The Hero’s Journey: Part 1 – Departure

Joseph Campbell studied mythology and religion.

His seminal work, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” is considered gospel to modern speculative fiction writers. It is the common template for tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.

The first part of a hero’s journey deals with departing the normality of every day humdrum. Campbell breaks this section of the plot development up into five parts. Today we will be concentrating on the first two elements.

The Call to Adventure:

A story begins when the hero is ripped from their normal life. The catalyst is so dire he is forced to act, but reacting to the catalyst sends the hero off into the unknown.

Refusal of the Call:

Of course, the first true character-defining moment is when they consider refusing the call to adventure, they have laundry to do, gout, a dog to walk.


“Follow your bliss.””– Joseph Campbell


The Prompt:

The challenge is to create compelling excuses to keep the character from going but make the pull to adventure so overpowering they cannot reject it.

In writing this scene remember the hero lives a normal life, a life that is overturned and he is faced with the decision to leave comfort for uncertainty.


“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea – any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!” — Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, Unexpected Party

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Art by: loish