The Hero’s Journey Part 3

Your hero has been yanked from her Ordinary World, she stumbled a bit when she refused the Call to Adventure, but after finding a Mentor (or not), she’s moved forward, meeting Friends, Earning Enemies and passing an assortment of Tests until she’s finally ready to take the next step in the Hero’s Journey! (As an aside, after I finish these articles, I will post a handout for you to download that has the entire Hero’s Journey. I would recommend you take that list and watch either STAR WARS — the original — or OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN so that you can see how the Hero’s Journey is put to use. Both of these follow the journey nearly step-by-step.)

The Supreme Ordeal:

  • Fortunes of the hero hit rock bottom
  • This is a critical moment and is the major source of the heroic myth
  • Will the hero live or die, or appear to die so that they may be born again
  • This is the crisis. The central event of the story.
  • Hero faces her greatest fear
  • The Supreme Ordeal is the moment where we wonder whether the hero will live or die or whether they will be hero enough to deal with this great test. The hero must resolve their biggest conflict or face their greates fear at this part of the story.

    If you are writing a shorter novel, this will be the only crisis/conflict in the story because the shorter length dictates that you cannot have the hero face another challenge before the story ends.

    When the hero survives this Supreme Ordeal, she will hopefully know something either about herself or about the world around her. This knowledge/information is the next step in the journey.

    Reward (Seizing the Sword):

  • Having survived, the hero celebrates
  • Hero takes possession of the Reward
  • Sometimes the Reward is Knowledge
  • Often a place in the story where the hero and his allies recall what has happened and how they have reached this place
  • These quiet moments allow us to get to know the characters better
  • The hero is now better or stronger than she was before, either physically or emotionally. She is ready to take all that she has learned on the journey so far and apply it to either her Ordinary World or the new world to which the journey has taken her. It is at this point that the hero must decide what to do.

    The Road Back:

  • Decision to return to the Ordinary World
  • Special World is left behind as the hero returns to a starting point or continues on her journey
  • This can be another moment of crisis or a reversal of the Hero’s good fortune
  • The change in the hero’s character must be shown at this stage
  • ***End Part Three***

    The Final Steps in the Hero’s Journey are:
    Return with the Elixir

    Copyright 2006 Caridad Pineiro Scordato