This is for the plotters in the house, so if you are a hardcore pantser, this may not be your cup of tea. But, I encourage you to read it to help you consider these points as you pants to your hearts content.
The Hero's Journey was first mentioned to me at the 2017 Wattcon event in Toronto by Wattpad 4s Rebecca Sky and LD Critchon. One plotter, one pantser, outlining the benefits of both storytelling options. It allows you to craft a well plotted journey for your character that will captivate and thrill your readers.
There are several different approaches to the same end, the same steps to the finale. I will be using Campbell's 17 steps in this outline.
The Call to Adventure
Your MC starts off in their ordinary world. Ground your reader in what the MC considers normal, so readers can understand when he change occurs to the adventure itself. It is here that information is received that acts as a catalyst and calls the MC towards the adventure.
Refusal of the Call
It is not uncommon for the MC to reject the call to adventure when it first occurs. Not wanting to leave the safety of the ordinary is normal, so don't be afraid to have your MC not want to follow through at first.
Meeting the Mentor
The mentor could be the one to convince the MC to embark on the adventure. In a fantasy story, the mentor would possibly present the MC with an artifact that will aid them. This person generally helps the MC through the story.
Crossing the First Threshold
This is where the MC leaves the ordinary behind, and ventures into the unknown. Rules and limits may blur in this step, as the MC learns new aspects and truths they had not known before.
Belly of the Whale
This is the final step from the MC's ordinary world into the unknown. This is when the MC willingly changes, and when the first setback usually occurs.
The Road of Trials
In this step, the MC begins a transformation. In City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, MC Clary begins to embrace her Shadowhunter roots, and learns to accept and harness her skills. Often the MC will fail more than once during this discovery, but eventually overcomes the trials and moves on.
The Meeting with the Goddess
The MC will gain something that will aid them in the future. This can be a physical thing, or emotional, knowledge, ect.
The Woman as Temptress
All MCs face temptation, in one way or another. This doesnt have to be a person, but could be a thing, a possibility that threatens to throw the MC off course. A rival college temping your MC away from their dream school? A lover making them question their purpose? This step is all about tempting your MC to give up what they thought was their goal.
Atonement with the Father
This is all about the hero confronting the conflict. All the steps thus far have led to this point, and all those that come will be directed by the choice the MC makes here. This encounter does not have to be a person, as mentioned previously. It just has to be something with power that the MC stands up against.
Here, the MC finds understanding for everything they have faced so far. It is where the MC finds resolve to go forward and face what is still to come. It is all about strength and reaffirmation.
The Ultimate Boon
The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal. It is the point the MC was aiming for, and the purpose for the adventure. In Lord of the Rings, this is where Frodo finally achieves the goal, and casts the one ring into Mordor.
Refusal of the Return
After adventures in wonderful worlds, it may be difficult for the MC to return to the ordinary. After bliss with the dream partner, going back to singledom may be hard. After living in the city, returning to a small town may make the MC question what they truly want. This is all about finding your way back to the ordinary now that your MC has been changed.
The Magic Flight
Returning from an adventure can be as difficult as it was to embark on it in the first place. The MC is changed, and these changes may be difficult to fit back into the ordinary world. This is where you consider who your MC is now, and how they fit in their world again.
Rescue from Without
Just as a mentor may have guided them forward the adventure, the MC may need help returning to the real world. If they have been wounded or weakened from the experience, they will require help to return.
The Crossing of the Return Threshold
To return to the ordinary with the newfound wisdom and experience will allow the MC to add that experience to those around them. Such as in Divergent by Veronica Roth, as Tris discovers the reality of the factions, she shares it with the rest of those involved.
Master of Two Worlds
Now it is about balance. This could be between the material and spiritual, or who the MC was before and who they are after the experience. They become the master of themselves, and their two worlds.
Freedom to Live
Also known as living in the moment, accepting the past and the ups and downs of the adventure, and not worrying about the unknowns of the future. The MC finds solace in the world they are in now, and who they have become through the story.