Last year, at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Conference in Denver, I took a master class from author Gail Carriger on the Heroine's Journey. Like many writers, I was familiar with the Hero's Journey as a skeleton to build my stories around--very many tools for plotting essentially use this as a base. And it isn't necessarily formulatic: Joseph Campbell developed the theory, and beats of the Journey, by analysizing existing myths. It basically is a distillation of a common story pattern that is found in many myths in the Greco-Roman/Egyption tradition. (Probably Norse, too.. care to chime in, Chuck?)
The Heroine's Journey is comparable, and apparently well-known in anthrolpological/classical circles (Gail Carriger's background). I'd never heard of it before, and indeed its lack of appearance in writing advice is what motivated her to write a book (and give the class). So much clicked into place for me: how it just didn't seem to be working to get one of my protagonists to 'go it alone' at the climax of my current novel, and even realizing that the other protagonist is trying to be a Hero in a society that values the strengths of a Heroine, which is why she ultimately fails.
Yes, she. Because it turns out that characters on a Hero's Journey don't have to be male, and those on a Heroine's don't have to be female. Gail analyzes the latest Wonder Woman movie to show that she is on a Hero's Journey, and it turns out that Harry Potter's path is that of a Heroine.
So what makes a Heroine's Journey different from a Hero's? Well, you'll just have to come to the conference to find out... prices go up Friday, Aug 19! If you can't, you could order the book. Even better, do both! (She gave me permission to present the material, since my agenda is to share the message and help other writers see a whole new dimension to explore).