The Writer’s Journey

Writing and Non-writing funhero's journey

My son and I watch movies together late at night and we both make comments along the way. He’s studied film in university, so he’s about ten up on me. But I fall back on the good old hero’s journey and am able to make comments like “There, the hero is trying to get back to his ordinary world, but the bad guys are chasing him. (Step 10 in the hero’s journey) Or I can say that the hero has just undergone the ordeal (Step 8).

Try it yourself. Watch a movie and apply the hero’s journey. Or maybe the book you’re reading, or a part of your life. It’s a helpful and interesting tool of hero's journeyanalysis.

  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, where
  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.

5 responses to “The Writer’s Journey

  1. Yep, Ed, the hero’s journey is really where it’s at these days. It started off as a set of guidelines for films, written by Vogler, and from there seeped into the form of the novel. THE WRITER’S JOURNEY by Christopher vogler is a must to read for all wannabe novelists. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Hi Ed,

    So glad to have found your blog – and also grateful for the reminder about The Hero’s Journey. Do you think this story structure works as well for romantic fiction? I always imagine a thriller or adventure story when I read it.


    • Good question, Joanne.
      1. We meet the woman in her ordinary world
      2. She receives a call to adventure (love)
      3. Too much trouble
      4. A mentor encourages her (girlfriend)
      5. Takes first step — accepts date.

      I’m just fooling around here. I don’t know the genre well. But it seems to me that the relationship can face a serious obstacle (step 8) and then can even face a serious crisis (step 11) and then the woman returns to her ordinary world with the elixir, the secret — love can overcome serious obstacles or like that (step 12)
      Really, the hero’s journey is just good storytelling. I just gave a talk on it yesterday and if you want, I can send you the handout.

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