Monday, June 29, 2009

The Call to Adventure

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Welcome back to our discussion of the Hero’s Journey.

With my recent postings, I wrote about the formula writers use to insure your story is well-told. (Sorry, I said, “well-told”, not well-written. I know of no shortcuts in that regard.) To date we saw how you set up your story by following a proven formula for weaving your tale, The Hero’s Journey. This twelve-step recipe gives your story a framework that will present your readers a well-crafted narrative every time.

I also introduced you to step one of the Hero’s Journey called “Ordinary World.” In this part of your story, you show your reader who your hero is in real life. I sort of look at this as showing your reader what it is your hero is going to lose.

What’s next? My one of my favorite parts of the story, the Call to Adventure!

In this part of the blueprint, your hero “sees” what is going to change his life. He may experience it, dream it, (though be stingy with dreams), see it or even taste it. But, he must receive the Call to Adventure.

Did you watch or at least mentally review the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope as I recommended in my last post? (Yes, there is homework.) In the film, when did our hero, Luke Skywalker, experience his Call to Adventure? It happened when he was cleaning the droids and R2D2 projected the message from Princess Leia to Obi Wan Kenobe. Something exciting stumbled into his life, didn’t it?

Okay, so what? Why even bother with the Call to Adventure in your novel? If I were to quote an old professor, it’s because, “I said so!” In reality, I see this as the tool to inform your hero what path he needs to follow. Keep in mind, if your hero doesn’t know what is required of him, neither will your readers and you will lose them. I think you can see how it also moves the story along and brings your readers into your story.

Okay, so let’s recap. The Hero’s Journey is the proven technique for storytelling. The Ordinary World is step one and it shows what your hero is going to lose. And the Call to Adventure establishes the reason his is going to have to leave his Ordinary World.

What’s next you ask? Your hero Refuses the Call.


More on that next time, folks.

Until then, good writing.



  1. This formula of yours is very interesting. I mainly write short stories but I've been toying with an idea for a novel, but didn't know where to start. This is giving my place to begin. Thank you.

  2. Dear The Knittymommy.
    It is my true pleasure to help.