There are many different resources regarding story structure and helps for writers, but arguably, none are as helpful or clear as Joseph Campbell’s,Hero’s Journey.” I decided to design my own illustration with supporting slides. See below.

The Hero’s Journey

Here are the individual stages elaborated on via copy excerpts sourced from

No. 1 – Ordinary World

“In order to give depth and meaning to your hero’s journey as a whole, you must begin by establishing the hero’s known world. Readers need to see who the hero is before their journey begins, how they live, and why it is they’re unsatisfied with their life as is.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Ordinary World

No. 2 – Call to Adventure

“After establishing your hero’s known world and their dissatisfaction with that world, it’s time to interrupt their everyday lives with a call-to-adventure. Suddenly, someone or something should present your hero with the opportunity to move outside their known world.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Call to Adventure

No. 3 – Refusal of the Call

“In some cases, if the hero does decline or ignore the initial call-to-adventure, they may simply change their mind after some deliberation. However, in most cases, a hero who has declined the call will only take it up when compelled to do so as a result of raised stakes.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Refusal of the Call

No. 4 – Meeting the Mentor

“After accepting the call-to-adventure, the hero typically encounters a being of famed, mysterious, or supernatural origins who sets out to aid them in their journey. Examples of such beings include Obi-Wan Kenobi, Albus Dumbledore, Glinda the Good Witch, and Galadriel.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Meeting the Mentor

No. 5 – Crossing the Treshold

“In The Hero’s Journey, the threshold is the literal or figurative door between worlds. The hero crosses the threshold when they leave behind their everyday life in a known world and journey into an altogether new and unknown world. Often, crossing the threshold requires the hero to complete a difficult task presented by a ‘threshold guardian’.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Crossing the Threshold

No. 6 – Test, Allies + Enemies

“After solidifying their commitment to the journey, your hero’s journey doesn’t get any easier. Trials and tribulations begin to crop up, forcing the hero to fight hard to keep moving forward. In many cases, these conflicts prey upon your hero’s doubts, fears, or personal character flaws, jostling your hero’s resolve.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Test, Allies & Enemies

No. 7 – Approach

“The first step the hero takes toward cementing their transformation is in recognizing the full power of the physical danger — often that of an archetypical villain — or the internal fear that threatens the life(s) or happiness of themselves or those they love.” – Kristen Kieffer (

The Approach

No. 8 – The Central Ordeal

“Upon making their approach to the innermost cave, the hero is faced with a task of great and dangerous importance, such as a physical fight, a complex and life-threatening puzzle, or a deep inner conflict. To emerge victorious, the hero must draw upon everything they’ve learned thus far in their journey and, in some cases, make a terrible sacrifice.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Central Ordeal

No. 9 – The Reward

“Despite finding victory at a steep cost, the hero is often rewarded for facing the great ordeal by receiving some sort of prize or reprieve, either for themselves or for their people. This most often comes in the form of receiving a magical object, receiving new insights or powers, or reuniting with a kidnapped or long-lost relation.” – Kristen Kieffer (

The Reward

No. 10 – The Road Back

“After finding victory during the great ordeal and receiving their just reward, the hero sets out for home. In many cases, they’ve fulfilled the objective they originally embarked on their journey to achieve, but their life now doesn’t quite match the vision they’d had for it when they began. Something remains amiss.” – Kristen Kieffer (

The Road Back

No. 11 – Resurrection

“At last, the hero finds themselves in their last and most dangerous encounter with death. Whether battling the story’s villain, facing great physical peril, or choosing between personal success and that of higher meaning, to emerge from this conflict unsuccessful would have vast consequences for both the hero and those they left behind in their known world.” – Kristen Kieffer (


No. 12 – Return With Elixir

“Having found and forged lasting peace, the hero crosses the threshold and re-enters their known world a changed person, having grown much and learned even more. This return may mark a celebration, a moment of great self-realization, or the saving of those the hero left behind.” – Kristen Kieffer (

Return With Elixir