Christopher Vogler: A Writer’s Journey

The Call to Adventure:

“It’s money and adventure and fame! It’s the thrill of a lifetime!… and a long sea voyage that starts at six o’clock tomorrow!” – King Kong, screenplay by James Creelman and Ruth Rose

The Ordinary World of most heroes is a static but unstable condition. The seeds f change and growth are planted, and it takes only a little new energy to germinate them. That new energy, symbolised in countless ways in myths and fairy tales is what Joesph Campbell termed The Call to Adventure.

Get The Story Rolling

  • Something is necessary to be a catalyst for the story.
  • This can come in many forms like a message.
  • It may be a stirring within the hero, a messenger from the unconscious, bearing news that it’s time for change.


  • A string of accidents or coincidences maybe the message that calls a hero to adventure.
  • It can throw two people together as if by the hand of fate.


  • The Call to Adventure may summon a hero with temptation, such as the allure of gold or a lover.

Heralds of Change

  • A character performing the function of Herald may be positive, negative or neutral, but will always serve to get the story rolling by presenting the hero with an invitation of challenge to face the unknown.
  • Heroes often get by on ‘crutches’ in their ordinary world, the job of the Herald is to kick out these supports and show the hero that the world must be put right.


  • A villain will try and find information on the hero, this can be a call to adventure. Alerting the hero that something is wrong.

Disorientation and Discomfort

  • The Call to Adventure can often be unsettling and disorientating to the hero. Heralds sometimes sneak upon heroes, appearing in one guise to gain a hero’s confidence and then shifting shape to deliver the call.
  • Example, The Hobbit, Gandalf forces Bilbo out of his comfort zone however it is necessary for his growth.

Lack or Need

  • A Call to Adventure may come in the form of a loss from the hero’s life in the ordinary world like a loved one or anything precious.

No More Options 

  • In some stories The Call to Adventure maybe the hero simply running out of options.
  • Example, Die Hard, Bruce Willis has no choice but to adapt. He is ‘Shanghaied’ into adventure.

Warnings for Tragic Heroes

  •  Not all Call to Adventures are positive, they may be dire warnings of doom for tragic heroes
  • Example, Harry Potter and the prophecy

More than One Call: Call Waiting

  • A story operates on many levels so it can have more than on Call to Adventure, it can also have a Call to the Heart.

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