What is the Hero’s Journey?

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The hero’s journey, as a theme, is a well-known trope in literature and film, typically dealing with a protagonist’s struggle with a given goal.

The story typically starts with a call to adventure, or a call to save a fellow being from a dire situation.


The hero chooses to go on the quest, and after a series of trials and tribulations, typically climaxing in a final “Fate’s Deed,” the hero achieves his goal and returns home.

Joseph Campbell described the hero’s journey as three parts in the book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

So give that a go if you want to see how he tackles the topic.

The different beats of the hero’s journey

In general, the hero’s journey is a familiar narrative pattern that consists of the following stages in order:

  1. Introduction to the hero’s world
  2. Call to action/adventure
  3. Cross the threshold
  4. Meet the mentor
  5. Taking on the first challenge
  6. Temptation
  7. Experiencing a dark, inner moment
  8. Final battle
  9. Return home

There are many ways to take on this list, of course.

You can always examine a story, movie, or video game, and you’ll find it actively used.

Imagine your protagonist taking on the hero’s journey in their way.

Consider this a writing exercise.

It’s ok ay if you’re not relying upon it to guide your narrative, but write an outline of your story where they’re taking on a version of the hero’s journey.


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