What Are the Steps of the Hero’s Journey?

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

Happy Christmas to those who celebrate!


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 hero’s journey typically starts with a call to adventure, 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.

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 okay 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.

I’ll tell you why revision is the best part of writing in your complimentary 15-minute consultation.

Guilliean Pacheco, your friendly neighborhood creativity concierge


Guilliean Pacheco (she/her) is a writer and editor of Filipino heritage and the host of the City of Writers podcast. Her work has appeared in TechTarget, Nevada Humanities, and Helen: A Literary Magazine. She has an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco and is an Anaphora Arts poetry fellow. She’s a misplaced California girl who lives in Las Vegas normally, if one could call living there normal, on Southern Paiute land. Follow her on Twitter.

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