When my roommate first introduced me to the Hero’s Journey (an outline of narrative structure put tout by Joseph Campbell) three years ago, I thought, “How have I never heard of this?” I have a Bachelor in English Literature and a Masters in Publishing, and I had never heard of this. I thought I must have been the last person to have heard about it.
Until…my blog manager (who works for guacamole) was reading something I wrote and questioned it. She said I used the term like it was known. From my perspective, it was. I had seen it used in editorial letters from internships I had worked. My roommate uses it in his daily professional life.
And I suddenly felt like I was in on this super-secret thing, when really, as a reader/student/editor I should have not just heard about this only a few years ago.
Now, I am not going on a tangent about education or any of that, but I figured, in case you, my readers, have never heard of it, I will just lay it out there for you. It might be helpful when doing reviews or crafting your own story.
So without further ado, I give you a simple outline of the Hero’s Journey:
- A character is in a zone of comfort.
- But they want something.
- They enter an unfamiliar situation.
- Adapt to it.
- Get what they wanted.
- Pay a heavy price for it.
- Then return to their familiar situation.
- Having changed.