I was asked to describe my Heroine’s Journey many times and I even taught several workshops on it at writer’s conferences, and so I decided to write a more detailed worksheet on the subject. I read about the Heroine’s Journey from several books and compiled what I learned here in one place. This is the same worksheet I myself use for my own novels.
Why the Heroine’s Journey? Sometimes the story arc of a female character will differ from the traditional Hero’s Journey because culture and time period will affect the character in accordance with her gender. This will create specific psychological differences in how a male and female character will respond to conflict in a story.
Joseph Campbell’s original book is based on the writings of psychoanalysts and the world myths. The Hero With a Thousand Faces is a psychological analysis of the classical myth formula that breaks down the myths into a basic structure, showing the psychological power of the hero archetype and the Hero’s Journey.
Maureen Murdock took Campbell’s work, her own psychology experience, and other psychoanalytical writings and world myths to develop The Heroine’s Journey for women. This makes it a perfect template for heroines, whether in romances or women’s fiction, because often a heroine’s story arc is more about internal awakening as opposed to the “quest” style of the Hero’s Journey.
This worksheet is based off of one I designed for myself to help me deepen my heroine’s character. I use this worksheet for every heroine I write about, even if it’s a romance where there’s also a hero taking up 50% of the book (I’ll usually do a Hero’s Journey worksheet for him in addition to the Heroine’s Journey worksheet for the heroine).
Using this worksheet enables me to double-check that the events in the story match up with how events should unfold in the Heroine’s Journey, which helps me with story pacing. The worksheet also helps me to structure the heroine’s internal arc so that it’s as deeply emotional as it can be and also psychologically resonant with readers.
I use this as a tool to help me revise my synopsis or my completed manuscript. It’s not meant to replace a synopsis because it doesn’t focus as strongly on the external events and conflicts in the story—it’s more focused on the internal events and internal conflicts of my heroine.
This worksheet consists of the Heroine's Journey explained in detail, questions for you to answer about your heroine, and examples to explain each stage of the Heroine's Journey. This new edition includes extra examples.