The Quest: Plot Archetype Series 2

The Quest is similar to the Hero’s Journey in that both plot structures involve a journey, except this time, our character is looking for something specific. Maybe they need to find someone, or maybe it’s some thing. Whatever it is, he or she is looking for something that has some great significance for them, and their intention is to return home once it’s found.

The Call

Something happens that propels the story, makes our hero need to set out on their quest. They are called into action. In The Hobbit, the dwarves and Gandalf arrive to ask him to help them steal the ring from the dragon Smaug.

The Journey

Our hero encounters many obstacles and trials along the way that test their strength, resilience, and emotional fortitude. Bilbo and the dwarves travel through the Misty Mountains on their way to retrieve the ring. They fight trolls and spiders, and endure hunger, an encounter with Gollum, and other trials.

Arrival and Frustration

Our hero arrives at their destination, only to be frustrated that the goal is just out of reach. Bilbo is successful in stealing the ring from Smaug, but he wakes him, and he flies out from his den to attack.

Final Ordeals

Now our hero must survive an ordeal or ordeals. Bilbo, the dwarves, and the townspeople must fight the dragon or be destroyed by him.


Hurray! The goal has been reached. The dragon has been felled. The ring is in Bilbo’s possession.

Here’s a visual example using The Lord of the Rings.

In a Perfect Word Editing

My name is Erin Beth Liles, and I have several years of editing experience. Aside from my bachelor's degree, I have a certificate in copyediting from UC San Diego, and I have studied developmental editing with the Author-Editor Clinic. I've worked with both independent and major publishing houses, but my true love is working directly with authors. I also write young adult fiction. My YA novel Phoenix Burning is represented by Mansion Street Literary (and I have another novel in progress) and my short stories have been published in Ladybug, Stories for Children, and Knowonder. Several of my nonfiction articles have appeared in Austin Family Magazine, Mothering Magazine online, and Mamapedia. My children's picture book A Friend for Freckles was published by Guardian Angel Publishing in 2013. My novelette, Outside the Walls, is featured in Clean Teen Publishing's Wonderstruck Anthology. I am a member of the Professional Editors Network, Copyediting, SCBWI, and She Writes.