Hey — my kids went back to school today! I feel…sane.
Which means the fog has cleared and I’m left wondering, where are we in the Heroes Journey!
I went through all the past blog posts since January and recategorized them according to subject…so, for example, if you’re looking for information on creating heroes — yes! you just click “archives” and find the “heroes” category! or, writing tension — again, click on “archives” and you’ll find….TENSION!
Hope that helps.
But, let’s press on! Over the past eight months, we’ve covered:
Act 1: Departure: The protagonist is separated from the known
Hero’s Home World
Call to Adventure (inciting incident)
Weighing the Options (Refusing the Call)
Starting the Journey (Crossing the Threshold)
Act 2: Initiation: The protagonist is tested, and grows
Road of Trials
Meeting a Soul Mate
Overcoming Temptation and Weaknesses
Viewing the Big picture (emotional reward/layering)
We still have the 3rd Act: The Return
Refusing to Return
Crossing the Return Threshold
Master of Two Worlds
Okay, now you’re thinking: What? Wait, I haven’t heard all this! This is crazy talk. I don’t even know what these elements are!
So, I’m going to simplify all this into story structure we can wrap our brains around.
Raise your hand if you remember your first day of school.
Act 1: Departure: the protagonist is separated from the unknown
There you are, hanging out with your younger brother and sister, watching television, playing in the sandbox…. This is HOME World.
Then, one day, you get your school prep envelope in the mail. First Grade! You go to orientation and hear about school, and you know that there are perils, as well as wondering opportunities like learning how to read, and other things you haven’t even considered. This is the Call to Adventure.
Then, it’s the first day of school and it hits you. YOU HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL. Suddenly it’s scary – you’re hiding under your bed. You don’t know what to expect, and really you just want to stay home with your brother and sister and watch Barney. You are REFUSING THE CALL.
Then, Mom arrives. And she gives you a special gift…it’s a Nametag with your bus number, and a COOL NEW Backpack, with all your supplies. She says “Be Nice, and remember that Jesus loves you.” This is your Supernatural Aid.
So, you go out to the bus, stand there with trembling knees and, when the bus comes, you get on! You have Crossed the Threshold into your new adventure.
Now, you’re into Act 2: Road of Trials
In this act, all sorts of obstacles pop up: you don’t know what class to go to, you forgot your milk money, you get put in the slow readers group. And then…during lunch, you go out to the playground and are ambushed by a gang of mean second graders led by Mean Max determined to make you cry and run home to mommy. And, for a while, you consider it.
Until you: Meet your Soul mate. Pretty Patty (or Peter) There she is (or he is) on the swings, and they get off the swing to let you on. You have found your match.
However, Mean Max also has a crush on Pretty Patty, (which he displays by stealing the swing from her) and he says, if you just stay away from her, he’ll leave you alone. You’ll get the swings all to yourself. But you remember what your mother said: Be Nice, and remember that Jesus loves you. And you decide that being nice would be to not let Pretty Patty fall into he hands of Mean Max. You have Overcome Temptation.
But the trials are not over yet. You see that Pretty Patty likes you, too, and that she will be in your reading group for the entire year. And you realize that you’ll have to stand up to Mean Max again…but Pretty Patty’s love is worth it. You have Viewed the Whole Picture – seen a glimpse of the Happy Ending.
But, Pretty Patty informs you that she rides Mean Max’s bus….and that he says he’s not going to let her on – she’ll miss the bus. Now you know the Ultimate Goal – to defeat Mean Max, and win Pretty Patty’s love. The bell rings and you run outside, ready to get Pretty Patty on her bus.
Which brings us to Act 3: The Return
Seeing Mean Max outside, you refuse to turn away. He pushes you – and you push back and realize that you have just as much power as he does! Pretty Patty gets on her bus in triumph. You are no longer the person you were – you’re stronger, and wiser…And you refuse to return to your weakened, afraid self
Until Mean Max and his pals gang up at the door of YOUR bus. And they push you back…and you suddenly feel the old fears crushing you, telling you to run and hide! You can’t do this first grade thing. It’s too hard, and scary, and you are Chased away…
And then you see Pretty Patty. She and her girlfriends have banded together to show you that your kindness and bravery have been noticed. They surround Mean Max and Rescue you.
You get on the bus, waving to Patty as her friends wave back. You realize that this new world will require a change in you, but that you have strengths and tools you didn’t realize you had. You will survive in this new world, even as you return home and show your younger siblings your cool new folders and papers. You are the Master of Two Worlds
And, the next day, you pop out of bed, ready to face your world, embracing your Freedom from fears and excited about a new day.
Okay, so that’s rather simplified, but hopefully you see how the journey flows. It’s about facing obstacles and character change, and discovering a new you that you didn’t know existed.
Now that we’re caught up, we’re going to forge ahead with the elements of Act 3.
This week we’ll dive into “Writing Character change without overwriting” (or, refusing to return to your previous unenlightened state).
Also – thanks to all who left comments last week! Since there were so few, ALL of the comment leavers will get a copy of Love Starts with Elle, Finding Stefanie or Wiser than Serpents! Thank you for your comments!
And, if you want to hear about the fun stuff we’re going to do next year at MBT, and you’ll be at ACFW, be sure and sign up for our MBT Pizza Party! (details above).