Hero’s journey – Call to Adventure

Call to adventure

This is a breakdown of the term and the concept of the stage of the Hero’s journey known as Call to adventure to give a greater understanding of the stage and options when writing.

The Call to Adventure can be defined as some information, presented in the form of a problem, a challenge or a request, which is received by the hero and will require some form of action which takes him off into the unknown


Definition – need, cause for action

Synonyms – alarm, signal, justification, necessity, obligation, scream, signal, peep, roar, awaken, appeal to, summon, warning


Definition – risky or unexpected undertaking

Synonyms – Chance, endangerment, enterprise, experience, feat, incident, peril, undertaking, venture, jeopardise

Another definition of Call to adventure is A pull to the unknown

A pull towards the unknown


Definition – Drawing something with force

Synonyms – dislocate, drag, extract, haul, pluck, tear, tug , wrench, allure, coax, persuade, tempt


Definition – obscure, mysterious

Synonyms – alien, exotic, uncharted, unexplained, hidden

This is an act which happens to the hero, how the hero responds to this incident is what launches the story into act 2.

Destiny has summoned the hero.


How to use these breakdowns

Look at the Call to adventure of your story in terms of A pull to the unknown, is your hero’s introduction to this information closer to a wrench or tempt? Dislocate or allure? What if you swapped the type of synonym? for example, instead of a femme fetale hiring a detective to investigate a crime (allure or tempt) you flip it and have a bunch of guys beating him up and warn him away from any investigations (tear or wrench). Then consider what you gain and what you lose, how you want to portray your lead character. Flipping scenes like this can also give you material for more scenes.

Look at the word unknown. What kind of story are you telling if your hero is going off into the unknown where the unknown is hidden as opposed to alien? It’s a completely different story. You may be bogged down with writer’s block and have no idea what to write next. Come back to the Call and examine the direction you’ve gone in. Do you open up any new aspects of the story by considering exactly how you’re defining the Call to Adventure.

Finding Nemo

In Finding Nemo the Call to Adventure is Nemo being taken by the deep sea diver, this is more of an alarm or wrench style of call. If you wanted more ideas you could try tempt or allure and have Nemo go off to join a school of fish who are offering a more exciting lifestyle than his father can give him. It’s a different story and it may give you new ideas. Toy Story 2 flipped it around with Woody originally being stolen (wrench) but then offering him a life in a museum as a collectors item (tempt).

7 Replies to “Hero’s journey – Call to Adventure”

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