The Hero's Journey

For the Scribblers' Conference.
I learned about the Hero's Journey in late summer/early fall when school started. I'm taking a Novel in a Year class, taught by Amy Wallace, from Landry Academy.
Now I know what an outline is actually supposed to look like! (Why didn't I think to Google what the outlining process was before? I've been asking myself the same question since I started school again. But this class is so much fun, so I'm kind of glad I didn't know all of this stuff.)
So in case some of you writer-friends don't know what I'm talking about, keep reading. Everything will start to make sense!
This is the plot structure that Mrs. Wallace said is for publishing.
There are... (*checks class notes*) twelve steps in the Hero's Journey. They are:

1. The Ordinary World

This is the first part of the book, obviously. You're supposed to make the reader and the character connect through the hero's life—characterize your character. What does your hero want? Stuff like that.

2. The Call to Adventure

(Whenever I read this, a trumpet blast goes off in my head. Strangest thing, I know.)
This is where you destroy the hero's world. (No, you don't literally have to blow it up. But hey—I like explosions. NOT IN REAL LIFE. Please don't take that the wrong way.) But they have to be called to an adventure. Obviously.

3. Refusal of the Call

Your character doesn't want to do what he/she has to do. They go, kicking and screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO I WANT TO STAY IN MY ORDINARY WORLD WHERE I BELONG LEAVE ME ALONEEEE."
Geez, sorry for the caps. But it just fits.

4. Meeting with the Mentor

Give the character someone to look up to for advice—who isn't perfect. The mentor will help the character through the book.

5. Crossing the Threshold

Here your hero has to commit to the journey/adventure. There's no going back. Your hero is going to go along with something unfamiliar and strange. He/she can't go back on his decision.

6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies

There must be tests (you can't have a good book without conflict). There must be friends. There must be at least one enemy, whether human or not.

7. Approach

There are challenges. Major challenges. Three of them, actually. (More on that when I attempt to talk about the Three Act Structure in what will hopefully be my next post.) They are terrible and happen because the hero tries to fix everything and fails. Again, more on that later. The challenges are dangerous. Possibly not physically, depending on your genre. I think.

8. The Ordeal

So this is basically the climax/right after the climax. Everything goes wrong. All is lost. The character's worst fear comes true. My SUPER amazing teacher (no like seriously. She's a Christian and a Whovian. Those two things right there are enough.), Mrs. Wallace, said that the black moment should be when your hero is at the point that if they don't get away from/defeat the villain, they think they won't recover. Or at least I think that's what she said. It sounds right. *Googles it.* Yup. Sounds good.

9. The Reward

Something is won, whether it's the hero's life or another character's life or a physical thing, etc. And the hero is still in danger.

10. The Road Back

The hero goes back home, or to his/her new home, or wherever his/her new destination is, etc. What happens? What does the hero encounter?

11. The Resurrection

This is the hero's epiphany. Whatever they've been struggling with internally throughout the whole book finally makes sense. They bloom. They become a better person. Stuff like that.

12. Return with the Elixir

There are lessons learned. The goals have been accomplished. Precious treasures/artifacts are back where they're supposed to be (or if it's a series and you like cliffhangers, some precious artifact/person is not where it/he/she is supposed to be. Think Rick Riordan. Percabeth. Tartarus. Ouch.)

And that's that!
DISCLAIMER: (because I'm terribly insecure.)
I'm seventeen. I'm not published. Okay, I am, on here and on Figment, but not really published. You could say I'm inexperienced. Very inexperienced. I'm still in the learning process. The Hero's Journey was created by some awesome guy named Joseph Campell. My teacher taught me this, and then I used the notes from her class and came up with these explanations of the 12 steps. I've probably misinterpreted at least a few things. So Google this and ask actual published writers about it and DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Bekah Joan


  1. This was so extremely helpful because I'm JUST about to plot out my novel in hopes that I will be able to pull off DOOM. Thank you, thank you! :P

  2. You always know how to give such helpful tips on writing for me and you did such an amazing job with your post.


    Great job sweetie!
    Keep up the great work

    1. Thank you,m'dear. <3
      And I KNOWWWW. I was browsing through Pinterest trying to find a good picture and I was like YESYESYES.

  3. I never outline. Probably I should, but I prefer just to dive right in and cover myself in mistakes. I do enough outlining writing the study guides, when I write I want it to be fun. For me anyways.

    1. If I was doing it just for fun, I probably wouldn't outline either. :p But I'm trying to do this as an actual career, so the outlining is a must. *Cringes.*

  4. honestly, girl. you're very very talented! i just wrote an essay without an outline, and it really started off as a mess.
    and, looking at your blog and all the things you post, i think you'll be a great writer, as in honestly and truly, an awesome writer! (:
    rainbows and dreams
    ps: oh and josh in that picture. *gasp* *faint* *die* (:

    1. *Blushes*
      Thank you so much. <3
      An about Josh- asdfghjkl I knowwwwww.

  5. Great post Bekah! I'm actually planning a whole series on the hero's journey once the conference is over. Isn't it so much more fun with structure? I danced around in this little happy cloud for days when I discovered it.

    1. The writing is definitely easier once the outlining is done, that's for sure. (:
      And yes, I believe I had the same reaction when I learned about it. It was either that or an ominous sense of doom... Not quite sure which it was.

  6. Bekah, you did a very good job on this post!! These twelve steps are a GREAT starting point in developing your hero and your story.

    I used to be an obsessive outliner. I outlined EVERYTHING in my story. I've learned to loosen up a little in the last few years, but I still do a lot of outlining.

    1. Thank you! :)
      Ah, yes, I'm afraid I'm just the opposite of what you were. I need to be a bit more obsessive when it comes to outlining. It's one of my very least-favorite things in the writing part of life. I tend to avoid it.

  7. Cool post! I am not that good at reading long post, so I might of read some things wrong, sorry about that! I liked these steps, I will come again when I what to make a store, and use these cool steps! Lovely post Bekah... :)
    Grace xxx ♥ http://gracequita.blogspot.com/ my blog link! :)

  8. Thank you so much for this post, I found it very helpful! Especially so close to DOOM and Camp NaNo... O.O It's coming way too fast!!

    1. Thanks and you're welcome! And I KNOW! I'm starting to freak out a bit. >.<

  9. It's official. I copied the titles for the different parts of The Hero's Journey into a Word document so I could fill them out for my novel. :P

  10. This is a great post! I'll be printing it out and adding it to my writing file. :) Thanks.

    1. Ohmygoodness! Thank you! I feel so honored. (:


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