The Hero's Journey is a writing tool that saves my ass every single time I use it BEFORE I start writing a new story, and when I don't use it, the story dies a long and painful death.
Taken from the desk of genius Joseph Campbell:
1. Heroes are introduced in the ORDINARY WORLD, where
2. They receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE.
3. They are RELUCTANT at first or REFUSE THE CALL, but
4. Are encouraged by a MENTOR to
5. CROSS THE FIRST THRESHOLD and enter the Special World where
6. They encounter TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.
7. They APPROACH THE INNERMOST CAVE, crossing a second threshold
8. Where they endure the ORDEAL.
9. They take possession of their REWARD and
10. Are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World.
11. Cross the third threshold, experience a RESURRECTION and are transformed by the experience.
12. The RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World.
When friends ask for writing suggestions, the first thing I say is, "You wouldn't drive to a location you've never been without a map, so why would you write a book without an outline?"
They usually stop emailing me after that because nobody wants to do this footwork, but it is so vital to the story.
So, happy outlining to you and yours.
Keep writing. It saves lives.