The Hero’s Journey

I hate to keep harping on something, but I taught this again today in class. Students find it helpful and it’s made a big difference for me in my writing. For my first novel, I covered the wall with plot notes. Now – just this:

Another approach to plot is to use the ideas of Joseph Campbell as interpreted by Christopher Vogler in his book, The Writer’s Journey. Campbell studied the literature of many cultures and found common elements. Look for these elements in stories, movies and classic myths of every culture. Many writers use these 12 points instead of more formal plot outlines. The 12 steps do not have to be in order. hero

  1. Heroes are introduced in the ORDINARY WORLD, where
  2. they receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE.
  3. They are RELUCTANT at first or REFUSE THE CALL, but
  4. Are encouraged by a MENTOR to
  5. CROSS THE FIRST THRESHOLD and enter the Special World, magic shoeswhere
  6. they encounter TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.
  7. They APPROACH THE INMOST CAVE, crossing a second threshold
  8. where they endure the ORDEAL
  9. They take possession of their REWARD and
  10. are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World.
  11. They cross the third threshold, experience a RESSURECTION and are transformed by the experience.
  12.  They RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, a boon or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World.home

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