hero's journey stage two: call to adventure
Writing craft

Stage II: The Call to Adventure

What is the Call to Adventure about?

As much as we’d all like to have the perfect Ordinary World for our heroes, that world is static but unstable. Soon, a wind of change blows and that wind is called The Call to Adventure. This stage is also often known as The Hook since this is usually what sparks your audience’s interest as it gets the story rolling. Fans of Save the Cat! will also recognise it as the Catalyst (an event that changes the status quo).

The Call to Adventure doesn’t have to be so literal. The change in your hero’s ordinary world can happen in many different ways. It also doesn’t have to be some grand life-altering change. This will all depend on your story’s genre, your hero, theme, and for whom you are writing the story.

(For example, the Calls to Adventure are vastly different in the following stories: Hamlet, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Anna Karenina, Pretty Woman, Bob the Builder, John Wick, and so on. You get the point.)

I find this to be one of the easiest stages for writers – to plot or to write. Not always, but usually, the Call to Adventure is part of the initial idea for a story anyway. It’s probably because of its nature – it indicates a big change that sparks curiosity and makes you wonder about what will happen next.

But if you’re ever struggling with your Call to Adventure, think of the following:

  • What is your character’s main flaw/problem? What do they lack the most? The Call will probably be connected to it in some way.
  • The Ordinary World is not perfect (even if it looks so at first glance). What is it that can destabilise it and change it drastically? The Call may stem from that.
  • What will be your story’s main themes? What will be your character’s biggest challenges and lessons learned? The Call may also be connected to those.

Before you go…

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See you next week with the next stage of the Hero’s Journey!

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