What you may not realize is how this ties into EVERY type of novel - not just epic fantasy.
I found an absolutely fabulous post by Allen Palmer that brakes these steps down into 12 easily digestible ones, which I highly recommend reading. To sum it up (no really - read the post; my summary doesn't do it justice):
The hero is:
- Incomplete (Ordinary World) Two dimensions to the hero's incomplete world: something they’re aware of (a want), and something not aware (their flaw).
- Unsettled (Call to Adventure) A problem or an opportunity. Suddenly their world just isn’t the same any longer.
- Resistant (Refusal of the Call) Hero is resistant to the problem or opportunity. If the hero does want the call, others will express the fear for them.
- Encouraged (Meeting with the Mentor) Hero is “Encouraged” into reconsidering the challenge thrown down. Note: the “Mentor” doesn’t have to be old or wise, just someone to push hero into next step.
- Committed (Crossing the first threshold) Hero is “committed” to tackling the goal, problem or opportunity with which they’ve been presented.
- Disoriented (Tests, Allies & Enemies) Hero begins to pursue goal or fix problem & world is upside down. Hero challenged (don't make these too big of challenges - leave room to escalate at Ordeal and Resurrection). Could work out who they can trust and who they should be wary of in new world
- Inauthentic (The Approach) As hero begins tackling the problem or opportunity, it is done so with the hero's main flaw still in action - tackling this inauthentically. Often where friendships are forged and love interests introduced, BUT Hero is “inauthentic” – reader is reminded of exactly what the hero’s flaw is.
- Confronted (The Ordeal) The hero is “confronted” with their flaw - a mirror is held up to them and flaw pointed out.
- Reborn (The Reward) Old, flawed Hero dies, and “reborn” Hero emerges. Transformation revealed through perceptions of others (this may be a moment, as there's still the next step of...)
- Desperate (Road Back) Hero must choose between what they want and what they need (to act on Reborn or not) - stuck between a rock and a hard place. To change and confront flaw, but perhaps that is at the risk of losing something else.
- Decisive (Resurrection – the Climax) Hero proves that they have been transformed…or not (either decided to change or remain the same - a tragedy, hero remains the same and there are consequences). Hero MUST be the active agent here; can’t be rescued by external forces because that would deny ultimate character test to draw on new strength or fall back into weaknesses
- Complete (Return with the Elixir) The HEA scene
The first thing, of course, is making sure your hero/heroine progresses through each step.
But WHEN should these steps occur? In other words - where in your plot arc should these development points fall?
Building off of my previous post with the Plot Dot Test, this is how your hero/heroine's emotional journey should progress:
I used a 125 page novel in the above; yours is likely different. So to set this proportionally to your novel, use the following rough* percentage guidelines:
Confronted (~50%) - midpoint!
Decisive (~88%) - climax!
*i.e., don't freak out if you're 5% off - the important parts are hitting these moments, and the decisive moment being in the climax.
How to figure this out using your manuscript:
- Locate the page number each journey step starts
- Divide page # by total pages to get step %
- Place dots on lined paper X: page (can be by 5’s or 10’s), Y: %
Does it look like a character arc? Go back and revise as needed!