The Hero’s Journey Part 4 Conclusion

So the hero has finally managed to find their way through the journey so far and make it through the Supreme Ordeal. The hero is done with her journey, right?

As I mentioned before, if you’re writing a shorter novel (anywhere in the 50K to 75K area), yes, the hero is done now and it’s time to head to the Return with the Elixer (or THE END) where the hero takes whatever prize she has seized along the journey and uses it in order to have a Happily Ever After (or if you’re writing a series, a Happily for the Moment).

But in a longer book, there is time to test the hero to see if she has truly learned her lesson and overcome her conflict. This step in the journey is Resurrection.


  • A second life-and-death moment (a la Supreme Ordeal)
  • Death and darkness get in one last shot before finally being defeated
  • Opportunity to show how the hero has absorbed lessons from the journey
  • The stakes are at their highest here and you must show the awareness the hero has attained during the various trials and tests
  • The change should not be abrupt, but should have been gradually becoming obvious to the reader
  • For a longer book, this is an important part of the plot as the reader must be sitting on the edge of their seats wondering if the hero will do the right thing. This is the point where the hero truly confirms that she is worthy of the title of HERO.

    If the hero manages to do the right thing, then and only then can she continue on her journey toward the Happily Ever After, otherwise known as Return with the Elixir.

    Return with the Elixir

  • Hero returns to the Ordinary World
  • Hero brings with her some Elixir — the lesson or treasure from the Special World
  • That elixir can be some treasure or love, freedom, wisdom, knowledge or sometimes, just coming home with a good story to tell.
  • The end of the story should bring jubilation not just on the part of the hero, but on the part of the reader who has followed the journey and can now celebrate that the hero has returned not only safe and sound, but also possibly as a better person.

    For a handout with the complete Hero’s Journey as described in this series of articles, please click here. As previously recommended, you may wish to take this hand out and watch either STAR WARS or OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN to see how these movies follow the Hero’s Journey. You can also check out DEATH CALLS (Nocturne, Dec 2006) as well as my women’s fiction release, SEX AND THE SOUTH BEACH CHICAS (Downtown Press, Sep 2006) to see how the Hero’s Journey is applied to the structure of a novel. In particular, the CHICAS book follows 4 different women as they take their journey and each of the stories follows the Hero’s Journey to some extent (again, as the length of the work allows).

    ***THE END***
    Copyright 2006 Caridad Pineiro Scordato