Hero’s Journey in Short Stories

Today I came by an article by accident, and I thought it was worth sharing. It describes the structures used in short stories, and how they correspond to the Hero’s Journey. The main article is definitely worth the read, but here are a few points I took home, and I’ll share with you:

  • Short stories tend to have parts of the structure pared down.
  • It is important that the steps “take place” in the context of the story.
  • It isn’t necessary to show each step (in detail).

Two example structures proposed in said article. First Example:

The first few steps of the journey: a challenge, a rejection of the challenge, and then an acceptance of the challenge. The acceptance of the challenge is the climax of the story. The “validation” segment of the story should imply the rest of the Hero’s Journey.

And the second example:

The dark night of the soul and the leap of faith. The early steps along the hero’s journey can be filled in with flashbacks or simply implied by the circumstances of the characters as the story begins. But the reader needs to learn that the hero accepted the challenge, confronted evil, and was defeated. The story ends with the reader knowing that the hero will face evil again and this time be victorious.

In essence, the short story should:

  1. require the character to make a choice,
  2. show that choice by actions, and
  3. those actions must have consequences.