How Writers Can Utilize Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

Some writers think the hero’s journey only applies to fantasy stories, but author, instructor, director, and screenwriter John Henry Davis believes any author can benefit from using aspects of this template. In his 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Professor Joseph Campbell laid out the literary hero’s journey, a common path that story protagonists follow in which they emerge from an adventure transformed. Davis says it’s okay to take out pieces of the journey that don’t apply to your story, and instead just use the pieces that are relevant. For example, he considers the idea of being tested to be a helpful part of the template. In every story, characters are tested, and these tests get harder as time goes on creating dramatic questions. In this regard, all authors can learn to write better stories based on this trope.

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