Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Plot: The Hero's Journey

Thanks to C. Patrick Schulz and his great blog for shining a light for those of us still stumbling along in the dark. I reposted an excerpt of one his recent posts below because it's very helpful to me in outlining my plot and guiding my characters. Oh, who am I kidding; they guide me.
In any case, The Hero's Journey portion of his latest post is wonderful. Read his fantastic blog here
The Hero’s Journey has twelve situations your hero must face. This generates a plot and forces a story to pop out as if by osmosis. The novel is much more difficult, but the story, well, that’s easy. Here are the twelve steps to the Hero’s Journey.

1. Ordinary World: You show your hero’s life at the start of your story.

2. Call to Adventure: Something, whether the hero realizes it or not, calls him toward some grand quest.

3. Refusal of the Call: The hero first says he can’t undertake this quest.

4. Meeting the Mentor: Your hero meets someone important to help him on his quest.

5. Crossing the Threshold: This represents that event that ensures your hero can not go back to his Ordinary World until he finishes his quest.

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies: These are people or events that help or hinder the hero.

7. Approach to the Innermost Cave: He closes in on the big bad villain.

8. Ordeal: He fights the bad guy.

9. Seizing the Sword: Your hero takes what it is he needed to complete his quest. It’s what he’s gained by his Ordeal.

10. The Road Back: The trials he may face to get back to his Ordinary World.

11. Resurrection: This is the time when your hero proves he’s gained the right to use the “sword” he’s won.

12. Return with the Elixir: This is where your hero reaches his Ordinary World once again and shares his “sword” with others.

If you think about these twelve steps, it makes perfect sense a story will be the natural outcome. You’ve got good guys, bad guys, conflict, excitement, rewards and all the rest.

C. Patrick Schulze is the author of "Born to Be Brothers." 

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