Two: The Healing Journey—Grounded in Peace
We'll focus on the healing journey this week, described as “a physical and mental/emotional/spiritual paradigm shift that enables protagonists to accept their circumstances and view themselves with compassion.” Protagonists often rely on the restorative power of nature as well as impactful mentors who bolster and support a character’s quest for wholeness.
Assignment: Write about a meeting or interaction that impacted you somehow, or create one for a character. (500 words or less)
Week Three: The Journey of Integrity—Working To Change the Things We Cannot Accept
Nancer Ballerd developed this week’s Journey of Integrity. In this path, “the protagonist makes a deliberate decision to speak out or take action based on the needs or plight of others,” even though the decision “may have irreparable adverse personal impacts that are beyond the protagonist’s control.” The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. offers an example of the conflicts of this journey, as he sought to balance his call to public service with his love for and duty to family. Characters on this journey “enact our best values regardless of the personal consequences, and, by doing so, affirm our sense of positive possibility for humanity.”
Assignment: We’ll use the epistolary form to explore themes and emotions by writing a letter—from yourself or a from a character. (500 words or less)
Week Four: The Seeker’s Journey—All Who Wander Are Not Lost
The Seeker’s Journey is sparked by a change that upsets the protagonist’s worldview. Characterized by uncertainty and an attempt to reconcile reality with this awakening, this narrative can end in several ways, as opposed to the Hero’s Journey, which generally has one specific outcome. As Savannah Jackson states, protagonists “adjust what [they are] doing to seek out something new that works better for [themselves.]” They learn to take care of themselves, she writes, and how to live consciously and creatively in an evolving world.
Assignment: Write a short “on the road” piece that incorporates elements explored in class. (500 words or less)
Weeks Five: The Unique Journey—Challenges, Choices, and Synchronicities
For our final week, we’ll contemplate the unique qualities of other individual journeys, e.g. the journey to belonging, which may differ from those surveyed in this class. We’ll also play with the idea of the changing journey, whose path develops based on choices, circumstances, and synchronicity. We’ll conclude on a note of optimism, taking delight in the possibilities that exist for our writing projects as a result of an expanded view of narrative arcs.
Assignment: Write (or reimagine) a fairy tale based on characteristics of the genre learned in class. (500 words or less)
Materials needed: All readings, podcasts, video clips, etc. will be provided online. Otherwise, simply pen and paper or keyboard or other preferred writing instruments/devices.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Kimberly Lee left the practice of law some years ago to focus on motherhood, community work, and creative pursuits. A graduate of Stanford University and UC Davis School of Law, she is an Amherst Writers & Artists facilitator and affiliate, and serves on its board of directors. She is also trained and certified by The Center for Journal Therapy, The Center for Intentional Creativity, and SoulCollage®. She has led workshops at numerous retreats and conferences and is a teaching artist with Hugo House, Loft Literary, and Literary Arts.
A former editor and regular contributor at Literary Mama, Kimberly has also served on the staffs of Carve and F(r)iction magazines. She holds a certificate in copyediting from UC San Diego Extension and is an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and ACES: The Society for Editing.
Kimberly’s stories and essays have appeared in publications and anthologies including Minerva Rising, LA Parent, Fresh Ink, Words and Whispers, Toyon, The Ekphrastic Review, WOW! Women on Writing, Read650, I Am Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America, and elsewhere. Her manuscript, Have You Seen Me, was recently selected as a semi-finalist in Simon and Schuster’s Books Like Us First Novel Contest.
Kimberly enjoys day spas, rose gold, and flared yoga pants. She’d love to use words like harbinger, liminal, and zeitgeist in a quick, saucy comeback. Kimberly trusts in the magic and mystery of miracles and synchronicity, and believes that everyone is creative and has unique gifts to share. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.
COST: $185, which includes an interactive class via the Wet Ink platform for peer interaction. (Note: there is no additional charge for Wet Ink. It's included!)
BUY NOW: Venturing Beyond the Hero’s Journey, by Kimberly Lee (5 weeks, starting 6/12/2023) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.
This class is full. Please check here for our current schedule.
Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor.
Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
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