The Hero’s Journey: A Classic Story Structure

Sleeping Beauty.
Star Wars.
Lord of the Rings.
The Hobbit.
Indiana Jones.
Sherlock Holmes.
Jane Eyre.
Pilgrims Progress.
The Wizard of Oz.
Toy Story.

Example: Unexpectedly, Katniss and Peeta are informed there can be 2 victors instead of one. Example: Katniss is introduced to Haymitch the minute she reaches the phase to accept the difficulty. Your hero is laser focused, but this is the point at which she faces her very first challenge. Your hero approaches danger– often concealed, often more psychological than physical. Example: Katniss and Peeta return house celebrities.

Composing a compelling story, especially if youre new at this, can be grueling..
Clashing recommendations online can overwhelm you, making you want to give up prior to youve written a word.
However you know more than you think.
Stories saturate our lives. We talk, believe, and communicate with story in music, on tv, in video games, in books, and in motion pictures.
Every story, despite genre or plot, features a main character who starts some adventure or mission, conquers challenges, and is changed.
This is generically referred to as The Heros Journey, a broad story template promoted by Joseph Campbell in his The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949 ).
In essence, every story ever told includes at least some of the seventeen phases he described.
In 1985, film writer Christopher Vogler wrote a memo for Disney titled The Practical Guide to Joseph Campbells The Hero with a Thousand Faces that condensed the seventeen actions to twelve.
The Heros Journey design template has actually influenced storytellers worldwide, most especially George Lucas (creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones).
Vogler states of Campbells writings: “The ideas are older than the pyramids, older than Stonehenge, older than the earliest cave painting.”.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a prime example of The Heros Journey, so I utilize “she” inclusively to represent both genders.
The 3 Heros Journey Stages.
1. The Departure (Separation).
The hero is compelled to leave her common world.
She may have misgivings about this compulsion, and this is where a coach might pertain to motivate and assist her.
Example: Katniss Everdeen is a devoted sibling, child, and friend. Shes an avid hunter, well familiarized with the forbidden forest outside District 12, where she and her friend Gale hunt to keep their families from starving. The Hunger Games, where only one winner endures, loom, and she fears she or among her buddies will be picked..
2. Initiation.
The hero crosses into the other world, where she faces challenges.
Sometimes shes alone, sometimes shes joined by a companion. Perhaps a couple of.
Here she must utilize the tools shes been given up her common life to get rid of each challenge. Shell be rewarded, in some cases tangibly.
Eventually she must go back to the normal world with her reward.
Example: District 12s Representative and Stylist Effie Trinket arrives to choose the Tributes who will complete in The Hunger Games..
Katniss and her family participate in, and she breathlessly wills Effie not to draw her name. She gets her desire, but to her scary, her little sister Primrose is chosen..
Peacekeepers shove Prim toward the stage prior to Katniss volunteers to take her place. Shes joined by the male homage, the bakers boy Peeta. They are quickly whisked away for training and after that the competitors..
3. Return.
The hero crosses the threshold back into her ordinary world, which looks various now. She brings with her the rewards and utilizes them for good.
Example: Unexpectedly, Katniss and Peeta are told there can be 2 victors instead of one. Katniss and Peeta, to the discouragement of the Capitol, choose theyll pass away together or emerge as victors together.
The 12 Heros Journey Steps (and How to Use Them).

Should You Use The Heros Journey Story Structure?
Structure is necessary to a story, regardless which you select. Each bears some variation of it since the Heros Journey serves as a design template under which all story structures fall.
For fiction or nonfiction, your story structure identifies how successfully you utilize intrigue, drama, and stress to grab readers from the start and keep them to the end.
For more on story structure, visit my blog site post 7 Story Structures Any Writer Can Use.

Departure.
1– Ordinary World.
Prior to your hero is carried to another world, we wish to see her in her regular world– who is she when no one is enjoying? What drives her?
This sets the phase for the rest of your story, so show her human side. Make her knowable and real.
But dont wait long to plunge her into horrible problem. When you offer your readers a factor to care, offer them more to keep them turning the pages.
Example: Katniss Everdeen is introduced as a teenager for whom life isnt easy. Her daddy is dead, her mom depressed, and Katniss will do anything to attend to her family and secure her little sibling..
2– The Call to Adventure.
This is the point at which your heros world can never be the exact same. A problem, a challenge, or an experience arises– is she approximately the difficulty?
Example: The Reaping, where Katniss volunteers to take Prims place..
3– Refusal of the Call.
Periodically, a hero shrieks to a halt before the adventure begins. When faced with difficulty, she hesitates, unsure of herself.
She must face her biggest fears and create ahead.
Example: There is no rejection of the call in The Hunger Games. Katniss eagerly advance..
4– Meeting With the Mentor.
The mentor might be an older individual who uses wisdom, a buddy, and even a things, like a letter or map.
Whatever the type, the mentor provides your hero the tools she needs for the journey– either by inspiring her, or pressing her in the instructions she needs to go.
Example: Katniss is presented to Haymitch the minute she reaches the stage to accept the challenge. Hes the only individual from District 12 to have actually ever won The Hunger Games. Shes not initially amazed, but he ultimately becomes her most significant ally..
5– Crossing the First Threshold.
In the final action of the departure stage, your hero summons the nerve to advance, and the real experience begins.
Theres no turning back.
By now, youve presented your hero and given your readers a factor to care what happens to her. You must have also presented the underlying style of your story.
Why is it essential for your hero to accomplish this job?
What are the stakes?
What drives her?
Example: Katniss is carried through train to the Capitol to begin training for The Hunger Games. Shes guaranteed Prim shell do everything in her power to return home.
Initiation.
Your hero is laser focused, but this is the point at which she faces her first barrier. She will satisfy her enemies and be required to construct alliances. She will be evaluated and challenged.
Can she do it?
What does she find out in this initiation phase?
Example: Katniss satisfies her competitors for the first time during training and has the ability to watch them to get a sense of what difficulties lie ahead..
6– Tests, Allies, and Enemies.
Things have actually moved in the new world. Threat lies ahead. Alliances are formed, mayhem occurs.
Your hero might stop working tests shes faced with initially, but her transformation starts. She has the ability and knowledge to achieve her tasks, but will she prosper?
Example: The Hunger Games begin. Tributes pass away. Katniss fights without water or a weapon. Her allies are Peeta and young Rue (the 12-year-old Tribute from District 11). The strongest players have actually illegally spent their young lives training for The Hunger Games and loom as her opponents from the start..
7– Approach to the Inmost Cave.
Your hero approaches risk– frequently concealed, in some cases more psychological than physical. She needs to face her greatest fears time again and might even be lured to quit. She needs to dig deep to discover guts.
Example: Katniss is in the arena, the video games underway. Theres no escape. Shes seen death, fears she may be next, and need to discover water and a weapon to endure..
8– The Ordeal.
Your heros darkest moment and biggest difficulty up until now, in a battle for her life, she needs to discover a way to withstand to the end.
This might or may not be the climax of your story, but it is the climax of the initiation stage.
During this horrible experience, the steepest part of her character arc takes location.
Example: Katniss deals with dying of thirst (if shes not eliminated by another Tribute first) and deals with every barrier possible, including the death of Rue, before she lastly wins the battle..
9– Reward (Seizing the Sword).
Versus all chances, your hero survives. Shes defeated her enemies, slain her dragons– she has gotten rid of and won the benefit.
Whether her benefit is tangible depends upon the story. Regardless, your hero has gone through an overall inward and external improvement.
Example: Peeta and Katniss stand alone in the arena, informed that since they are from the same district they can both claim the triumph– or can they?
Return.
10– The Road Back.
As she starts to cross the limit back into the ordinary world, she discovers the fight isnt ended up.
She should face the consequences for her actions throughout the initiation phase.
Shes about to face her last challenge.
Example: The Capitol announces and reverses that just one winner will be permitted..
11– The Resurrection.
Throughout this climax of your story, your hero faces her last, the majority of threatening obstacle.
She might even deal with death one more time.
Example: Katniss and Peeta choose that if they cant win together, there will be no winner. They choose to call the Capitols bluff and threaten to pass away together. As they are about to eat toxin berries, the Capitol is required to allow 2 winners..
12– Return With the Elixir.
Your hero finally crosses the threshold back into her normal life, victorious. Only things arent so ordinary anymore.
Shes been altered by her adventure. She brings with her rewards, sometimes tangible products she can share, sometimes insight or knowledge. Regardless, this all effects her life in methods she never ever envisioned.
Example: Katniss and Peeta return house stars. Theyre given new houses, lots of food to share, and assistants who tend to their needs. Katniss discovers that her defiance of the Capitol has triggered a transformation in the hearts of locals all throughout Panem..
Heros Journey Examples.
You may acknowledge The Heros Journey in lots of famous stories, consisting of Greek Mythology and even the Bible. Other examples:.

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