The Hero’s Journey in 27 Seconds

James Garside

Photo by Rock’n Roll Monkey

A useful rule of thumb for writing a novel

Hat-tip to Joseph Campbell who popularised and summarised the hero myth ofter studying the world's myths and condensing them down in to one story.

Here is everything you need to know at a glance about what happens on the hero's journey. You can use it to plan your novel — for example one chapter per section — or to improve your stories in general.

This is the story underneath every story.


Act I

Set up — Introduce hero & ordinary world

C1: Introduction (set up)

C2: Inciting incident (conflict)

C3: Immediate reaction (resolution)

Conflict — A problem disrupts hero’s life

C4: Reaction (set up)

C5: Action (conflict)

C6: Consequence (resolution)

Resolution — Hero’s’ life has changed direction

C7: Pressure (set up)

C8: Pinch (conflict)

C9: Push (resolution)

Act II

Set up — Hero explores new world

C10: New world (set up)

C11: Fun & games (event/conflict)

C12: Old world contrast (resolution)

Conflict — Hero encounters crisis of new world

C13: Build up (set up)

C14: Midpoint (conflict)

C15: Reversal (resolution)

Resolution — Hero dedicates to finding a solution.

C16: Reaction (set up)

C17: Action (conflict)

C18: Dedication (resolution)


Set up — Hero faces defeat, victory seems impossible.

C19: Trials (set up)

C20: Pinch (event/conflict)

C21: Darkest moment (resolution)

Conflict — Hero must find power and take action

C22: Power within (set up)

C23: Action (conflict)

C24: Converge (resolution)

Resolution — Hero fights and wins, resolving quest

C25: Battle (set up)

C26: Climax (conflict)

C27: Resolution (resolution)

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NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author and travel writer.


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