The Heroic Journey, Part 19: The Point of No Return


 This post is the latest in the series by guest poster, David Sims, writer and former WriteAtHome writing coach.


Turning Point #3: At 50 Percent, the Point of No Return.

Just before the Midpoint, it appears the Hero’s going to pull it off, achieve the goal. But at the midpoint of the novel, and the midpoint of Act II, something happens that results in an apparently devastating reversal of the Hero’s fortune.

Here the Hero passes The Point of No Return. He’s in too far to pull back or abandon the quest;  he has to see it through. He’s fully committed. His bridges are burned. There’s no returning to the life he lived at the beginning of the novel. He might try, but he’ll find he can’t go home again.

In The Firm, at this point an FBI agent is outlining McDeere’s options, which are to cooperate with the feds and risk his life or get thrown in jail, and he says to McDeere “I’m telling you your life as you know it is over.” It’s a low point for the Hero; he seems far from achieving the goal.

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Stage 3 Tips

During this stage, writers should think about…

  • Keeping the paying customers entertained as the Hero makes progress, which means keeping enough conflict and tension to maintain interest and stir emotion in the reader.
  • Showing the Hero starting to open up, tire of Identity and embrace Essence.
  • Giving the reader a clear picture of the Hero’s plan to achieve his goal.
  • Tossing in a Plot Pinch around the 35 percent point or so.
  • Having the Hero almost achieving the goal before his stunning reversal.



Thoughts? Questions? Suggestions? Post your comments below. We want to hear from you.


About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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