The hero's journey is one of the most well-known plots. Although it has been around since the very beginning of story-telling, it wasn't given an official name until Joseph Campbell. His rendition, made famous with his book, 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' described seventeen stages every myth travels through.
The version used today, however, has been simplified and converted to fit almost every work of fiction.
What is the Hero's Journey?
The Hero's Journey outlines eight specific phases your main character goes through:
- Ordinary Life
- Call to Adventure
- Training from the Mentor
- Separation from Purpose and/or Mentor
- Lowest Point
- Returns with new purpose
- Achieves Objective
- Returns Changed
In a traditional novel, the character progresses through all eight stages and transitions from an ordinary person to the hero.
The Hero's Journey Is a Necessary Part of the Novel Writing Process
Certain story tropes survive the test of time because they work. The heroes journey can be seen in Star Wars, Harry Potter- and even in ancient myths. People enjoy reading the story of a hero. They want to witness an ordinary person overcome insurmountable odds and return changed. These stories are enjoyable to read, and they give your reader a deeper connection to the characters.
The best part is that this process doesn't have to be cliche. There are ways to embrace the expected tropes without making your story predictable. (Consider Ulrik in Magic Made. Even though he teaches Cole to use the magic, he doesn't follow the traditional mentor role.) Embrace and alter the elements of the hero's journey to fit the needs of your story. Consider the decisions and trials that will affect your characters, and align your story with this process- it will make your book more endearing and enjoyable to your readers.
Keep on Writing!