Resource #2: The Hero’s Journey

What’s up everyone? It’s Hades here, and I’ve been taking a few writing programs in school, and also I’ve been learning from the much more competent mods. One of the greatest things I’ve learned from these courses- and with a little help from Peyton- was The Hero’s Journey.

But what exactly is the hero’s journey?, you ask. Well, I’ll be happy to give you a little but of context.

Coined by Joseph Campbell, it’s the story structure that many of the world’s most famous characters have followed in their adventures, including Luke Skywalker, Bilbo Baggins, Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Simba, Percy Jackson, essentially, every famous character ever. But what makes the hero’s journey so great?

Firstly, there’s character arcs, which alot of current stories lack. Clark Largent had to learn how to take things more seriously and step up to the plate, Alan Wade is still overcoming his own inner-demons, Mac Astley is simply learning to grow up, and Jacob Minch was learning how to redeem himself.

The Hero’s Journey comes with a character arc pre-written, you just decide the flaw, and the hero’s journey map takes it from there. Now come, sit down, children, and let me guide you through, the hero’s journey.

The Ordinary World: You meet your main character and their ordinary life, think about how Luke Skywalker was a moisture farmer before he became a Jedi Knight, or Peter Parker was just a plain nerd before he was bitten by the radioactive spider and became one of the greatest heroes of all time. Normally, you make the hero feel like a small part of a larger world so that when he overcomes his challenges there’s a sense of importance. You also introduce your character’s flaw(s) here.

The Call To Adventure- Your character is called to an adventure, maybe by another person, or maybe by an event, either way, this is how they get involved in the story’s main conflict or problem.

The Refusual- The main character refuses the call to adventure, likely because of his/her flaw(s), though that’s optional, either way, the reason why your character refuses the call can say alot about who your character is. Take for instance, Luke Skywalker refusing to go with Ben Kenobi. His reasoning is that he has to stay at his homeworld to continue his moisture farming, though Mark Hammil’s performance shows that he longs for adventure, the writing and the acting combined gives Luke a feeling of being trapped, all in one or two lines!

Eventually, however, something happens that pushes your character into the centeal conflict that makes them change their mind. Take for instance, Luke’s aunt and uncle dying. Now, he has a bone to pick with the empire.

The Mentor- Your character meets their mentor, an older, wiser, figure who is in many ways there to bring character development for the main character. The Mr. Miyagi to your Daniel LaRusso, the Obi-Wan to your Luke, the Gandalf to your Bilbo.

Crossing The Threshold- With your mentor’s help, they cross the threshold, which is a fancy way of saying that they actually start to get involved in your story’s central conflict. Think about Harry Potter’s arrival at Hogwarts, or Captain America after gettign the superSoldier Serum. That sense of fun, the calm before the storm, though of course, there still is the central conflict to be dealt with.

Test, Allies, and Enemies- Arugably the most fun part of the story, this part introduces alot. This is where your hero meets their enemies, their allies, and learn what they’ll have to do to stop the central conflict. Think about Percy Jackson, how Percy meets Annabeth and Grover, but also meets Clarisse and his soon-to-be enemy, Luke, at the same time, he is issued his first prophecy. Or when Luke and Obi-Wan need Han Solo and Chewbacca’s help to destory the Death Star. Things are getting real, now.

Approach To The Inmost Cave- This is where your main character finds themselves in their most dangerous and suspenseful situation, like how Luke boarded the Death Star. Please note that this is not when they solve the central conflict. They didn’t blow up the death star right then and there, did they?

The Ordeal- This is where your hero faces rock bottom. Their flaws are used against them, and they hit rock bottom.

The Return- Your hero is at their low point. They’re typically alone, either they pushed their allies away, or their allies abandoned him. This is when he realizes his flaws, what lead him to his failures. And that is when the hero becomes a hero, he rises above his flaws in triumphant cheers, ready to get back and fight the bad guy. The hero is now the hero.

The Reward- The hero still has problems to face, but his return brings a glimmer of hope, a sign that he can overcome the challenges, maybe the team reunites, maybe Percy just escaped the underworld, maybe Luke just got the death star plans, either way, the hero is about to win.

The Road Back- The hero realizes that the light at the end of the tunnel is a little further than he thought. Just because he’s returned and got the reward, doesn’t mean that it’s smooth sailing. The rebels know how to blow up the death star, now let’s see if they actually can.

The Ressurection- This is it. The final battle. Your hero solves the central conflict, defeating your antagonist, gettign the girl, whatever.

The Return With The Elixir- Your hero returns to their new life, their flaws have been vanguished, they’ve been hailed a hero, now, life is good for your hero.

And that’s the end of my little mumble, so let me remind you of a few things. These rules are subjective, you can switch their order around, cut certain rules out, heck, I shouldn’t even call them rules, they’re moreso guidelines.

Have a great night, everyone!

  1. I learned about this a while ago, but it was WAY less detailed than this. Thanks man!

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