The Hero’s Journey
One way of telling a story.
Stage 1 – The Ordinary World
Stage 2 – Call to adventure
- What is the call to adventure?
- What new force appears to challenge hero?
- How is hero’s flaw tested?
Stage 3 – Refusal of the call
- Heroes initially reject the call to adventure
Stage 4 – Meeting the mentor
Stage 5 – Crossing the threshold into the Secret World
- This takes the hero into Act II
Stage 6: Tests, Allies & Enemies
- Entering the special world, hero must survive a succession of trials – prepare for ordeals ahead
- The new rules of the special world need to be learned quilt by the hero and the audience
- A period of testing – continuation of the mentor’s training
- Heroes are freshman again in this new world
- Enemy is alerted to the hero’s role
Stage 7: Approach the Innermost Cave
- Dark night of the soul is crucial
- Heroes have made adjustments to the special world – no go on toe seek its hard
- The mysterious zone is the place to make plans, do reconnaissance, arm one’s self, make final preps for supreme ordeal
- No matter how the hero tries to escape his fat, so th exits are close off and the life-and-death trial is face
Stage 8: Supreme Ordeal
- This central crisis – the point at which hostile forces are in the tenses state of opposition
- Where our characters face their greatest fear
- After crossing this crisis zone, the heroes is literally or metaphorically reborn
- New self can’t be born until the old one dies
- Supreme Ordeal signified deal of the ego
Stage 9: The Reward
- Consequences of surviving death
- Respect before the ordeals coming in the climax
- Often this is where the hero makes love
- Campfire scenes in a western
Stage 10: The Road Back
- Once lessons and rewards of the great ordeal have been celebrated and absorbed
- Hero faces choice of remaining in Special World or journeying home to the Ordinary World
- A plateau of comfort – heroes must be pried off that plateau by their own inner resolve
- Or an external force propels her out of the Special World drastically redirects the story
- Crossing of the Threshold from Act II to III
Stage 11: Resurrection Climax
- Heroes go through a final purging / purification
- An additional moment of death and rebirth
- Second and final climax – se if hero has retained the learning from Supreme Ordeal
- Difference between this and Supreme Ordeal?
- Threat not just to hero, but entire world
- The climax is when Hero is the most conscious
Stage 12: Return with Elixir
- If a traveler doesn’t bring something back, they’re not heroic
- Live is one of the most powerful elixirs
- Another aspect of the elixir is bringing back wisdom to share
- Another elixir is for the hero to take wider responsibility, giving up their loner status for a place of leadership or service within a group
- Can’t use when you should be showing
- Sometimes it can work, when it is explaining (enhancing)
Final thoughts: This was an interesting workshop, and I think valuable for those who haven’t done one before. However I feel that the one a few years ago by Alexandra Sokoloff, ‘Screenwriting Tips for Authors‘, was more targetted for romance authors and was more detailed in how the structure of a movie could be translated into a novel (and using system cards!). In fact, it’s still hands down the best structure workshop I’ve done (and I have done some very good other workshops).
I also think that the workshop was perhaps targetted at a slighly different level audience, perhaps the presenter wasn’t used to a room full of already published authors (including a bunch of NYT best sellers, at least for a while). He seemed often surprised that people could respond to his questions, and in fact anticipate them. And he didn’t understand (until told) that Out of Africa isn’t actually a romance – there’s no HEA (that’s a ‘happily ever after’ for those who aren’t up on the terminology). He was quite opened to being advised of the difference between a romance and a love story, but I felt it was perhaps something that should have been researched before the conference. Just sayin’.