Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Hero's Journey

Every story- whether literary or popular fiction follows a similar path. This path has been defined as "The Hero's Journey." I have been writing for 15 years and I had quite forgotten this little piece of plotting fun until it was mentioned at a writer's critique I attended. I smiled inwardly because I could identify all 17 steps in my current work in progress. The Hero's Journey has become innate in my story telling process.

If you are a beginner or simply haven't heard of this journey you can find a simple list at

Or you can simply google or Yahoo search hero's journey and there are millions of places to find it.

Why bring it up? Because sometimes it's good to refresh your knowledge of the foundations of story telling. I was please to note that my story did indeed start with a 'Call to Adventure" and end with the "Freedom to Live." Not to mention the 15 other steps in between.

People have an idea that story telling-particularly romance stories is easy. These are people who don't understand the work that goes into the structure of the story. Romance stories have twice the work of other genres-for instance thrillers. Why? Because they have twice the plot. First you have to plot what happens to the hero/heroine in their daily lives. Then you have to plot what happens in their romantic lives. Then you get to weave the two plots together to create a romantic story. Yes, it's a lot of work and huge attention to detail. But for me and other romance writers-its actually fun. That's why we do it.

If you are a writer-take a moment and review the hero's journey, you may be surprised at what you do instinctively and what you may have missed. If you're not a writer, but wonder what it takes, look up the hero's journey, read the 17 steps. You just might be impressed at how much work and thought goes into the craft.


Carrie Lofty said...

A little birdy from Racine told me that you finished a draft this week. Congrats :)

Morgan Mandel said...

I love your book cover. I can hardly wait for the book to come out.

I try to remember the journey thing when I write, but most of the time I just write what comes to me.

Morgan Mandel

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks, Carrie. Now it's time to revise, revise, revise. :)