Methods to plot a novel utilizing the Hero’s Journey construction

Preparation is the important thing to ending a novel! Even for those who’re a pantser (or discovery author), having a normal thought of the place the story goes is a good suggestion. However how are you going to provide you with a great construction that makes your story constant and well-rounded? Fortunately for you, you don’t should! The Hero’s Journey is the most well-liked novel construction on the market, and for good cause. Let’s check out how you should utilize it!

What’s the Hero’s Journey (in short)

You may additionally know the Hero’s Journey because the Monomyth! No matter you realize it as, it’s a plot construction initially formulated by Joseph Campbell. However he didn’t simply pull it out from skinny air! It is a construction that’s current within the earliest myths and people tales of the world, which implies it’s an incredible instrument to research them. And, in fact, it’s an effective way to construction a narrative in a round method, which feels very satisfying to the reader.

The Hero’s Journey is split into the next 12 steps.

  1. The Extraordinary World: Because the identify says, that is the recognized world the place the hero lives. Nevertheless, the world “suffers from a symbolic deficiency”. That’s to say, the hero is missing one thing.
  2. The Name to Journey: That is the place the hero first will get a problem or an issue to resolve. This establishes the hero’s objective for the story.
  3. The Refusal of the Name: Normally, the hero is reluctant, so that they gained’t settle for the decision to journey at first. Earlier than that, they want a robust motivation to just accept the problem.
  4. Assembly with the Mentor: a clever particular person prepares the hero for the journey. They’ll give them recommendation or useful assets (like a robust merchandise), however they gained’t go together with the hero all the best way to the tip.
  5. Crossing the Threshold: the hero has accepted their job and enters the particular world (i.e. the place the place the journey occurs). There’s usually a “threshold guardian”.
  6. Exams, Allies and Enemies: the hero learns the particular world’s guidelines by assembly its inhabitants. By means of the circumstances of this new world, the hero’s true traits are revealed.
  7. Strategy to the Innermost Cave: the hero, usually with some allies, will get to the sting of the harmful place the place they’ll discover the item of the search.
  8. The Ordeal: it is a high-stakes second, usually life-or-death, that challenges the hero. It might be bodily or psychological.
  9. Reward: the hero survives and will get the item of the search. It doesn’t should be a bodily object: it might be data, reconciliation, or the rest.
  10. The Street Again: actions have penalties, and that is the place they arrive crashing down! For instance, the enemy’s remaining forces might pursue the hero, who now must determine to return to the strange world.
  11. The Resurrection: that is the final take a look at the hero must undergo to be reborn.
  12. Return: the hero returns to the strange world with the elixir. The elixir is an emblem that might be knowledge, freedom, love, treasure, or the rest.

Try this video to be taught extra about plotting a novel!

What are the steps of the Hero’s Journey Plot Kind intimately?


We start the Hero’s Journey by presenting a world that feels regular. Certain, you possibly can have fireballs-shooting wizards, spaceships, or three-eyed aliens—however it must be a part of the conventional life in your world. To strengthen that, be sure that the protagonist is a mean particular person happening their common life. They’ll (and may) have attention-grabbing options, however nothing that might be world-changing… but. That is so the reader can higher relate to the hero, which implies that they’ll care extra about them.

Take your time to current the world’s core values or themes, too. The darkish evil forces, no matter they is likely to be, will threaten these values, so be certain that the reader cares about them too! Lastly, give all the things a false sense of safety, make your readers suppose “What might probably occur on this stunning and peaceable nation?” The Hero’s Journey is all about set-up and pay-off, and by establishing a peaceable world after which attacking it, the readers will really feel extra concerned with the hero’s wrestle!

The residents of Emond’s Discipline lead strange lives. Rand al’Thor, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene are youths coming of age in a quiet agrarian city. Rand and Egwene have a romantic curiosity in each other, whereas Rand, Mat, and Perrin are boyhood mates.

— The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan


The decision to journey is often a single, sudden occasion (typically you’ll see it known as “inciting incident”). The decision might come from an individual, from the invention of an historical object or data, from a violent assault, or the rest that might shake up the strange world. Generally, the risk comes from throughout the world (for instance, in The Starvation Video games, the decision to journey is the celebration of the Reaping), whereas typically it comes from with out (in The Lord of the Rings, the One Ring is a international object to the Shire).

Harry receives letter after letter to attend Hogwarts. When they’re ignored, he receives a whole lot of acceptance letters. These letters are delivered with persistence, in varied magical, and unthinkable, methods.

— Harry Potter and the Thinker’s Stone, J. Ok. Rowling


What would most individuals do when confronted with a problem that may put them (and probably the entire world) in peril? Most individuals will refuse, and since we’ve established that the hero must be an strange particular person, they are going to refuse too. That is one other alternative to point out your hero in a relatable gentle. Present their flaws, their persona, and ensure the reader understands why they’re refusing.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be an express refusal. Perhaps the hero tries however fails instantly, or they begin the journey however then rooster out and return dwelling. Or they might even genuinely suppose that there isn’t any precise hazard, so why ought to they do something about it?

Initially warned by some passing hunters that she, the Unicorn, will be the final of her variety, the unicorn doesn’t consider that she is. As time passes, and no others come close to, the Unicorn’s doubt and fear turns into so nice that she leaves her forest to hunt out any trace of her personal variety.

— The Final Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle


The hero is an strange individual that most individuals deal with as such. Nevertheless, there’s somebody who is aware of the hero is one thing extra than simply an “common Joe”: enter the mentor! The duty the hero has to just accept is extremely tough, so the mentor will likely be there to coach them and infrequently go together with the hero for at the least a part of the journey. The mentor is often an older one that can not full the duty on their very own—or, alternatively, they’re younger sufficient however one thing prevents them (demise is a typical resolution to this).

Nevertheless, demise is never everlasting in mentors. Generally actually (like Gandalf), however most frequently they dwell on in spirit—Dumbledore, Mufasa, and Obi-Wan die, however they nonetheless handle to present recommendation and encourage the heroes. In fact, not all mentors die both: they will simply be sidelined, like what occurs to Haymitch in The Starvation Video games (he’s forbidden to enter the sector, so he’s compelled to mentor Katniss from a distance).

By means of a seemingly probability encounter, Arthur, or Wart, as he’s known as, stumbles upon the cottage of Merlyn. Merlyn is a wizard who then goes again dwelling with Wart and turns into his tutor, educating him the best way to grow to be an incredible man by a sequence of magical transformations that educate him in regards to the animal kingdom.

— The Sword within the Stone, T. H. White


That is the edge between the primary and the second act—in addition to between the recognized and unknown world! Keep in mind that Lord of the Rings scene the place Sam notes that if he takes yet one more step, it is going to be the farthest away from dwelling he’s even been? Effectively, that’s the edge. However it doesn’t should be a bodily place: in The Matrix, Neo crosses the edge when he takes the pink capsule.

Crossing the edge is a harmful factor to do. There’s usually a “Guardian of the edge”—a brand new hazard the hero must face with a view to hold going. Going again to The Lord of the Rings, shortly after Sam’s scene, the 4 hobbits encounter a Nazgûl and Frodo virtually falls into the One Ring’s temptation. This not solely exhibits the risks of the brand new world, but in addition humbles the hero, which raises the stakes.

After setting out secretly, Eleanor stops in Hillsdale for lunch and is confronted by the resentful individuals within the gasoline station. The street that results in Hill Home is rutted and in poor situation, and the timber themselves appear to attempt to hold her from continuing. The gate is “clearly locked– locked and double locked and chained and barred,” and to achieve entrance she should face the home’s guardian, Mr. Dudley, who’s altogether unwelcoming and tries to persuade her to depart. At the same time as she drives her automotive up the driveway, she feels an amazing sense that the home itself is vile. Each transfer towards the home is a deliberate alternative that Eleanor should make with all of her power. This deep inside unwillingness to enter Hill Home is one other threshold guardian.

–The Haunting of Hill Home, Shirley Jackson


In the course of the journey, the hero might want to overcome many various challenges and trials. However they gained’t be alone: they’ll discover allies and enemies alongside their path. If the hero began as an strange particular person, why ought to we consider they’re hero? That’s your alternative to point out the reader the protagonist’s heroic traits. Push them previous their limits and ensure they be taught and develop from the trials. Don’t put them right into a tough scenario simply to point out the reader how cool they’re—they need to wrestle, and they need to rise a greater particular person after they overcome it.

Use the hero’s allies to point out how they cope with different individuals. That is one other side of the story that may allow you to develop the hero as a personality and humanize them. A hero who spends the story overcoming trials will hardly really feel relatable—however put them in a dialog with a good friend, and so they’ll instantly grow to be regular people once more! In fact, a number of the individuals the hero meets ought to be enemies or one thing in between ally and enemy. Coping with enemies and character battle is a good alternative to develop the hero’s persona.

The get together of dwarves (and hobbit, Bilbo) are trapped by trolls, however are saved by Gandalf. They journey to Rivendell and obtain support from Elrond. As they go by the Misty Mountains, goblins catch them. Whereas the get together is saved by Gandalf, Bilbo is separated from them within the tunnels. He’s discovered by Gollum, who provides to steer him out, in alternate for the solutions to a sequence of riddles. He manages to flee on his personal by the facility of the invisibility ring that he discovered. This ring aids him all through the remainder of his trials in Mirkwood forest, the place he is ready to save the get together of dwarves from large spiders, and from the Wooden-elves’ dungeon.

–The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien


The ultimate confrontation will happen within the “cave”: an evil place managed by whoever or regardless of the massive evil is. Nevertheless, earlier than getting there, the hero has to method it. That is often a second the place the hero contemplates their journey, prepares for the ultimate confrontation, confesses their secrets and techniques and fears, or is deserted by a few of their companions. That is the set-up of the ultimate battle, so it’s crucial to get it proper!

Be sure that the stakes are as excessive as they are often to your story, and that they’re clear to the reader. This final job will likely be extraordinarily difficult, and if the hero fails, the world will finish (or no matter matches your story). The hero not has doubts about their abilities: they know they need to full the duty, and they’ll. At this level within the story, there isn’t a turning again.

Carrie and Tommy have arrived on the Promenade, regardless of all odds. His mates welcome her, although they aren’t her mates. Regardless of the dread she felt getting into the promenade, and the concerns of Sue, all the things appears to be going properly. Then the Promenade King and Queen are introduced, and each Carrie and Tommy are stunned to be chosen, heading in the direction of the stage.

— Carrie, Stephen King


That is the climax, the ultimate battle. It’s an virtually inconceivable problem to beat, and it might be an motion sequence, a take a look at of wit, or the rest, relying in your story. The objective of the scene is for the hero to get the item of the search, no matter it is likely to be. Be sure that it’s not a string of fixed taking pictures, slashing, and working. Makes use of pauses to your benefit: the protagonist might have a brief inside monologue or a dialog with one other character, for instance. This can let your readers catch their breath and the next motion sequences will likely be extra impactful.

Keep in mind that the motion just isn’t the one battle on this scene. If the hero doesn’t be taught something, doesn’t develop as an individual, and doesn’t have any inside battle, the scene will really feel empty. The motion scene ought to be as epic and high-stakes as the inner battle!

In the course of the remaining battle, Garion faces the God of Angarak, Torak. This battle was foretold for a whole lot of years, and the god tries to tempt him, however is refused. Garion vanquishes him with the sword of the Rivan King, bringing peace to all of the lands.

–Enchanter’s Finish Recreation, David Eddings

Step 9: REWARD

After the ordeal, the hero is rewarded with the item of their quest. This might be wealth, a legendary weapon or magic merchandise, knowledge or data, or no matter you arrange within the story. Nevertheless, this isn’t the tip of the story! Most of the time, the hero will uncover that this reward doesn’t fulfill their inside battle. For instance, in The Lord of the Rings, after the Ring is destroyed, the story is much from completed, as a result of many characters have inside conflicts that they nonetheless must work out (and, within the books, there’s nonetheless Saruman to cope with).

After the Narnian military defeated the White Witch’s forces and Aslan kills her, there’s peace as soon as extra in Narnia. As a reward for his or her function within the battle, the Pevensie youngsters are topped excessive kings and excessive queens on the fortress in Cair Paravel.

–The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis


The hero begins their journey again to the strange world. This might be a literal journey, an inside monologue or some other type of scene that provides the reader a sense of safety and familiarity. However then, this sense is thwarted by a brand new risk! Or moderately, by the remnants of the previous risk. Conflicts are hardly ever resolved in a single go, so that is your alternative to not solely make the battle a bit extra life like but in addition to point out the resilience of your hero. This new problem shouldn’t be as tough because the Ordeal, however it ought to nonetheless be difficult.

After defeating Arawn’s forces and the defeat of Annuvin, Taran and his allies journey dwelling to Caer Dallben. Right here, the champions uncover their journey just isn’t fairly completed; the Sons of Don and all these with magic, will now should depart Prydain for the Summer time Nation.

–The Excessive King, Lloyd Alexander


The hero should die to allow them to resurrect. However after I say “die”, I don’t essentially imply bodily! The resurrection is a breaking level for the hero: after the scene, their opinions, values, or emotions will change. Be sure that the hero ears their resurrection too. For instance, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry willingly goes into the Darkish Forest, understanding that he’ll most likely die. He doesn’t (type of), however he was nonetheless prepared to sacrifice his life for everybody he liked. That’s what makes him a hero and why his resurrection is so highly effective. To take issues to the subsequent degree, apply this resurrection to the world across the hero too!

Ged faces the shadow that has pursued him since its launch throughout his magical duel. By giving the shadow his personal identify, he is ready to face it lastly, merging with it. He’s reborn, lastly healed and complete from his earlier accidents.

–The Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Ok. Le Guin

Step 12: RETURN

That is the final step of the Hero’s Journey: the hero returns to the strange world with an elixir, which, once more, is only a image! The elixir is something that “heals” their group, bodily, emotionally, or spiritually. That is the precise ending of your story, and the hero fixes no matter is damaged on the earth.

After listening to the entire story from the vampire Louis, the reporter continues to be determined to be turned immortal. Angering the vampire, by clearly not receiving his message, the vampire assaults the younger reporter earlier than disappearing into the evening.

— Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice

Methods to write a Hero’s Journey story?

World Anvil has all of the instruments it’s good to write your Hero’s Journey novel! Begin by creating the Hero’s Journey construction in Whiteboards to show all the things visually and interactively. Then, if it’s good to, use plot articles to show the construction into a correct define. Lastly, open Manuscripts, our novel writing software program, to create your story whereas having all of your outlines and worldbuilding at your fingertips. When you’re finished, you possibly can publish and even monetize your work on World Anvil!

Prepared to begin outlining your novel? Create your account to get began!

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