Start Your Hero’s Journey

Are you ready to start your hero’s journey?

The Hero’s Journey, or monomyth, is the common template for stories that involve a victorious hero who returns home from an adventure and has changed, generally for the better. Several theorists have studied the hero mythology, from anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor in 1871, to psychoanalyst Otto Rank in 1909, anthropologist Lord Raglan in 1936, and writer Professor Joseph Campbell in 1949. Contemporary theorists include Emeritus Professor David Adams Leeming (1981), screenwriter and lecturer Philip Cousineau (1990), and screenwriter and lecturer Christopher Vogler (2007).

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” 

– Joseph Campbell

The Hero’s Journey can be broken into three acts: Departure, Initiation, and Return. Campbell describes 17 stages of the monomyth. Leeming and Cousineau both break the journey into 8 stages. Whilst Vogler describes the journey in 12 stages. Each pattern provides a literary formula for writing a mythical tale. The Heroine’s Journey (1990) by Maureen Murdock and From Girl to Goddess (2010) by Valerie Estelle Frankel both consider the steps of the female hero, which tend to flow from a deep soul searching through to a spiritual awakening rather than the external quest undertaken by the masculine hero.

Modern literary examples of the Heroine’s Journey include Buffey: The Vampire Slayer, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

What novels or movies or even comic books can you recall that explore the Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey? Is this a literary style you wish to explore? Come join our writing course and start your hero’s journey.