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Author Archives: David Booker
HOW TO MAP OUT YOUR HERO’S ADVENTURE IN YOUR MANUSCRIPT
How do the most successful authors of our time construct their stories? If you read them, and if you also read some ancient myths, you will begin to see parallels. You will feel smacked upside the head with parallels. You’ll realize that the top authors of today use storytelling techniques that writers used back when plans were being drawn up for the pyramids.
An excellent book about ancient myths is The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. The title says it all. Across cultures and generations, some variation of a hero figures into every beloved story. And the typical story is about an individual who goes on a quest or a journey. By the end, the individual becomes a hero. This is called the Hero’s Adventure.
The Hero’s Adventure is the most archetypal story of all because it’s the basis for more novels than any other kind of story. Novels of all different genres, from romances to thrillers to sci-fi, are based on the Hero’s Adventure.
So what is the Hero’s Adventure? You know it already, and you may even have elements of it in the story you’re working on. But I suspect you haven’t yet methodically and thoroughly appropriated it for yourself.
The Hero’s Adventure Basic Recipe
- A messenger comes. The messenger might be human, or a message might come from an experience—like a brush with death or a dream. At any rate, something has gone wrong; the natural order of the world has been disturbed.
- A problem is presented. Perhaps something has been taken away from the tribe, or some misfortune or malfeasance has occurred.
- Someone is marked out as the person to solve this problem. She is chosen according to some past deed of her parents or by her own reputation or happenstance. This person, of course, emerges as the hero at the end.
- A challenge takes shape. The challenge may be refused, at first. “No way, I’m not going to risk my neck for that!”
- A refusal, often. But eventually the hero decides to accept the challenge. She might even be forced to accept it by circumstances.
- The challenge is accepted. The adventure begins.
- The hero leaves the familiar world. And she sets off into another world. It’s dangerous. The hero could use some help, and very often …
- Helpers materialize. A helper might have special skills the hero doesn’t have, or he might have special insights or wisdom, in which case he takes the form of a mentor.
- Setbacks occur. The hero is tested, she makes gains, she endures setbacks, she fights for what is right, she resists evil. The going’s tough!
- The hero regroups and gains some ground again. Maybe she needs another visit to a mentor, or maybe she makes a personal breakthrough and overcomes a great inner obstacle, perhaps her own fear.
- The foe is vanquished or the elixir is seized. Eventually she defeats the foe or comes into possession of something that will restore the natural order—a cure, or new knowledge that will bring justice or the return of prosperity.
- The hero returns to the familiar world. And the problem is fixed, or justice is done. The natural order is restored.
The person who accepts the challenge and prevails is elevated to a special position, somewhere above human, somewhere below god. She is the hero.
For examples of this in literature: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-map-out-your-heros-adventure-in-your-manuscript?et_mid=688770&rid=239626420
Q.: What do you call a dog that does magic tricks?