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.


Guilliean Pacheco (she/her) is a writer and editor of color, but you may also know her as the host of the Raconteuse Radio podcast. Her work has appeared in Nevada Humanities and Helen. She has an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco. She’s a misplaced California girl who lives in Las Vegas normally if one could call living there normal. Follow her on Twitter.

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