hero's journey crossing the first threshold
Writing craft

Stage V: Crossing the First Threshold

We are approaching the end of Act 1! After the hero crosses the first threshold and enters the Special World, there is no more turning back. This is the point when the hero wholeheartedly commits to the adventure.

Usually, this is where the hero gets that additional nudge that makes embarking on this adventure truly necessary. This nudge can come from external events or internal forces or, what is most often the case, a combination of both.

The archetype you may encounter at this stage is called a Threshold Guardian. This is a character or a group of characters or other forces that symbolically or quite literally guard the passage to the Special World. The hero’s task is to bypass them – be it by tricking them, beating them, convincing them, or merely acknowledging them. This will of course depend on the genre and style of the story but it’s good to know because it’s an archetype that can provide an additional challenge (and potential lesson learned) for the hero.

Useful questions for this stage of the Journey:

  • How can you raise the stakes so that the hero basically has no other choice but to go on the adventure?
  • What is the one thing that would definitely convince the hero to cross the threshold?
  • What can the hero do that would show us they are now wholeheartedly committed to the journey and that there is no turning back for them?
  • What does this stage reveal about the hero’s values and priorities?

Before you go…

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See you next week with the next stage of the Heroโ€™s Journey!

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