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How to Use the Hero’s Journey to Write A Book

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Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey is a framework you can use to write successful novels. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the Hero’s journey and how you can use it to write a book. We will also provide examples of famous novels that follow the Hero’s journey pattern. 

What Are The 3 Main Parts Of The Hero’s Journey?

The Hero’s Journey is a framework that outlines the journey that a hero must take in order to complete their story. 

The framework has three main parts: the Ordinary World, the Special World, and the Return to the Ordinary World.

     

      1. The Ordinary World is where the story begins. The Hero is introduced and we learn about their everyday life. 

      1. The Special World is where the adventure takes place. This is usually a completely different world from the Ordinary World and it is full of challenges. 

      1. The Return to the Ordinary World is when the Hero completes their journey and returns home.

    Now that we know the three main parts of the Hero’s Journey, let’s further break it down into the 12 steps.

    What Are The 12 Steps Of The Hero’s Journey?

    Step One: Home

    The Hero is living in their Ordinary World when they receive the call to adventure. They may not be happy with their life and feel like something is missing. 

    Step Two: The Call to Adventure

    The Hero is called to embark on their journey. This can be something they want to do or something they have to do.

    Step Three: Refusal of the Call

    The Hero does not answer the the call to adventure at the start. They may be scared or think that they are not good enough.

    Step Four: Meeting the Mentor

    The Hero meets someone who helps them get started on their journey. The mentor may provide guidance or supplies.

    Step Five: Crossing the Threshold

    The Hero crosses into the Special World and leaves their Ordinary World behind.

    Step Six: The Tests

    The Hero faces a series of tests and challenges in the Special World. They must overcome these challenges in order to complete their journey.

    Step Seven: The Approach

    The Hero comes up with a plan to complete their journey.

    Step Eight: The Ordeal

    The Hero faces their most formidable challenge yet. This is usually a life-or-death situation.

    Step Nine: The Reward

    The Hero gets something they want as a result of completing the Ordeal. This could be an object or piece of information.

    Step Ten: The Road Back

    The Hero starts to make their way back to the Ordinary World.

    Step Eleven: The Resurrection

    The Hero faces one last challenge before they can return home. This is often a physical or emotional battle.

    Step Twelve: Return with the Elixir

    The Hero completes their journey and returns to the Ordinary World with new knowledge or power. They may also have changed as a person.

    The 12 steps of the Hero’s Journey helped me immensely when I was structuring the outline of my junior fiction novel. I was also able to pace the character development of my main character Lu in terms of where he was in the journey.

    Why Is The Hero’s Journey Important To A Book Structure?

    The Hero’s Journey is important to a book structure because it provides a framework for the story.

    It helps to create a sense of suspense and anticipation for the reader. Additionally, it can help to make sure that your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end.

    If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for your story, or if you feel like your story is wandering, the Hero’s Journey can be a helpful tool. It can give you a clear path to follow to get your story back on track.

    The Hero’s Journey is also a great way to create characters that readers will care about. By following the journey, you can ensure that your characters undergo a transformation that will make them more relatable and sympathetic to readers.

    How To Apply The Hero’s Journey To Write A Book?

    While the Hero’s Journey is a helpful framework, it’s important to remember that there is no one right way to write a book.

    You can use the steps of the Hero’s Journey as a guide, but ultimately, you should follow your instincts and tell the story that you want to tell.

    If you want to use the Hero’s Journey framework in your writing, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

    First, start by creating your Ordinary World. This is the world that your Hero lives in before their adventure begins. It would help if you established what their life is like and what motivates them.

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    Photo by Krivec Ales from Pexel.

    Once you have created the Ordinary World, it’s time to introduce the Special World. This is where your Hero will face challenges and go on their adventure. It is crucial to make sure that the Special World is different enough from the Ordinary World so that it feels like a new and exciting place.

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    Photo by Kostiantyn Stupak from Pexel.

    Finally, you need to bring your Hero back to the Ordinary World. This is where they will face their final challenges and learn lessons from their journey. After they have completed their journey, they will return home changed from their experience.

     

    What Are Some Examples Of Famous Books That Use The Hero’s Journey?

    Many famous books have used the Hero’s Journey framework.

    One example is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In this series, Frodo Baggins starts in his Ordinary World, living a peaceful life in the Shire. However, he is soon called to adventure when he inherits the One Ring and must journey to Mordor to destroy it.

    Frodo faces many challenges along the way, including harsh weather, evil creatures, and his doubts and fears. However, he is helped by his friends and mentors, including Gandalf the Wizard and Aragorn, King of Gondor. In the end, Frodo successfully destroys the Ring and returns home to the Shire, changed from his journey.

    Another example of a book that uses the Hero’s Journey framework is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

    The story opens with Harry Potter living with his aunt and uncle. However, he soon discovers that he is a wizard and is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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    Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexel.

    At Hogwarts, Harry makes friends and enemies, learns about magic, and discovers his true identity. He also faces challenges, including the evil Lord Voldemort. In the end, Harry defeats Voldemort and returns home to his aunt and uncle’s house, changed from his journey.

     

    How Did Hunger Games Use The Hero’s Journey?

    In the book, Katniss Everdeen starts in her Ordinary World, living in the poverty-ridden District 12.

    However, she is soon called to adventure when she is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games.

    Katniss faces many challenges in her Special World i.e. the 74th Hunger Games, including fighting for her life against other contestants. However, she is also helped by her friends and mentors, including Haymitch Abernathy. In the end, Katniss wins the Hunger Games and returns home to District 12, changed from her journey.

     

    What Is An Example Of The Hero’s Journey In A Movie?

    One example of a hero in a movie is Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.

    Luke starts out as a farm boy living on Tatooine in the movie. However, he soon discovers that he is the son of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and is drawn into the conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire.

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    Photo by Otto Rascon from Pexel

    Luke faces many challenges during his journey, including dealing with the loss of his father and fighting against the Empire. However, he is helped by his friends and mentors, including Obi-Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia. In the end, Luke defeats the Empire and becomes a Jedi Knight himself.

     

    What Disney Movies Follow The Hero’s Journey?

    Many Disney movies follow the Hero’s Journey framework.

    For example, in the movie The Lion King, Simba starts as a young lion cub living in the Pride Lands with his father, Mufasa. However, he is soon forced to go on a journey when his father is killed, and he is exiled from the Pride Lands.

    Simba faces many challenges during his journey, including dealing with his guilt and fighting against his uncle, Scar. However, he is helped by his friends and mentors, including Timon and Pumbaa. In the end, Simba defeats Scar and returns to the Pride Lands as the new king.

     

    What Are Resources For Further Reading On The Hero’s Journey?

    If you want to learn more about the Hero’s Journey, there are a few resources you can check out.

    First, you can read The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. This book is considered the definitive work on the Hero’s Journey and will give you a thorough understanding of the framework.

    You can also check out The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. This book is a more practical guide on how to use the Hero’s Journey in your writing.

    Finally, you can read story structure books such as Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder or The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. These books will teach you about story structure and how to use it to create a great story.

    Are All Stories Hero’s Journey?

    No, not all stories follow the Hero’s Journey framework.

    However, many stories find that this framework can help create a well-rounded and exciting story. If you’re interested in using the Hero’s Journey framework in your own story, check out the resources listed above. You’ll be glad you did ?.

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