The Hero’s Journey: A Narrative Pattern
“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” WILLA CATHER
It’s impossible to cover the topic of narration during this month without touching upon THE HERO’S JOURNEY.
First identified by American scholar Joseph Campbell, it appears in storytelling across generations. Once you understand the basic narrative pattern you will recognize it immediately in myth and legends, more often in Hollywood blockbuster movies. Many filmmakers owe their success to this enduring story pattern.
The main character, the hero, accomplishes amazing feats on behalf of the rest of us. The story focuses on his journey or adventure. The hero is a universal character, crossing time and cultures.
The stages are as follows:
- The Ordinary World
2. The Call of Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting the Mentor
5. Crossing the First Threshold
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
8. The Ordeal
9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)
10. The Road Back
12. Return with the Elixir
One of the most obvious movies that uses this pattern of narration is STAR WARS. Luke Skywalker receives the call to adventure but refuses at first. Watch this movie again and take notes as you follow the outline above. I encourage you to find out more about the Hero’s Journey and how it can help you develop your characters and the plot of your book.