But (I've found a silver lining) it is most excellent blog material! Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!
So, I've decided that as I struggle along with different parts of my story, I will do a little (ha!) post about Monomyth and the Hero's Journey since those are usually the terms in which I think of my plot structure.
Monomyth is the idea that every story (every good story that is. I know there are suckidudinous ones that don't) is at its core, the same story.
Now, you may be whimpering quietly that your story is nothing like . . . Well, like Twilight, for example. YOUR story has likable characters and plot development and conflict and stakes and men who have the decency not to sparkle. All I can say is: well, good. But under the surface, at its very core, if your story means anything at all, it DOES share some things with Twilight (Though, we pray, not the soulless, infatuated narrator or too-good-to-be-true, twinkling hero) and that is a good thing.
|I am amused by the Sullen Peacoat Picture.|
I would say that the most famous student of the Monomyth or the Hero's Journey was Joseph Campbell. He wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces. (Is that not an awesome title?) In it he lays out a formula found in myths the world over. However, this is a not a formula like a plug-these-points-in-and-out-will-pop-a-novel-to-make-the-masses-weep sort of formula. It is a formula that underpins every good story, whether we realize it is there or not. I think it is because that is how we live our lives. We understand what makes a hero, even if it is not on a conscious level.
Here is the best picture I could find of it:
|This is a compilation of several different systems of talking about Monomyth. |
Joseph Campbell among them.
Also one called Women Who Run with the Wolves.
I got it for a birthday present.
Now, I'm getting in touch with my inner Wild Woman.
I know it sticks rather inelegantly over our side bar, but I really wanted you to be able to read all the wonderful little things on this chart.
If you care to follow along as I explain, this chart begins at the top, just to the right of the Fourth Threshold and moves clockwise. I'm just going to do the first two steps today.
1. The Call to Adventure
- Your protagonists life is going along swimmingly (or it might be really awful), but either way things are as they have always been. Suddenly, your protagonist opens a wardrobe door and finds herself staring into a forest--aliens fall from the sky--pirates attack--the dragon egg hatches. A wonderful journey is just at her fingertips if only she has the courage to embrace it. She can of course refuse the call--shut the wardrobe door--ignore the aliens--hand the dragon egg to someone else and let the opportunity pass her by, but she'll regret it in the long run.
- This step is not on the chart. It comes before the Mentor, before any Test and Trials and before what they are calling the First Threshold. The Threshold is the moment when the protagonist makes the decision to embrace the adventure. Often symbolized by stepping a threshold and locking the door behind you. It is the point of no return at which point there is no turning back no matter how uncomfortable the adventure might become. The wardrobe door is locked shut with the protagonist on the snowy side--the pirates drag our heroine kicking and screaming onto their ship--the dragon egg hatches.
I think the Threshold is the part I'm having trouble with. My Call to Adventure is doing just fine, thank you very much, but unfortunately I keep seeing ways that my heroine can wiggle out of her adventure after she has supposedly crossed the threshold. I just want to build a brick wall around her home. No, you may not go home again. Get out there and HAVE YOUR FRICKING ADVENTURE.
Maybe I'll burn the forest behind her.
I think most likely she (and therefore, I) have motivation issues of all sorts. That can be my project for the rest of the week: Get motivated.