Hero’s journey, that is. You’ve probably already been exposed to the idea (or monomyth) of the hero’s journey, as put forward by Joseph Campbell: person in the normal world receives a call to action, refuses it, is called again, and goes on a journey whereon he meets enemies and allies and faces challenges. After facing an ordeal, the hero claims the treasure, takes the road back home, arrives home changed (resurrected) and gives of the wisdom or treasure he has received to others. (Yes, this is an overly simplified version. There are many resources to learn more about this journey — I like The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.)
This pattern can be seen in many books and movies, from The Hobbit to The Wizard of Oz to Star Wars. It’s not peculiar to genre fiction, however. In his book, Vogler talks about Titanic, The Full Monty, and Pulp Fiction. Whether you agree with his structure analyses is up to you.
There are other satisfying story structures, and there’s a lot of flexibility in the way this journey is interpreted, as there is in the archetypes that the hero meets along the way. It’s just another tool for looking at how a story can work.
Have you ever noticed the hero’s journey in your reading? Used it in your writing? Do you find it useful in any way, or merely an academic curiosity?
This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is epic fantasy, and blog posts will cover authors, books, tropes, themes, or anything else I can think of to fill the alphabet. Check out some of the other bloggers participating or follow my blog by e-mail if you like what you’ve read.